Archive for the ‘Activities’ Category

When your job is to discover microbes and give them names…

Saturday 23 February, 2008

mostafa.jpg

Dr. Mostafa Elshahed–a graduate of Faculty of Pharmacy, Cairo University (FOPCU), Class of 1993–will give a seminar about his research to uncover the hidden soil microbiome. Dr. Elshahed was a demonstrator in the Department of Microibology and Immunology at FOPCU who got his PhD from the University of Oklahoma and is currently an assistant professor at Oklahoma State University.

Dr. Elshahed’s work is focused on the discovery of new microbial strain, especially extremophilic bacteria and archaea. It is really an interesting job to isolate microorganisms from the environment; the challenge is that most of these organisms cannot be cultured!

This work raises a lot of interesting questions: How to find new organisms when you cannot culture them? How to know that the microbial DNA you belongs to a new organism? How to analyze complex metagenomic data (with multiple living forms involved in a single habitat)? How to name the new organisms? Can you give them your name (aren’t there bacteria called Pasteurella after Louis Pasteur)? Do you have to study Latin grammar?

Dr. Elshahed has kindly accepted to answer all these questions in an article that he wrote specially to Egybio.net. Read the article here

Fall2007 Competition: More Winners at Stage II

Saturday 27 October, 2007

Here are the winners of stage II of the competition:

Group A:

The winners are those (top FIVE) who found the largest number of bacteria where quorum sensing and biofilm formation have been discovered. Any spelling mistake negatively affected the score. Those who listed the references got extra points.

  1. Radwa Raed Sharaf رضوى رائد شرف (second fastest, more than 40 strains + 5 references)
  2. Sarah Atef Amin سارة عاطف أمين (fastest, got 20 strains, but mentioned no references)
  3. Eman Adel إيمان عادل (got 18 strains but 2 spelling mistakes, listed 8 references)
  4. Aya Ali Elhusseiny آية علي الحسيني (got 20 strains, with 7 capitalization errors, listed 9 references
  5. Ahmed Said أحمد سعيد (got 16 strains, no references)
  6. Gehad Mahmoud جهاد محمود علي الصوفاني (got 7 strains)
  7. Mariam Medhat مريم مدحت تكلا (got 8 strains but all the genus names were not capitalized – corrected them in a second email)

Group B:

Question: If the generation time of M. tuberculosis is 15 hours, approximately how long it takes 100 actively dividing cells of this bacterium to form a 3 km-long line? (length of 1 cell is 3 microns)

Answer: 346.5 h (approximately 345 h or

The winners are those the first four who solved the problem:

  1. Mohammed Hassan Ahmed محمد حسن أحمد (Wed 17 Oct, 11:10 AM)
  2. Nada Essam El Din Mohammed Radwan ندا عصام الدين محمد رضوان (Wed 17 Oct, 11:15 AM)
  3. Yasmeen Saad ياسمين سعد (Wed 17 Oct, 2:00 PM)
  4. Nehal Adel Mohamed Fahmy نهال عادل محمد فهمي (Thur 18 Oct, 5:00 PM)
  5. Noha El Shamy نهى الشامي (Fri 19 Oct, 4:00 PM)

Many winners… and many thanks to all participants!

Tuesday 16 October, 2007

I am really impressed with the number of correct answers to the group A and B competitions, not that it was hard to find the correct answers, but because you took time to search, find, and send the answers rapidly in the middle of all the study load you have in college.

This time I overlooked تغاضيت عن spelling mistakes in writing the organism names; but next time, please follow the rules in writing any binomial name. Also, any answer should be supported by the references used.

Below is a list of all who sent the correct answers from both groups. Initially, only the first three winners per group were supposed to get the awards, but because many of you reported the answers on the same day, small prizes will be given to the first seven in each group. Thanks to all participants. Wait for competitions to come!

Group A:

1. Hossam Khaled Mohammed (answered at 12:35 PM on 9 Oct 2007, only 90 minutes after the lecture!)

2. Hossam Allam (9 Oct, 5:07 PM)

3. Abdel Rahman Medhat Mahmoud (9 Oct, 6:04 PM)

4. Rania Abou Zeid (9 Oct, 8:41 PM)

5. Radwa Raed (9 Oct, 10 PM)

6. Soha Gamal (9 Oct, 10:18 PM)

7. Ahmed Said (10 Oct, 1:18 AM)

8. Reem Belal Saber (10 Oct, 12:00 PM)

9. Gehad Essam Mohammed (11 Oct, 2:05 PM)

10. AbdulRahman Ibrahim (12 Oct, 7:03 PM)

11. Bishoy Saad (15 Oct, 1:43 AM)

12. Eman Adel (15 Oct, 8:43 PM- answered both questions!)

and…

  • Ola Amr (12 Oct, 1:43 AM): provided answer but source is missing
  • Aya ElSayed Mounib (9 Oct, 10:55 PM): provided sources but no answer yet

Group B:

1. Noha El Shami (10 Oct, 2:11 PM)

2. Mariam Reyad (10 Oct, 4:14 PM- Very well written answer!)

3. Yasmin Mostafa (10 Oct, 6:18 PM)

4. Motaz Taher (10 Oct, 7:53 PM)

5. Marco Azmy (10 Oct, 10:19 PM)

6. Marwa Mohamed Hamam (10 Oct, 11:26 PM)

7. Christina George (10 Oct, 11:34 PM)

8. Mohammed Saber (11 Oct, 12:38 AM)

9. Mariam Medhat Aziz (11 Oct, 1:30 AM)

10. Linah Hatem (11 Oct, 11:40 AM)

11. Somayya Hussein Hassan #1423 (11 Oct, 2:05 PM)

12. Nehal Abaza (11 Oct, 8:27 PM)

13. Nada Taha (12 Oct, 3:22 AM)

Competition! QuestionI/GroupB: The Dead Sea halophiles

Wednesday 10 October, 2007

Here is a question to group B third-year students, since students from group A have already answered yesterday’s question:

Find the name of a halophilic microorganism (a bacterium or preferably an archaeon) that has been isolated from the Dead Sea (البحر الميّت)…

Send the answer (name + source of information) by email or bring it in person. The fastest three will have prizes (of course, if the answer is correct!)

Competition! QuestionI/GroupA: What’s the microbe that withstands high radiation dose?

Tuesday 9 October, 2007

Find the name of a bacterium that can live in high radiation and is currently studied to be used for radioactive waste cleaning.

Send the answer (name + source of information) by email or bring it in person. The fastest three will have prizes (only if the answer is correct!)

Get ready for next lecture: microbial nutrition and growth conditions

Monday 8 October, 2007

موضوع محاضَرَتَيْ هذا الأسبوع بسيط لا تعقيد فيه، يتعلق بمعلومات أساسية عن التغذية وأثر الظروف الخارجية على نمو الكائنات الدقيقة. أتمنى أن تحضروا هذه المحاضرة كي تكتشفوا الكثير عن الميكروبات وطرق معيشتها المتنوعة جداً. تابعوها كأنّكم تشاهدون برنامجاً عن البكتيريا وليس كأنّكم تتلقون محاضرة تمتحنون فيها.

This week’s lectures (Tue 9 October, Wed 10 October) are about microbial nutrition and growth conditions. This topic is straightforward but really interesting. I hope you can attend and follow the lecture as if you’re watching a documentary about microbes rather than a part of the curriculum.

If you have half an hour to get prepared, I suggest the following:

  1. Read the main points in Part I, Chapters 4 and 5 in your book. Use speed reading and don’t get scared by the tables in these chapters. Most tables are just for additional knowledge, but the amount to be memorized is really minimal.
  2. Read about bacterial nutrition and growth in Todar’s Online Textbook of Bacteriology; it is the main reference for these chapters in your book. You can always look in the USC School of Medicine site: Bacteriology, Chapter Three (and like last time, you may even download the whole lecture from this page, or see the presentation and listen to the lecture here!).
  3. If you really have time and want to enjoy some deep reading, go to the library and read Chapters 4 and 5 in Brock’s Biology of Microorganisms. Dr. Thomas Brock has discovered plenty of thermophilic bacteria and you can expect his textbook to carry his legacy.

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