Kocuria Rhizophila: Isolation and Identification of Bacteria from a Multiple- use Water Bottle (Elora S. Swan)






I wrote my paper on my isolate Kocuria Rhizophila. A Staphylococcus bacterium usually found on the skin, Kocuria is an up and coming pathogen that is gaining more and more attention among doctors and biologists.


Microbe/ Virus Stickers by Elora Skye Swan

Artist Statement:

For my art project, I decided to draw and make microbe stickers. I chose to do this because I did some research and this has been done, but its not common and I wanted to do something a little different. Not only will this allow people to display the artwork on any surface, but maybe it will spark conversation and help people to learn about different microbes if they feel curious enough to ask.

The first one I did was a bacteriophage.

Now I know that this is not exactly what a Bacteriophage looks like, but I wanted it to look mechanical, almost robotic. Since it is a virus, I wanted to play off of the “not alive’ idea. These were my favorite, and you may see a few around UAF!

My next was Rhinovirus.

I chose to do Rhinovirus (common cold) because it is such a common virus, and not a lot of people actually know what It looks like. I tried to put my own artistic touch on it by making it look as if the inside of the virus held a galaxy. I think when you put your own artistic flair on things, that it makes people a little more curious, and makes it your own.



My very last microbe I did was Adenovirus. I did not any stickers printed of this one because it was pretty expensive, but I wanted to share it anyways!


How I did these drawings:

I drew everything in procreate, and then printed off the stickers through an online company.  I looked at microscopic photos of these microbes, and then would draw my interpretation.

All in all I really enjoyed this project, because it allowed me to be artistic and scientific at the same time. I like intermixing art and science and I don’t think we get to do it enough. I hope you enjoyed my project! If you are interested in purchasing a sticker, I am selling them for $4 each!


Microbes in the News! (3) Super Bugs in Hospitals


Recently, “Super bugs’ have been located on the hands of hospital patients. According to an article on Science News, Fourteen percent of 399 hospital patients tested in the study had “superbug” antibiotic-resistant bacteria on their hands or nostrils very early in their hospital stay, the research finds. And nearly a third of tests for such bacteria on objects that patients commonly touch in their rooms, such as the nurse call button, came back positive. This is a huge issue, especially with the antibiotic resistance issues we face nowadays. MRSA is a huge contributor to Hospital infections, this microbe is commonly found in the skin. Due to the high number and turn over of patients in hospitals, many microbes and viruses are exchanged daily.



We have recently been looking into the connections between antibiotic resistance and the use of antibiotics. In cases such as super bugs being found, as we get closer and closer to the post- antibiotic world, these super bugs are going to cause issues that we may potentially not be able to eliminate. With increase in antibiotic resistance, there will be no way to fight these pathogens and bacteria.

Critical Analysis:

I work in a medical clinic, and so I hear about things like this everyday. Many people are unaware that this is happening, and when you try to explain it to them, they don’t believe you. So this article seems pretty accurate to me. It’s scary to know that there are these superbugs out there that we are not able to do anything about.


What can we do about this? Should we have harsher regulations on antibiotic perscriptions?





A2: Microbes in the News! Frog Fungus. Elora Swan

Recently, there has been a wide spread fungus devastating amphibians causing mass extinctions. This study has found that this fungal disease has cause dramatic population decline with over 500 species including 90 extinctions over the past 50 years. The fungus, crytridiomycosis, eats away at the skins of the amphibians, and is present in more than 60 countries. The fungus is though to have originated in Asia, where several amphibian species have been found to actually be resistant to the fungus.

This fungus is thought to have spread from human moving different species around the globe as pets and for other uses. This introduces new pathogens into areas that would normally not have them, much like how the first English settlers introducted smallpox to the American Indians. Many species are at risk, and fighting to stay off of the endangered list.

It is thought that as years continue to pass, this fungus could potentially be a contributor to the sixth mass extinction.

This was a super interesting article, especially because we touched on the possibilities of a sixth mass extinction in class, and even past extinctions. The fact that there is a potential for it to be happening now, is terrifying yet understandable with how we are currently treating the planet. Hopefully it won’t come to a sixth mass extinction, but there is no way of knowing.




Australian National University (2019) Mass Amphibian Extinctions Caused Globally by Fungal Disease.

Painting With Microbes- Swan

Elora Skye Swan Lab Section FO1- 342.

For my microbe art, I chose to try and represent geometric shapes. I chose this because nature actually mimics geometry, and I wanted to express that through use of microbes. The first plate I did was MAC, which changes to yellow with non lactose fermenting colonies. I wanted color change in order to make the artwork a little more interesting. I made sure to check it the day after so I still had the gradient of yellow and pink in the media. For bacteria, I used A. aerogenes, and Chromobacterium violaceum. The dark purple growth is the violaceum and the pinkish growth is the A. Aerogenes. The shape above, while I wanted to make dodecahedron, I ended up with an isosachedron. I think it still turned out really well, and I liked the way the colors came together. This means that one of my bacterial strains has non lactose fermenting properties, my guess is the violaceum due to the fact that the yellow change is haloed around that particular bacterium.

My second plate, which is only inoculated with E- coli, which is a gram negative, anaerobic intestinal bacteria, was on the Eosin methylene blue plate. I chose this particular combination, because when you combine the two, the E-coli will have a green sheen as it matures due to that fact that it is an intestinal bacteria. I was able to get this sheen, and it ended up looking really pretty although this was not my favorite art inoculation plate.


All in all I really loved this lab, It was relaxed, and I was able to be creative with my science which is not something a lot of professors do.

Epithet Epitaph- Nocardia (Edmond Nocard)


Edmond Nocard.


Nocardiosis is an gram- positive, aerobic Actinomycete caused by a bacteria originally discovered by Edmond Nocard. This bacteria is commonly found in soil and water, and is known to affect the brain, lungs, and skin. This bacteria is usually found in areas of decay, such as standing water, decaying plants, and soils. It can be transmitted to humans by inhaling contaminated dust particulates, or getting some infected dirt into an open wound. Most often Nocardiosis will show up as a lung infection, and can rapidly spread throughout the body.

The man who discovered Nocardia, Edmond Nocard, was a French veterinarian and microbiologist born in 1850. Nocard went to veterinary school in France, and eventually joined the army in 1871. In 1978, he became the professor of pathology and clinical surgery. Nocard went on to become an assistant in the lab of Louis Pasteur. He helped in many experiments, including anthrax vaccinations in animals. He travelled to Egypt to isolate Cholera, but was unsuccessful. He eventually went on to develop techniques such as harvesting blood serum, creating new culture media for bacillus of T.B., and introduced anesthesia of large animals with chloro hydrate. Nocard’s main medical contribution was the of Nocardia, originally named Streptothrix farcinica, which tends to manifest itself in bovine, but can be found in humans as well. Edmond was rewarded in 1887 for his scientific discoveries, with the title director of the school, and he was given chair of Pasteur Institute.



“Edmond Nocard.’  Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.  23 Jan. 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmond_Nocard

“History of Bovine TB.’  TB Free England.  23 Jan. 2019. https://www.tbfreeengland.co.uk/assets/4148

“Nocardosis” Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 23 Jan. 2019. https://www.cdc.gov /nocardosis/transmission/index.html.


A2: Microbes in the News- Deep Sea Japan

Extreme Microbes Found in Crystals Buried 200 Feet Beneath the Sea of Japan

source: https://www.livescience.com/64532-microbes-inside-gas-hydrate-crystals

January 17, 2019.


Recently, In the depths of the ocean off the coast of Japan, with extremely cold temperatures and high pressure, microbes were discovered inside of small mineral grains sealed into crystals. These were discovered during an expedition sampling gas hydrates.

Its pretty incredible to find microbes in such extreme conditions such as this. In fact, we touched on the topic in class, they are often known as “Extremeophiles.” These are organisms that are able to live in otherwise uninhabitable environments.

I think its pretty neat that even though the researchers were originally searching for something else, they found this incredible discovery. Being from a pretty cool and efficiently sourced scientific website, I believe this article to be accurate. The microbes were effectively “sealed” into a environment perfect for them, within these crystals. No other organisms were introduced, this makes for a really incredible historical discovery as well, seeing as these organisms have been in a protected environment for hundreds if not thousands of years.

What I wanted to know, was could these organisms tell us a little about the past for sure? Being in an enclosed system, possibly could have halted any sort of evolution.

A1: Introductions, Elora Swan

Hey Everyone, my name Is Elora Swan, or just for ease of memory, my nickname is Lou. I am a senior currently, working towards my B.S. in Biology. (Hopefully will get into pre- vet.) I’ve lived in Fairbanks my whole life, and something cool about me is that I recently just got back from Haiti, where we were teaching science classes on the importance of clean water due to microbes. We had to leave quicker then intended due to violet riots, but we got some work done. Ive attached two photos, one of me so you actually know who I am, (I have been riding for 19 years, so its a huge part of who I am.) And one of teaching classes in Haiti to 5th grade village children. We also spent that time getting to know the kids and preparing meals for them. I loved being there and was sad when we had to leave. I am excited for this class, and excited to get to know all of you!