Want more research funding? Time to give your study organism a better nickname

People who work on pathogens, especially really nasty ones, have built in marketing and fundraising tools. They have nicknames (for the organism, the disease, or both): Good ones. Like “black death” “flesh eating bacteria” “bone break fever” any “wasting disease” any “hemorrhagic fever” “male killer” and more. Now – there are a few non pathogens with good nicknames, like “Conan the bacterium” for Deinococcus radiodurans. But I think we really need to work on better nicknames for non pathogenic microbes. So here are a few proposals:

Any halophilic archaea -> “salt monsters”
Prochlorococcus -> The carbon eater
Rhizobium -> The fixer
Any methanogen -> Fartilicious
Myxococcus xanthus -> The stalker
Nanoarchaeum -> The Hobbit
Tetrahymena thermophila -> The hymenator

Come on everyone.  Let’s get some better nicknames.

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

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