Episode Summary

The presence of bacterial toxins in a remote coral reef got Stanley Maloy thinking about the evolution of pathogens, and where “emerging diseases” come from.  

Dr. Stanley Maloy is a professor at San Diego State University who studies Salmonella, which causes gastrointestinal illness as well as more systemic disease in various hosts. He is the associate vice president for research and has been involved in the development of a number of biotech companies, and he’s a great storyteller to boot.  

Maloy talks about how thinking about bacterial pathogens from the bug’s point of view provides new insight into pathogen evolution, how “Muller’s ratchet” can explain Salmonella pathogen evolution, how metagenomics allows scientists to see new “worlds” that hadn’t been imagined before, how the environment in San Diego stimulates collaborative and international research, and how his first use of a Bunsen burner almost led to the lab burning down.   

The microCase for listeners to solve is about Kong Ill King, the dictator of a secretive nation who gets a potentially fatal disease while on a visit to an amusement park.


  • Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Stanley Maloy, Ph.D. (San Diego State University)
  • Janakiram Seshu, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Mylea Echazarreta (UTSA)

Subscribe to microTalk via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Android, Email or RSS and never miss an episode!