‘The bacteria on our buildings.’ An interview with Dr Anne Jungblut | The Microverse

Are the bacteria found on our UK buildings dangerous and what impact do they have? In this the third and final podcast in our series interviewing Dr Anne Jungblut, the lead researcher of our citizen science project The Microverse, we find out about the initial results of the project.

In the podcast questions posed by participating students from The Long Eaton School, Nottingham, and Prospect School, Reading, are presented to Anne.

Two female staff rub cotton wool swabs across the surface of a stone wall.
Museum staff collecting a sample from one of the iconic buildings of London

Produced by Olivia Philipps and Caroline Steel. With thanks to Long Eaton School and Prospect School for contributing questions. And thanks to Helen Steel for reading the questions on their behalf.

You can hear more from Anne and more about the project in the first and second podcasts.

 

‘Why is it important to study microorganisms?’ An interview with Dr Anne Jungblut | The Microverse

In the second of three podcasts produced by Science Communication students Olivia Philipps and Caroline Steel, we find out more from Dr Anne Jungblut about the results of The Microverse project, and why it’s important to study microorganisms.

In the podcasts, Olivia and Caroline pose questions asked by students from The Long Eaton School, Nottingham, and Prospect School, Reading, who participated in the project.

136 Askham Bryansmall
Students from Askham Bryan College, York, collecting samples for The Microverse project.

 

Produced by Olivia Philipps and Caroline Steel. With thanks to Long Eaton School and Prospect School for contributing questions. And thanks to Helen Steel for reading the questions on their behalf.

If you missed it, listen to the first podcast here and watch this space for the third and final podcast, where we’ll find out about the types of organisms found through the research.

‘Doesn’t it get a bit boring always looking down a microscope?’ An interview with Dr Anne Jungblut | The Microverse

To kick start our Citizen Science blog for 2016, Olivia Philipps and Caroline Steel, Science Communication students from Imperial College London, have produced a series of three podcasts interviewing Dr. Anne Jungblut, the lead researcher of The Microverse project.

In the podcasts, Olivia and Caroline pose questions asked by students from The Long Eaton School, Nottingham, and Prospect School, Reading, who participated in the project.

Photo showing Anne sitting collecting a water sample from beside a lake in Antarctica, with three penguins in the background
Anne Jungblut collecting microbial samples in Antarctica

In this first one we find out what inspired Anne to pursue a career in microbial research:

Produced by Olivia Philipps and Caroline Steel. With thanks to The Long Eaton School for contributing questions and Helen Steel for posing them to Anne on their behalf.

Watch this space for the second in this series of podcasts, where we’ll find out about the results of The Microverse project.

What’s on that wall? | The Microverse

Today, one of our Microverse citizen science project participants, Robert Milne, presents his own interpretation of the results of the microbial samples collected from Mid Kent College in Gillingham where he is a student:

The results:

Despite our best efforts, the samples we obtained for the Microverse project were taken in different weather conditions, at slightly different times, in slightly different areas of the building, and all three samples were taken from walls facing different directions. The materials of the surfaces we sampled were brick, glass and metal.

Mid Kent College building, swabbed by The Microverse participants
Mid Kent College building, swabbed by The Microverse participants

Continue reading “What’s on that wall? | The Microverse”

DNA on the dinosaurs: swabbing Crystal Palace’s icons | The Microverse

Crystal Palace Transition Kids and Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs swab the first ever dinosaur sculptures the world had ever seen, to help us identify The Microverse. Ainslie Beattie of Crystal Palace Transition Kids and Ellinor Michel of the Museum and a member of the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs report on the event:

Looming out across the lake in front of us are dinosaurs, 160 year old dinosaurs! They look huge, ominous and exciting! These were the first ever reconstructions of extinct animals, the first animals with the name ‘dinosaur’ and they launched the ‘Dinomania’ that has enthralled us ever since.

Never before had the wonders of the fossil record been brought to life for the public to marvel at. These were the first ‘edu-tainment’, built to inform and amaze, in Crystal Palace Park in 1854. They conveyed messages of deep time recorded in the geologic record, of other animals besides people dominating past landscapes, of beauty and struggle among unknown gigantic inhabitants of lost worlds.

The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs were built in 1854 to inform and amaze. © Stefan Ferreira
The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs were built in 1854 to inform and amaze. © Stefan Ferreira

Most people just get to look at them from vantage points across a waterway, but not us! Transition Kids (part of Crystal Palace Transition Town) and Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs arranged special access to collect data for the Museum’s ‘The Microverse’ project.

Continue reading “DNA on the dinosaurs: swabbing Crystal Palace’s icons | The Microverse”

Bedford Girls’ School Q&A with Dr Anne Jungblut | The Microverse

Citizen Science Project Manager Lucy Robinson introduces a Q&A with Dr Anne Jungblut for the Microverse:

The Microverse logo

In an earlier blog post, a group of students from Bedford Girls’ School described their recent visit to the Museum. The girls had taken part in The Microverse, collecting samples of microorganisms from buildings and sending them to the Museum for DNA analysis, and were keen to meet the scientists involved to find out more. We arranged for them to meet the lead researcher on the project, Dr. Anne Jungblut, to ask her some questions about the project and her wider research.

Continue reading “Bedford Girls’ School Q&A with Dr Anne Jungblut | The Microverse”

Identifying microbial DNA | The Microverse

Volunteer Stephen Chandler tells us how he has been supporting The Microverse project by using computer software to identify the taxonomic groupings of the DNA sequences revealed in the sequencing machine.

Due to the size of microorganisms, we have until recent years relied on microscopes to identify different species. The advancement of scientific technologies however has made it possible for scientists to extract DNA from microorganisms, amplify that DNA into large quantities and then put the samples into a sequencing machine to reveal the genetic sequences. In The Microverse project, my role begins when the sequencer has finished processing the samples.

A raw data file from the MiSeq machine
A raw data file from the MiSeq machine

When the gene sequencer has finished decoding the PCR products it creates a file much like a typical excel file. The main difference is that this file can be incredibly large as it contains millions of DNA sequences belonging to hundreds if not thousands of species. This requires a powerful computer to run the analysis to identify what is in the sample.

Continue reading “Identifying microbial DNA | The Microverse”