How do we fight off bacterial infections that make us sick?
Meet the Antibiotic Hunters—a team of professional and student scientists at the Tiny Earth Network who search for new antibiotics in the soil. In the resources below, you’ll learn about these scientists and their lab, discover why their research matters in real life, and try out an activity. Take notes as you explore!
Meet The Scientists
There are 4 cards to read.
I’m the lab leader, which means that I bring the scientists together, attract new people to do training in my lab, and ensure it’s a dynamic and interesting place to work. ✨
As a graduate student, everyday I learn about the world of microbiology. One question I am interested in is: what special tools does a bacteria need to move into a community, also called a microbiome? 🏡
I study how the microbes in the soil respond to chemicals produced by other organisms living in the soil. 🦠
In the laboratory, I spend lots of time testing ideas and generating information from experiments… and then discussing the results with friends. 😊
Learn Why Research Matters
The Tiny Earth Network searches for new antibiotics so that we will have more options for fighting harmful bacterial infections. In the following video, you’ll learn about why they research this through a real-world story about a woman who developed an antibiotic-resistant infection when she was just starting high school.
Questions to Consider:
Jessi’s experience with antibiotic-resistant bacteria made her curious about microbiology. What experiences have you had that make you curious about science?
It took several tries to find the right solution for Jessi’s infection. Can you think of a time when your first solution didn’t work and you had to try again?
“What I went through in high school was tough, but I’m hoping that it can inspire someone.”
Being a scientist means asking new questions and learning new things. Click through the topics below to ask questions of the scientists at the Tiny Earth Network and learn about their research.
Click on a tab above to begin.
What is your lab and what do you study there?
What is an antibiotic?
What signs do you look for when you're trying to discover a new antibiotic?
Why do you look in soil?
Where do you get your soil samples?
I want to become a scientist. What advice do you have?
Science Practices Activity
Now put what you’ve learned into practice! Amanda is searching for new antibiotics. Can you help her identify soil types that might contain them?
Graphic and Motion Design
Vicki Way Kipp
University of Wisconsin-Madison Cultural Linguistic Services
Science Education Consultant
Travis Tangen, WID
Kevin Anderson, PhD, DPI
Educator Guide and Activities
Jo Handelsman, PhD
Amanda Hurley, PhD
Deepa Acharya, PhD
Marc Chevrette, PhD
Julia Nepper, PhD
Morgridge Institute for Research
Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
Director of Education
Director of Television
Oshkosh Area School District, Oshkosh, WI
School District of Eleva-Strum, Strum, WI
Traeger Middle School, Oshkosh, WI
Funding Provided By
Timothy William Trout Education Fund
a gift of Monroe and Sandra Trout
Focus Fund for Education
Friends of PBS Wisconsin
Single Step Foundation