Select a color: 

#FF9600

Our February Expert: Erika Rojas

Do you know where the food you ate for breakfast came from? Whatever you ate was probably a plant crop in an agriculture field at some point. Or if you ate eggs, the food that chickens ate were plants raised on a farm! Not a lot of people know this, but plants can also get sick. And that’s where I come in; my job is to study plant diseases and figure out how farmers can keep their crops healthy until you eat them. My name is Erika Saalau Rojas and I am a plant pathologist at the University of Massachusetts. I earned my Ph.D. from Iowa State University (ISU) in plant pathology and worked on...

How I Became A Plant Pathologist

I was born and raised in Costa Rica, a tropical country in Central America. Costa Rica is very small, but it has an enormous variety of landscapes -- from rainforests to mangroves, to large or small farms with many different crops, like bananas and coffee. It is hard to grow up in a place like this and not appreciate its biodiversity. As a kid, I spent a lot of time outdoors and I remember always being fascinated by plants and all sorts of insects. Good Advice From My Mom Before college, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to study. I disliked the thought of an office job and I wanted...

What Is Plant Pathology?

First, let’s start by defining plant pathology, or phytopathology. I like the term phytopathology because it be traced back to Ancient Greek roots, where phyton= plant, pathos= suffering, and logia= study. If you put these words together you can guess that phytopathology is the study of plant ‘sufferings’, or diseases. So basically a phytopatholgist is a fancy word for a plant doctor! Plant diseases influence what you and I eat every day. This may sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s true! Did you know that bananas, oranges, coffee, and cocoa are all currently being threatened by very scary...

Working With Cranberries!

Did you know that cranberries are some of the very few cultivated fruits that are native to North America? Also, they are related to blueberries, which is another popular, native fruit. Many people think that cranberries grow in water, but they don’t. Water is used to help harvest the fruit in the fall, but the rest of the year cranberry plants grow in sandy marshes with very acidic soils called bogs. I live in Massachusetts and my work is to study plant diseases that affect cranberries. Massachusetts is where cranberries were first cultivated and it’s still one of the top three cranberry-...

This Month's Expert: Paul Cobine

Paul Cobine is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Auburn University. He teaches General Microbiology. He is a microbiologist and biochemist who uses the microbes that we use for making bread (yeast) in the laboratory to understand the reasons humans get certain diseases. Paul grew up in Australia and moved with his family to the USA in 2002. He has a wife and five children aged 20, 18, 16, 13 and 9 years old and enjoys playing basketball and watching football.

Paul Cobine

Paul Cobine is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Auburn University. He teaches General Microbiology. He is a microbiologist and biochemist who uses the microbes that we use for making bread (yeast) in the laboratory to understand the reasons humans get certain diseases. Paul grew up in Australia and moved with his family to the USA in 2002. He has a wife and five children aged 20, 18, 16, 13 and 9 years old and enjoys playing basketball and watching football.

My Passion For Biology

While I was growing up I always loved math and puzzles. Perhaps the most difficult puzzle of all is how a cell works. Cells take millions of puzzle pieces and put them together to survive. For some bacteria they have to do it every 20 minutes! At high school in Australia I did an all math and science curriculum and had found that I was fascinated with biology and figuring out how cells worked. I was especially interested in microbiology and genetics as it let's us ask important questions like: How do we learn from microbes about disease states and general metabolism? How do we change cells to...

Microbiology: The Study Of Microbes

Microbiology is the study of organisms too small to be seen without a microscope. These microbes are all around us all the time and while we cannot see them we benefit from them being there. These single cells have all the same components that make up our cells but they can live in many very different environments to us. Microbes can be found at the bottom of the ocean, in the ice frozen in the Antarctica or in a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park where temperatures can be 145 degrees F! They are also found on every part of our bodies some make us sick but mostly they help us. Microbes...

Yeast Cells Help In Study Of Diseases

The research in my laboratory focuses on how cells get the necessary components to grow. We need many things food, water are most important but also sometimes you will need to have a vitamins tablets to help you grow. In these vitamin tablets are many things but one is copper. The same copper that is used in electronics and jewelry is used in your cells to help you survive. So if all human cells need copper, how do they get it and how does copper get to where it needs to be in cells. If humans don't get enough copper or have a condition that changes the levels of copper, we get diseases. So...

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Science