Dr. Damian Krysan is a physician and an Associate Professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Krysan studies fungi, which in addition to their known roles in e.g. food spoilage and alcohol fermentation, can cause significant disease in humans.  Fungi typically cause serious and potentially fatal disease in immunocompromised people, which presents a challenge to the medical community to come up with ways to treat and prevent fungal infections in this population. Dr. Krysan is doing research to identify new anti-fungal medications. Dr. Krysan discusses fungi and fungal infections, the difficulty of identifying new anti-fungal drugs, and his interest in tiny bugs stemming from his father’s career as an entomologist studying bigger bugs. The MicroCase for listeners to solve is about LaFontaine Miraculous, the superstar baseball player with the San Antonio Fire Ants, who comes down with a mysterious illness after riding his ATV.

Discussants (in alphabetical order):
Dr. Karl Klose (Professor and director of STCEID, UTSA)
Dr. Jose Lopez-Ribot (Professor and Associate director of STCEID,  UTSA)
Dr. Floyd Wormley (Professor, STCEID, UTSA)

 

Dr. David Bisaro is a Professor at the Ohio State University. Dr. Bisaro studies plant viruses, which are a major source of economic loss for farmers.  Plants, just like humans, can be infected with viruses, but unlike humans they don’t have antibodies and immune cells to fight off virus infections.  This can be devastating for farmers who can lose large amounts of their crops from plant viruses.  Dr. Bisaro studies how plants can survive virus infections by their own type of immune system, which suppresses the virus once it gets inside the plant. Dr. Bisaro discusses how plants protect themselves from viruses, and talks about genetically modified plants, epigenetics, and how he almost became a career musician. The MicroCase for listeners to solve is about Snowflake, a young vegetarian child who gets very sick after eating spinach salad.

Discussants (in alphabetical order): 
Dr. Karl Klose (Professor and Director of STCEID,  UTSA)
Jesus Romo (PhD candidate of STCEID, UTSA)
Dr. Garry Sunter (Professor of STCEID and Chair of the Biology Department, UTSA)