Dr. Josť de Ondarza
As autumn rolls around, one cannot help but be impressed by the riotous display of colors put on display by the region's trees - it seems that almost every hue, from brown to red, orange to yellow, is present. And yet plants are not the only organisms that sport such beautiful colors. Many microorganisms, including algae, fungi and bacteria, also produce pigments. For some, these serve a similar purpose - photosynthesis. For others, these pigments play a protective role, for example to absorb UV radiation or to quench oxygen free radicals. Other pigments have been suggested to have antibiotic properties. I am interested in using these vivid microbes as teaching tools, to capture one's interest and imagination and to draw one into science as a way of thinking and discovering.