Episode Summary

Plague and anthrax are feared diseases due to high mortality rates following pulmonary exposure, and both are considered potential bioweapons. 

Dr. Virginia Miller, professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and ASM President, studies plague, as well as other Gram negative bacteria. Dr. Theresa Koehler, emeritus professor at UTHealth Houston and ASM president-elect, is an expert in anthrax. 

microTalk caught up with Dr. Miller and Dr. Koehler at ASM Microbe 2023 in Houston to discuss these biothreat agents.

Dr. Miller discusses why she studies plague, the differences between bubonic and pneumonic plague, why Klebsiella pneumoniae poses a growing health threat, and what it was like being John Mekalanos’ first Ph.D. student.

Dr. Koehler discusses why anthrax is considered a potential bioweapon, why significant scientific progress was made following the anthrax attacks of 2001, why gardeners shouldn’t worry about catching anthrax, and her first failed experiment.  Both discuss their vision for ASM and the role it plays in microbiological research and society.


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