Bassler to present first talk in series, Oct. 17

Bonnie Bassler, professor of molecular biology, will present the first talk in this year's President's Lecture Series on Monday, Oct. 17.

She will speak on "How Bacteria Talk to Each Other" at 4:30 p.m. in 101 Friend Center.

A 2002 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant," Bassler investigates bacterial signaling and has discovered finely tuned systems by which bacteria communicate within and between species.

Bassler will show how bacterial cells, once thought to live asocial, reclusive lives, converse with one another using a chemical lexicon. This process, called quorum sensing, allows bacteria to count their numbers and synchronize the behaviors of the group. By doing this, they take on the characteristics of larger, multi-cellular organisms. Acting in unison allows groups of bacteria to reap benefits and cause destruction that single cells, acting alone, could not accomplish. Bassler will discuss her group's efforts to develop anti-quorum sensing molecules to be used as new antibiotics.

The lecture series was initiated by President Tilghman in 2001 to bring together faculty members from different disciplines. The other lecturers scheduled for this year are: Paul Muldoon, the Howard G.B. Clark '21 University Professor in the Humanities, on Thursday, Dec. 8; and Katherine Newman, the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, on Monday, April 10.

All lectures will begin at 4:30 p.m. in 101 Friend Center. They will be Webcast