Microbes Get Sick, Too: Unveiling the Viral Ecology of Earth

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Manuel's Tavern

602 N. Highland Ave NE · Atlanta, GA

How to find us

Look for us in the Back Dining Room at Manuel's Tavern, to the right as you enter from N. Highland.

Location image of event venue


- This event is a production of the Atlanta Science Tavern.
- It is free and open to the public, although contributions are welcome to help us defray costs of our program.
- Seating is on a first-come basis.
- Reservations are not required to attend.
- We gather for dinner at 7:00 pm.
- The evening's presentation gets under way around 7:45.
Microbes Get Sick Too: Unveiling the Viral Ecology of Earth

Joshua S. Weitz (http://ecotheory.biology.gatech.edu/)
Professor, School of Biological Sciences
Director, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Quantitative Biosciences (http://qbios.gatech.edu/)
Georgia Institute of Technology

A marine bacterium infected with viruses that have burst the cell, freeing up organic matter that can be consumed by other microbes, thus potentially affecting microbial diversity and metabolic processes across entire ecosystems. Credit: Jennifer Brum, Sullivan Lab at The Ohio State University.

When we think about viruses we tend to consider ones that afflict humans, such as those that cause influenza, HIV, and Ebola. Yet, vastly more viruses infect single-celled microbes. Diverse and abundant, microbes and the viruses that infect them are found in oceans, lakes, plants, soil, and animal-associated microbiomes.

In this talk, Georgia Tech Professor of Biological Sciences Joshua Weitz will discuss challenges and opportunities in investigating this "microscopic" form of disease and how the study of "quantitative viral ecology" may fundamentally transform human and environmental health.

About our speaker
Joshua Weitz is a quantitative biologist with a background in physics. He directs a multidisciplinary research group whose primary mission is to understand how viruses transform the fate of cells, populations, and the environment. Weitz collaborates with experimental groups to jointly explore the virus-microbe interface in a range of sites, including the North Pacific Ocean, Yellowstone Hot Springs, and in human-associated microbiomes.

Weitz received an AB in Physics from Princeton University in 1997 and a PhD in Physics from MIT in 2003. He was a NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University before joining Georgia Tech as an Assistant Professor of Biology in 2007. He is currently Professor of Biological Sciences at Georgia Tech, where he has a courtesy appointment in Physics, and is the Founding Director of an interdisciplinary PhD in Quantitative Biosciences.

Weitz has authored a recent book on Quantitative Viral Ecology (Princeton University Press, 2015) and more than 80 peer reviewed articles on topics ranging from viral ecology to infectious disease dynamics to the structure of complex networks. He has received numerous awards for his research, including a Burroughs Wellcome Career Award at the Scientific Interface in 2007 and is currently a Simons Foundation Investigator on Ocean Processes and Ecology.