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In 1674, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek pointed a microscope at pond water and saw what he called “wee beasties” flitting about, kicking off the field of microbiology. Since then, scientists have discovered microorganisms living just about everywhere, in every kind of environment, from the crushing depths of the ocean in hydrothermal vents to the crypts of our own intestines. Well, WE beasties are graduate students studying microbes at Harvard, and though the father of our field is the same, our research is as diverse as the microbes themselves (ok, that’s a huge overstatement, but it’s pretty diverse).

Kevin Bonham studies the interaction between the mammalian immune system and the microbes that colonize our bodies.

Heather Olins studies the microbes at the base of the food chain in hydrothermal vents that use chemical and heat energy rather than solar energy to fuel their habitat.

Emily Gardel studies the way that microbes produce energy with the goal of harnessing their efficiency to produce electricity.

Dipti Nayak studies the evolution of metabolic pathways in bacteria that eat single carbon compounds.

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