T. E. Schindler
Thomas E. Schindler grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He attended Harvard College, and then the University of Illinois-Chicago for graduate studies in microbiology and immunology. After earning a Ph.D., he did post-doctoral research at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He worked for eight years in research and development for the startup biotechnology company Xytronyx, Inc. In midlife, he switched careers and became a high school chemistry teacher in Falls Village, Connecticut. Teaching chemistry awakened the inner ham in Schindler, and he started performing spectacular chemical explosions and dramatic demonstrations. He also developed a repertoire of chemistry songs, playfully combining tunes with formulas. Four years ago, he started writing down the stories he had told to his students, creating essays about Buckyballs, Archaea, Mad Cow Disease, and Bose-Einstein Condensates. He completed the Master’s program in science writing at Johns Hopkins University in 2017. He is currently researching and writing the biography of Esther Lederberg, the neglected heroine of bacterial genetics. Recently he started a blog, www.bacterialsex.com, in order to promote the stories of the Lederbergs’ collaboration, their scientific discoveries, and the intersections of their lives with the pioneers of molecular biology.
Bacterial Sex: The Promiscuous Process Driving Antibiotic Resistance
Even before humans started overloading the environment—clinics, communities, and farms—with antibiotics, bacteria invented a variety of mechanisms to resist antibiotics. Super bugs, are pathogens that have acquired resistance against multiple antibiotics.
How? The promiscuous process of bacterial sex effectively spreads resistance genes throughout the wider microbial environment. Over sixty years ago, Esther Lederberg, and her husband Joshua, and their colleagues discovered that bacteria could spread their genes—sideways—even to different species.
Technically known as “horizontal gene transfer”, HGT, bacterial sex spreads resistance genes, independent of reproduction, even among different bacterial species, giving rise to super bugs.
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A Stroke of Poetry, a Memoir.
Pulse. Voices from the Heart of
What do you do when, suddenly, a minor stroke results in vision loss, preventing you from driving?
Taking a cue from Roger Angel, I tried memorizing poetry as I walked. Prevented from driving, the pace slowed dramatically and the inner cadences of lyrical verse matched breath and step, allowing brain—mind and body—to heal.
“The time will come when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving at your own door,
in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome and say,
Sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was yourself.”
Love After Love by Derek Wolcott