Twenty-first century microbiology: Why do we still care about bacteriology research?
The Golden Age of Microbiology was between about 1857 and 1914. This was a time in which the germ theory of disease was established and a great number of fundamental advances were made in microbiology, especially in bacteriology. In 1942, the first patient was treated with the antibiotic penicillin, and many more antibiotics were soon developed. Some people called it “the end of infectious diseases”. So what are microbiologists doing now? Modern microbiology researchers use genomics to classify microorganisms, and to understand a microorganisms’ genes. Molecular biology techniques and advanced microscopy have greatly advanced our understanding of host-pathogen interactions. Recombinant DNA technology and biochemical techniques have allowed us to explore the molecular function of bacterial and viral proteins. Modern proteomics has greatly sped up our understanding of protein-protein interactions. In light of emerging antibiotic resistant bacteria and current pandemics, the modern microbiologist has to use all these tools to develop new vaccines, diagnostics and antibiotics or other treatments for the infectious diseases that still plague us today.