Host-microbe info

New information about host-microbe interactions surface every day. These are some of the resources we use in the lab. Trying to figure out how to explain what you do to your friends/family? Check out General audience. For the latest information in host-microbe interactions, a list of Dr. Kat’s favorite up-to-date information is listed under “The latest info.” Want to delve deeper into a specific topic? Check out “Ecology.” (more to come)

General audience

Fun PhD comic video on what a microbiome is and why it’s important to know about them.

Great TED talk on the microbiome from one of the leaders in the field, Dr. Rob Knight. His book is fantastic too!

The University of Maryland has come out with Math Bench Biology Modules, a fun way to introduce those interested in biology to the math involved with the science.

I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong is a wonderful book on the many microbes that live in and around us and how we are interconnected with them. You can also follow his well constructed and informative videos and sign up for his newsletter that includes not only his works, but his favorite science writing from other writers.

The latest info

Microbiome Digest: Elizabeth Bik and her team of microbiota researchers sifts through hundreds of new papers about the latest research in microbiome, human and animal associated microbiota, and aquatic microbiomes. Follow her on twitter: @microbiomdigest


Podcasts are a great way to get caught up on science while doing something else (dishes, running, beading, etc). They can be listened to on-line (see links below) or through a variety of apps (itunes, Podcast Addict, Stitcher, etc). Some of our favorite microbiology podcasts:

This Week in….series (Microbiology, Virology, Evolution, Parasitism) provides behind the scenes stories of recent primary research. Included in each podcast: information on the lead authors of paper, in depth discussion of the papers, and chatter about the latest conferences and listeners picks for the latest in research.

Science Friday offers insight into broad topics in science, from astronomy to zoology and everything in between. Includes interviews with primary researchers, policy makers, and popular science figures.

Radio Lab with Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich is a science show for a general audience and science aficionados. Each episode is a well-produced story that tackles a topic from various angles.

If you are looking for insight into academic careers, check out The Effort Report. Professors Elizabeth Matsui and Roger Peng discuss bioinformatics, running labs, grant writing, and so much more as they offer insight into the daily lives of PIs.

Only a small number of PhDs end up in an academic career. Looking for insight into non-academic careers? Check out Recovering Academic, a podcast about leaving academia.


Meghan Duffy has put together a wonderful list of videos for teaching (and learning!) about ecology.

Data Analysis

Dan Knights has put together a YouTube series on ‘Discovering Patterns in the Microbiome.’

Learn how to use R statistical software with these tutorials from

Check out the details of the “Introduction to Environmental ‘Omics'” workshop, highly recommended by Emily, who attended summer 2016.

Learn about Mothur, a scripted bioinformatics software, and check out the available workshop (highly recommended by Ryan, who attended summer 2016).