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Mapping Microbes

What started out by examining how different microbial colonies "talk to one another" when in close proximity, has developed into a larger scale mapping of microbes and related chemicals on the human body.

If today's technology been available in 1928 when Dr. Alexander Fleming observed mold overtaking his petri plates, penicillin would have been discovered and manufactured much more quickly.

While it is fun to get a glimpse of which area of the skin is more likely to "house" certain bacterial species, this technology has real world implications. Pieter Dorrenstein & coauthors have used the technology to identify previously missed bacterial species in cystic fibrosis patients and used microbial chemistry to predict flare-ups in patients with psoriasis!


Tullis, P. The Chemical Cartographer. Nature. 534:171-2. 2016.

Bouslimani A, et al. Molecular cartography of the human skin surface in 3D. PNAS.112: E2120- 9. 2015.

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