Science Café Looks at Bacteriophages on February 9

Science Café is moving to Batdorf & Bronson Coffee House beginning February 9th.

When:  7:00 pm, Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Where:  Batdorf & Bronson Coffee House, 516 Capitol Way S.  Olympia, WA,  phone (360) 786-6717
On-street parking is available on Legion, Capitol Way, Columbia Street, and Water Street. After 6 p.m., parking is also available at Heritage Bank on Columbia Street between 5th and Legion.

Our presentation in February is Bacteriophages: Natural, Self-Replicating, Self-Limiting Antibiotics.

Bacteriophages – a special kind of viruses that can only multiply in bacteria – are the most abundant life form on earth. They are found in the oceans, the soil, the food we eat and the water we drink. They help maintain the microbial balance in every part of our planet. Bacteriophages were discovered by Felix d’Herelle in 1917 in the feces of French soldiers recovering from dysentery and soon were being used with enthusiasm to treat intractable infections in both humans and animals. However, phage therapy was largely abandoned in the West in the 1940s due to the advent of chemical antibiotics and the apparent complexity and unreliability of phage-based treatments when compared to antibiotics. As our understanding of both phages and pathogenic bacteria has increased and we are more and more frequently loosing the battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA, interest is again escalating in the possibilities of phage therapy.

Dr. Kutter’s talk will explore properties of phages, their surgical use in the Republic of Georgia and in Poland, and the work being carried on at Evergreen State College. The latter includes studies aimed toward using phages to reduce livestock carriage of E. coli O157. E. coli O157 is a serious health risk and has been found in many things we consume, from hamburgers to spinach to water.

Dr. Elizabeth Kutter is a faculty member at the Evergreen State College

Coming in March:

From Ivory Towers to Prison Watch Towers: Research on Rain Forest Canopies and Its Communication to Nontraditional Public Audiences. Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, Evergreen State College

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