Best of the blog 2018

Posted on December 12, 2018   by Laura Cox

With the end of 2018 fast approaching, we are taking a look back at this year’s blog posts. This year has turned out to be a great one; from fatbergs to antimicrobial resistance, we really have learnt about some amazing microbiology.  So here we go, a countdown of the top most-viewed posts from the blog this year:


10: Making microbiological research affordable and open source

This blog was written by some of our members from the University of Warwick. Frustrated by the difficulty in collecting microbial growth data in the lab, they used 3D printing techniques and basic laboratory materials to develop their own device. After they completed their design, they realised that the cost of the materials required was as low as £150. They have made their design freely available with the hopes of making microbiological research more affordable.

9: Sewage science: Are bacteria just the tip of the fatberg?

© Anthony Pugh photography

Dr Justin Pachebat analysing
DNA in the lab

Dr Justin Pachebat and Professor Jo Hamilton were asked to help analyse the contents of ‘The Beast’: a 130-tonne fatberg found blocking London’s sewers. In this blog, they discussed what a fatberg is, the challenges of researching something so new (and disgusting!) and what they found inside. Justin and Jo were even on the Channel 4 programme ‘Fat Autopsy: Secrets of the Sewers’.

8: LGBTSTEM Day 2018

In what may be one of our most important blogs of the year, Dr Kevin Maringer from the University of Surrey discussed his experiences as a gay man in science and why he thinks it is important that all students and early career researchers to have role models they can identify with.

7: Has TB had its time?

To celebrate the first ever UN Assembly high-level meeting on tuberculosis, we looked back at the 19th century, when the disease killed as many as one in four people. Since its discovery by Robert Koch, TB research has come a long way, yet still 1.8 billion people are infected worldwide.

6: Annual conference 2018: A view from Twitter

This year’s Microbiology Society Annual Conference was a great one. This blog looks back at some of the highlights from Twitter. Another blog that did well this year was by Rebecca Hall on her experience as an Early Career Microbiologist at the Conference.

5: Plastic waste: A global problem and an opportunity for microbiology

Plastic pollution has undeniably been at the forefront of the news this year. Since the BBC’s Blue Planet 2 shone a spotlight on the plastic building up in our oceans and killing wildlife, public awareness of the issue has peaked. This blog summarises Kevin O’Connor’s hot topic lecture at the Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2018. If you want to find out more, you can see the full talk here.

4: New antibiotics needed: WHO priority pathogens

This blog saw the launch of a new series on the 12 antimicrobial-resistant microbes that are of most concern to the World Health Organization. We launched during World Antibiotics Awareness week with this blog on Shigella. The series runs alongside an article collection in Microbial Genomics and also includes blogs on Enterobacteriaceae and Salmonella.

3: Streptomyces – Nature’s solution to AMR

In this blog we discuss Streptomyces, a genus of soil bacteria responsible for the production of over fifty antimicrobial medicines. Using Streptomyces as a source of new antibiotic compounds has slowed down in recent years, but with the growing concern around antibiotic resistant superbugs, this area of research is becoming popular once again.

2: A history of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14

In 2007, Kalai Mathee began a quest to find the first reported use of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14; a strain commonly used in pathogenesis research. In this blog, we look back at some of the research that has been published using this strain.


Courtney Kousser

1: Young Microbiologist of the Year Finalists

The Sir Howard Dalton Young Microbiologist of the Year Prize is awarded by the society each year. This year, we met all of the finalists from the four divisions to learn about their research before the event. These profiles from Laura, Katherine, Rute, Stephen, Paula, Freddy, Cathy and this year’s winner, Courtney, were by far some of our most viewed blog posts.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the blog this year and to all of our readers. Here's to a great 2019!