Outreach

We intend to bring topics and working methods from the Microverse closer to different target groups, from the general public to schoolchildren. Members of our Microverse Cluster present their research at non-scientific events organized by the University of Jena as well as our further institutes and partners. In addition, we organise our own formats.

Please find below a selection of our outreach activities:

  • Planetarium Film: Into the Microverse - Journey through the Amazing World of Microbes
  • Videos:
    • Three Questions For
    • Imagefilm
  • Book Club: Science meets Society
  • Dairy Cultures: Exhibition about the Science of Mongolian Heritage
  • Hunt for the Killer Germ: Science Comic „Lasergirl“
  • Microorganisms in art
  • Audio: Excellence Podcast
  • Recipes: Microbial Kitchen

Planetarium Film

Into the Microverse: Journey through the amazing world of microbes

Microorganisms are everywhere: in the atmosphere, in the soil and in water. Although tiny, they play a major role in the coexistence of organisms. Researchers from the Microverse Cluster and other partners developed the film "Into the Microverse: Journey through the amazing world of microbes" to show how important microorganisms are for the health of other living beings and how they influence processes in ecosystems.

To enhance the engagement of students in grades 5 to 8 (age 11 to 14) with the subject of "microorganisms," we plan to create additional educational materials that provide insightful suggestions for structuring lessons. The goal is twofold: to complement the thematic content of the film and to delve into the diverse research focuses of the cluster.

Picture credits: Tina Peißker

Further Information:

  • 15-minute film
  • Target group: 11 to 99
  • available in English and German
  • no costs or license fees for use; the film is available to all planetariums and other venues worldwide for their educational activities in line with the open access approach

For Planetariums: Please contact us for the download links: contact@microverse-cluster.de.

Preview-Links:

Videos

Four Questions For: Kirsten Küsel

Three Questions For: Martin Taubert

Three Questions For: Rosalind Allen

Three Questions For: Gianni Panagiotou

Three Questions For: Ute Hellmich

Three Questions For: Bas Dutilh

Three Questions For: Amelia Barber

Imagefilm

Dairy Cultures: Exhibition about the Science of Mongolian Heritage

What is the amazing story of Mongolia's dairy heritage about? Christina Warinner, one of our PIs, and her team, curated the exhibition "Dairy Cultures: Revealing Mongolia's Rich Heritage through Scientific Inquiry" in the Natural History Museum Mongolia having started on Friday, 22 September.

The central focus of this exhibit is their in-depth exploration of Mongolia's longstanding dairying tradition and its distinctive microbial legacy. This interdisciplinary initiative blends the fields of archaeology, anthropology, microbiology, nutrition science, and medicine.

Please find more information here: https://christinawarinner.com/outreach/dairy-cultures-virtual-exhibit-2/

Science Meets Society: Book Club

Our Book Club brings together curious minds to explore the fascinating connection between science and society. In our rapidly evolving world, it is more important than ever to understand scientific knowledge and reflect on its impact on our society.

With the "Science Meets Society: Book Club" we offer a regular space to engage with each other and discuss issues of ethics, justice, sustainability, diversity, as well as inclusion in science, and the role our work plays in society. Anyone in Jena with an interest in the interaction of science and society is welcome to join. (Discussion will be in English)

Our next book club session will take place: February 8th (2024!): 15:30 - 17:30 at Leibniz-HKI Nucleus (Please help us plan for the catering and register here!)

 

Hunt for the Killer Germ: Science Comic „Lasergirl“

Lasergirl’s superpower is light. Her secret weapon is a method that researchers in Jena and Europe have developed to quickly detect life-threatening infections.

An unknown danger lurks in the body world. The immune police are trying to bring the situation under control. But who are they really fighting? In an action-packed comic adventure, Lasergirl sets out on a journey inside the body to set a trap for the killer germ. Her secret weapon is a method to quickly detect life-threatening sepsis – colloquially known as „blood poisoning“ – with the help of optical technologies and artificial intelligence.

„Lasergirl: Hunt for the Killer Germ“ by our partner institute Leibniz IPHT is available in German and English (soon) as a free e-book on popular platforms and at lasergirl.de. Read here for more information.

Microorganisms in art

MHS_02

How do microorganisms and art come together? In collaboration with the Museum Sinclair-Haus an exhibition was being created that makes the beauty of microbes visible: images of microorganisms such as amoeba, fungi and diatoms were displayed at the exhibiton “What is nature?” The microscopic images were contributed by scientists from our Research Cluster of Excellence.

Learn more about the exhibition (09/2020 - 08/2021): "What is nature?" (German Website)

Podcast

Microbial balance is crucial for a healthy life - whether in humans, animals or plants. Even waters and soils, and thus entire ecosystems, depend on it. If this dynamic balance of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms falters, the consequences can be severe.

Research into the Microverse is all about the communication and interaction of these tiny organisms with each other and with their environment. This is because they have often been living together for millions of years and are rarely found in isolation.

Prof. Brakhage, our former spokesperson, explains that the next antibiotic agent may be waiting to be discovered in our front yard. And from this, in the best case, a drug can be developed that specifically attacks undesirable microorganisms and does not affect the beneficial ones: Mikrobiome - Mikroorganismen im (Un-)Gleichgewicht

Recipes: Microbial Kitchen

Microorganisms like bacteria and fungi have a big influence on our lives. Often they appear to us as threats to our health but that is only a very narrow view on the functions and abilities of microorganisms. In fact, life would not be possible without them: a balanced microbiome keeps humans, animals, plants and ecosystems healthy. Moreover they are significant for our nutrition – humans have been using microorganisms such as yeast or lactic acid bacteria to produce food for thousands of years.

Members and friends of the Microverse Cluster and the Jena School for Microbial Communication have revealed their favourite delicious recipes which involve the activity of microorganisms. You will also find information on typical microorganisms used for food production.

Discover the Microverse and enjoy the microbial kitchen!