Beginner Microbiologist, looking for a place to start.

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Beginner Microbiologist, looking for a place to start.

Post by fstevens » Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:30 pm

Hello, I am 15 and have been very interested in biology since I was very little. I saved up a lot of money and recently purchased a lab microscope, and a ton of lab supplies. I have done all the basics- looked at pond water, plants, I have grown bacteria in Agar plates. I am at a point where I want to start doing experiments or research that contribute to science in some way. Does anyone have any ideas? I just need something to do to keep me interested in microbiology. thank you.

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Re: Beginner Microbiologist, looking for a place to start.

Post by jonmoulton » Mon Dec 15, 2014 5:33 pm

If you are seriously interested in microbiology, you need to delve early into chemistry: general chem, organic chem, biochem. Finding some used college texts is a good way in, but it can be expensive. You can get a lot from Google and Wikipedia. I'm going to assume you are smart and highly motivated and so make some fairly hard-core suggestions. In particular, look into:
pH, atomic and molecular structure, biological macromolecules and their subunits, glycolysis and Krebs cycle, membranes and membrane potential, transmembrane signaling, gene expression and its control, protein structure, mechanisms of protein catalysis, synthetic pathways of biological building blocks, free energy. It's a start at least, if you get a handle on those topics you'll be talking comfortably with 3rd year college microbiology students.

On to microbiology. Look for the variations of glycolysis (Embden-Myerhoff, Entner-Doudoroff), variations of the Krebs cycle (e.g. the glyoxylate shunt), variations of fermentation, phylogeny of the organisms traditionally part of microbiology (bacteria, viruses, protozoa, algae), old (five kingdom) and new (three kingdom) classifications of life, cell envelope structural differences within and between the eubacteria and archaebacteria, broad classifications of metabolism (chemoheterotroph, photoautotroph and the others), biofilms, microbioal ecology, mechanisms of gene flow between different organisms, CRISPR-mediated viral resistance.

Getting through those in any depth will take years. Here's an easier task: read a microbio book that you can grasp without all the chemistry beckground you'll need later. Microcosmos is a good one: ... _1?ie=UTF8

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