The Human Postmortem Microbiome

By studying the microscopic bacteria that blossom on our bodies after we die, scientists hope to unlock surprising mysteries of the departed.

The Crazy Caver’s Quest

An annotated guide to one caver’s subterranean quest for new antibiotic leads. Without basic exploration, there is no data—and there is little chance of new finding new drugs. (PDF)

The Tragedy of the Midnight Slider

Two years ago, a saboteur disappeared off the coast of Cape Breton. Three lobstermen confessed to his murder. Had he gotten what was coming to him, or was the real story something far more tragic?

The Psychobiotic Pioneers

After years of doubt and incredulity, it now seemed possible that microorganisms shaped our risk for developing psychiatric and neurological disorders. The question was how.

Rx for a drier world

A Dutch psychiatrist wants to help alcoholics go on drinking—drinking less. One patient told me, “Wow, I can do this like a normal person.”

Luckey’s Guess

In the late 1960s, a scientist named T.D. Luckey made a claim: Microbial cells, he said, outnumbered human cells ten-to-one. This is the story about how Luckey’s guess established itself as microbiology’s oft-quoted fact.