Phage Academy

Have you ever heard of Bacteriophages ?
Do you want to lern more about these tiny viruses?

Wherever there are bacteria (almost everywhere) there are also bacteriophages or phages for short. PhageĆ­n means "eat" in ancient Greek, and these viruses attack only bacteria, so they are often referred to as bacterial eaters.

The small viruses were already discovered over 100 years ago and shortly thereafter used as medicine. Later, phages were largely replaced by antibiotics and only in recent years interest has risen again: as more and more dangerous bacteria (such as the so-called hospital germs) develop resistance to antibiotics, the bacteriophages become medically interesting again.

Some bacteriophages look a bit like Mars robots and most biologists agree that they are not alive. Now, we probably need to discuss what life actually is. Let's save that for the FAQs for now.

Phages multiply as parasites within bacterial cells. The victim is injected with a piece of DNA, which ensures that the cell neglects its actual tasks and instead only produces phages. At some point the bacterium bursts, the new phages are distributed and the whole process starts again.

Here's a nice little animation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w4C74cu6dk

The Phage Academy will promote the spread of bacteriophage related knowledge and bring together participants for seminar and workshop formats. The scientific content will be created in cooperation with researchers from the Eliava Institute.

We already developed a 3-day phage hunting workshop for everyone interested in the biology of bacteriophages and phage therapy.

If interested, please write to phage@mikrobiomik.org

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