Fierer Lab

Exploring the structure and function of microbial communities

Why graduate students are like NFL quarterbacks

By: Noah Fierer January 29, 2016 As the NFL season draws to a close, we can look back and try to figure out why some teams were winners (Go Broncos!) while others are perennial losers (sorry Cleveland). Undoubtedly one key to success is the ability of coaches and managers to select good players. Fortunately, for

Read More…

Welcomes and a Farewell

  The most up-to-date lab group photo!  Farewell to our former student/lab tech extraordinaire, Xavier.  Welcome to our new grad students, Angela and Hannah!

“Everything is everywhere…” gets us nowhere

By: Noah Fierer Microbial ecology has surprisingly few unifying concepts. It is difficult to identify ‘rules’ or paradigms that apply across the field of microbial ecology regardless of the taxonomic group or environment in question. Here is my short list and I realize I am probably missing quite a few obvious ones: Bacterial cell size

Read More…

A plea for help – hot topics in soil ecology?

By: Noah Fierer In early June, I’ll be attending the biennial meeting of the Soil Ecology Society in Colorado Springs. Despite being the home of Focus on the Family and one of the more conservative cities in the U.S. (the yin to Boulder’s yang) – it is a scenic place. More importantly the Soil Ecology Society

Read More…

Proposals and the preservation of sanity

By: Noah Fierer I write a lot of proposals – or at least it feels like I write a lot of proposals. As soon as one proposal is out the door, there is another one to write – a neverending cycle of panhandling. This is true for most scientists – we spend huge amounts of

Read More…

Expected Errors

#A poem for any biologist who has ventured into the world of scripting. By: Anne A. Madden >>>file = open(“Expected_Errors.txt”, ‘r’) >>>print May I be so BOLD as to take a minute and discuss my current plight? In my new job as a bioinformaticist, I can’t seem to get any code right.   Though I search for PERLs

Read More…

Lara Croft, Room Raider

Adventures in exploring the great indoors By Anne A. Madden Some little girls dream of one day having a baby, or at least getting a puppy, and naming it. When I was young, I dreamed of naming things too, but I envisioned these things as new elements, planets, and species rather than swaddled children. I

Read More…

Pet Peeves

By: Noah Fierer Papers using 16S rRNA gene sequencing to characterize bacterial communities are now a dime a dozen. Every day a new ‘microbiome’ is described using these methods and microbiologists like to view themselves as Indiana Jones hacking through the jungle of microbial diversity wielding sequencers for machetes. Many of these papers are quite

Read More…

Great hair breeds great science

We, the Fierer lab, congratulate Dr. Anne Madden on her latest (and probably the most important) award: The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists™ Woman of the Year 2015! This is an incredible achievement, and we know Dr. Madden has worked very hard to realize this level of recognition. For more information, please visit this

Read More…