MICROBIO H140P Honors Colloquium for Microbio 140P

Hans Zinnser said, “... infectious disease is merely a disagreeable instance of a widely prevalent tendency of all living creatures to save themselves the bother of building the things they require. The plant does the work with its roots and green leaves. The cow eats the plant. Man eats both of them; and bacteria eat the man....” In the process, these interactions have fundamentally shaped our planet and ourselves. Plagues, outbreaks of diseases, have been a part of the human condition since recorded history and undoubtedly long before. In fact, disease is a part of all life for all organisms. At the same time, human activity, from agriculture to jet travel, interact with microbes and the environment to bring about plagues. Often we think of infectious diseases as the microbes that cause disease. A cold, and the virus that cause it, are thought of as the same thing. But infectious disease really describes an ecological interaction between microscopic organisms and other organisms that they use as a source of energy and nutrients, a pathogen and its host. The honors colloquium is an addendum to Microbiol 140P to further explore diseases and how they have shaped our world, how we attempt to manage them, and how we often inadvertently aid and abet them. Microbiol H140 is a 1 credit weekly discussion of readings taken from recent popular literature and press. Students will be asked to summarize the context of these articles, write a critical synopsis and participate in evaluating these synopses for publication in blog-like reader online.

Semester(s) offered: