Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
VBS2032, General Microbiology
Students in General Microbiology (VBS 2032), hosted by the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, complete their final project: works of art. During the course of the semester, students collected colorful bacterial strains from the air, using them to learn about host immunity and how scientists grow, isolate and identify bacteria from clinical and environmental samples. At the end of the semester, students used a “color wheel” of bacteria they identified and a blank petri dish of agar to begin the work. Using fine sterile picks, they carefully dabbed small amounts of the bacterial “paint” to inoculate each dish. Over several days, blank plates began to develop red, yellow, orange, blue and green colors as the bacteria grew and produced different pigments. Incubating plates at various temperatures produced unique color patterns. Designs included the “U of M” logo, animals, human anatomy, holiday themes and viruses. Students, as well as faculty and staff from the department, voted on their favorite pieces. Winners are submitted to American Society for Microbiology’s Annual Art Contest along with a short essay explaining key features of the piece, aimed to capture the attention of a general public audience.