Showing posts from September, 2013

It's DDIG Season Again

The NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant deadline is almost upon us (October 10, 2013).  What is funded by the DDIG FOA? From the NSF website: “Allowable items include travel to specialized facilities or field research locations and professional meetings, use of specialized research equipment, purchase of supplies and services not otherwise available, the hiring of field or laboratory assistants, fees for computerized or other forms of data, and rental of environmental chambers or other research facilities.”  Importantly, you CANNOT use the DDIG funds for stipends or tuitions. Note:  If your PI already has a grant on this topic, you are not likely to be funded; If “existing funds” are available for the proposed work, you are disqualified.  The important point being that these proposals are used to gauge the independence of the PhD candidate from the PI’s major research thrust. Why else consider writing a DDIG? The fame …The glory…The practice and most

What? There are bacteria where?

There have been some interesting, thought provoking publications of late concerning the last vestiges of "sterility" if you will, with regards to bacterial colonization.   Remember back when folks thought the healthy lung was sterile? Yeah, out the window with that hypothesis (see  here , and  here ).  Remember urine being sterile? Nope, you must've missed this and this .  Is nothing sacred, people! Are bacteria truly everywhere![1] In their publication, "Mother knows best: the universality of maternal microbial transmission" , Seth Bordenstein and his student Lisa Funkhouser review for us the evidence in support of the vertical transmission strategy for host-associated bacteria.  While the invertebrates are undoubtedly best known for maternal transmission ( the vent giant clams from my youth are highlighted by Funkhouser and Bordenstein as are the pea aphids), they present the evidence currently in hand to support a decidedly unsterile environment in utero.