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Clues beginning to emerge on asymtomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection
Back in November of 2020, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was teaching an in-person microbiology laboratory. One of my students had just been home to see his parents, and they all c…
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Could there maybe be better uses of genetics and probiotics?
Professor Meng Dong and his laboratory have created a probiotic that can metabolize alcohol quickly and maybe prevent some of the adverse effects of alcohol consumption. The scientists cloned a highl…
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ChatGPT is not the end of essays in education
The takeover of AI is upon us! AI can now take all our jobs, is the click-bait premise you hear from the news. While I cannot predict the future, I am dubious that AI will play such a dubious role in…
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Fighting infections with infections
Multi-drug-resistant bacterial infections are becoming more of an issue, with 1.2 million people dying of previously treatable bacterial infections. Scientists are frantically searching for new metho…
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A tale of two colleges
COVID-19 at the University of Wisconsin this fall has been pretty much a non-issue. While we are wearing masks, full in-person teaching is happening on campus. Bars, restaurants, and all other busine…
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2-1 Introduction

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Microbiology stands on the shoulders of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and many other areas of study. To be able to talk the language of microbiology, there is an entrance fee in the form of a basic set of knowledge you must acquire from these other disciplines. In this chapter, we cover many important concepts that a student of microbiology needs as a foundation for the rest of microbiology. These bases concepts are probably a review for many, but you may want to read it anyway because it might give you a new perspective on the knowledge you already have.