Scott Chimileski

Scott Chimileski

Scott Chimileski is a Research Fellow in Roberto Kolter’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School and a member of the ASM Writer Team. Scott's research is focused on imaging biofilms and other microbial multicellular forms. He is a photographer, coauthor of the book Life at the Edge of Sight: A Photographic Exploration of Microbial World, and is currently spearheading several exhibitions on microbial life at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. You can find him on Twitter @socialmicrobes.

We can’t go back in time to see life on Earth two billion years ago. We can’t go to other planets to see life there either. But we can get a real sense of what ancient and alien life might be like, right here within the microbial communities of Yellowstone National Park. #NPS100

Thursday, 05 May 2016 18:21

Mystery of the Spring-Smelling Microbes

There is an incubator on the top floor of the Harvard Institutes of Medicine building where I work that continuously smells like dirt. And I am not complaining. It’s that refreshing aroma of garden soil, spring rain and deep forest. Everyone in the department can smell it, even halfway down the hall. But why would a medical school smell like the forest? What mysterious molecules float between the walls here and where are they coming from? Not to mention, why do they smell so good, compared with, let’s be honest, the pungent array of odors from the microbial world?

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