Microbial Biology

Microbial biology or “Bacteriology” encompasses the study of all types of unicellular microorganisms.  Composing more than half of all biomass on Earth, they include the bacteria, archaea, fungi and viruses. These microbes reside in essentially all biological habitats on Earth ranging from moderate to the extremes of temperature, pH, salinity, pressure and sunlight. They provide essential roles in maintaining a healthy ecology by supplying nutrients and chemicals to other organisms such as animals and plants. They also aid in recycling biological matter via the global cycles for carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous and other essential elements.

The study of the microorganisms impacts numerous areas of mans’ activities regarding human health and economic well-being.  These include microbial symbiosis and pathogenesis, immunology and virology along with the many industrial applications for food, pharmaceuticals, agricultural products, bioenergy and waste treatment.  Microbial biology research encompasses a broad range of experimental techniques including genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, genomics and computational biology.  These basic and applied activities extend our understanding of microorganisms and their contributions in the above activities in nature.  Members of the MIMG Microbial Biology group participate in a number of the graduate training programs on the UCLA campus including the Immunity, Microbes & Molecular Pathogenesis Home Area, the Genetics & Genomics GPB Home Area, and the Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology Home Area.