Postscript on clinical microbiology applications of cell biology

The μgnome scurried out of his burrow yesterday to make a few points about applied cell biology for microbiologists. The main thrust of his argument was that as we have the technology at hand, the question is no longer ‘can we do it?’ It’s a matter of practical application – what can be done with the technology, what specific applications are chosen, when these should be used and what should be done with the results.

The μgnome suggested a short list of potential clinical microbiology applications:

  • attribution of a causal role to a given priobe or causal agent
  • prediction of the likely course of infection
  • targeting of early antimicrobial interventions
  • guidance on the efficacy of public health control measures

The μgnome highlighted the possible role for advanced microscopy tools with two cases of ophthalmic infections; one parasitic, the other fungal.

Key microscopic methods demonstrated were:

Other methods discussed were

Asked to predict where this was likely to make a difference in clinical practice, the μgnome predicted that it would be image-based reporting of early growth bacteria in blood cultures and other sterile fluids, and possibly targeted live/dead cell analysis of drug-bug combinations to provide an early guide to antibiotic efficacy.

μgnome, 26th March


  1. Whole-body imaging of E. coli-GFP infection (great pics) via micrognome

  2. Wow – exciting stuff- thanks for the glimpse of the future-in-the-present, Tim.

    Particularly like: "Whole-body imaging of E. coli-GFP infection in various organs" at and the acanthamoeba-meliodosis model is fascinating. Contact lenses in the tropical outback may not be such a good idea…

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