Why I teach microbiology
Posted by ycpmicro
In my “meet the students” first day lecture this week, I allowed that I have been interested in microbiology for close to 4 decades now. My father is a professor of biology at my alma mater, the University of Delaware, and also taught Introductory Microbiology for a period in the late 1970s through the mid 1980s. One of the responsibilities of those faculty was to help with the instruction at several satellite campuses, and so Dad would fill up the back of the station wagon with microscopes to teach Micro down in lower Delaware once a week. We’d then set up the microscopes at the kitchen table afterwards, and I’ve never looked back.
I think Dad has come about his interest in science through a similar way; his father (my grandfather) was an industrial chemist in New Orleans, and his grandfather was a physician in Slidell, Louisiana. My father’s research interests have been focused on the biochemistry of respiration, in particular with microorganisms that are killed by the presence of oxygen. One memorable (for me) project, however, was when he spent some time with NASA in an astrobiology research group, studying microorganisms from extreme environments before they were in vogue. I have worked to keep my interests in science similarly varied, with the focus on the “how” and “why” of the way biology works the way it does.
Anyway, I am putting this story up today, because it’s Dad’s birthday today: Happy Birthday, Dad! Thank you for bringing those microscopes home, and enjoy the day!