© Pint of Science, 2024. All rights reserved.
Microscopic organisms can be responsible for some of the most deadly diseases, but how can these mighty microbes evade immune systems? Join us to hear how our researchers are unravelling some of these mechanisms.
Promiscuous plasmids and plant promoting bacteria
Catriona Thompson (Postdoctoral Researcher at John Innes Centre)
Bacteria are constantly adapting to their environment. One of the ways they do this is by picking up or sharing bits of DNA, plasmids, to move genetic information around. Plasmids do everything from making bacteria better at promoting plant growth, to making them resistant to antibiotics. This movement of genetic information is essential for bacterial evolution, and for years we thought plasmids only stuck around when they were useful. Recently, we have found that plasmids and their preferred bacteria have been co-evolving to co-exist for years and changing the way we think about evolution!
Crystals to crops: Defending rice against disease
Josephine Maidment (Postdoctoral Researcher at The Sainsbury Laboratory)
Every year, the devastating rice blast fungus destroys enough rice to otherwise feed millions of people. While plants have complex immune systems which can recognise invading microbes and activate defence responses, disease-causing microbes such as the rice blast fungus are able to interfere with the immune system of their host and avoid detection. In this talk, I’ll explain how we engineered immune receptors to give rice new tools to defend itself against blast.
Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors.