Subscribe to microTalk

sub-itunes sub-android sub-email sub-rss

About Karl Klose 

Contact microTalk

Tuesday, 25 September 2018 17:18

Babbling Bacteria: A Discussion About Quorum Sensing with Marvin Whiteley

Written by 
Published in microTalk

Dr. Marivn Whiteley

Bacteria talk to each other using molecules that allow them to coordinate group behaviors, which has been termed “quorum sensing”. 

A number of bacteria utilize quorum sensing to form gangs that coordinate beneficial behaviors such as symbiotic light production, as well as detrimental behaviors such as attacking their host. Dr. Marvin Whiteley is a Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology who studies bacterial chatter.

He has developed some innovative means to investigate bacterial chitchat, including trapping small clusters of bacteria in tiny synthesized “lobster traps” to see what kind of dialogue ensues.  

Dr. Whiteley talks about how and why bacteria talk to each other, whether lab conditions can help us understand what a pathogen does inside a host, how a polymicrobial “love story” in the mouth leads to dental problems, and how his interest in birds with colorful tails led him to a career in microbiology.  

microTalk recorded this discussion with Dr. Whiteley at the American Society for Microbiology Microbe 2018 meeting in Atlanta Georgia.     

The microCase for listeners to solve is about Kerosene Lampe, an infant who comes down with a scary infectious disease when her mother takes her to “the happiest place in the galaxy”.


  • Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Marvin Whiteley, Ph.D. (Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Janakiram Seshu, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Jesus Romo (UTSA)

Subscribe to microTalk via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Android, Email or RSS and never miss an episode!

Last modified on Tuesday, 25 September 2018 17:29
Karl Klose

Karl Klose, Ph.D. is a Professor of Microbiology at the University of Texas San Antonio, the Director of the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (STCEID), and host of microTalk. He oversees the research on infectious diseases that is carried out in his laboratory by undergraduate, Masters’, and Ph.D. students, as well as research staff. He also teaches microbiology to undergraduate and graduate students.

Karl is enthusiastic about enlightening people to the fascinating world of microbes.  He has given two TED talks on antibiotic resistance. He has been a visiting professor in Kolkata India and Valparaiso Chile.  He has spent the past two years visiting ASM branch meetings through the Distinguished Lecturer program.  You can find Karl on Twitter and you can find STCEID on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.