Tonight, the Perpetual Notion Machine is so honored to have Dr. Jo Handelsman as our guest. Jo has an extensive resume in the sciences that includes Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID), a Vilas Research Professor in plant pathology at UW-Madison, induction into the National Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019, science advisor in the Obama White House from 2014 to 2017, editor and chief of the academic journal DNA and Cell Biology, and author of several books. In a discussion with PNM’s Kelly Schwartz, Jo talks about how WID promotes diversity in the sciences, and how the sciences differ between government in the White House and academia. Also, Jo discusses her research in microbiology and microbial ecology, and how much we didn’t really know back when she first got started. One advance is the notion of precision medicine; the microbiome can be so diverse, even more so than the genome, that every person can be unique in that medicine needs to be precise for EACH individual. Another of Jo’s research interests is soil biology and conservation. Microbiome processes occur in the soil, much like in human beings. But soil erosion is at an all-time high, and those processes that make the soil rich and productive are dying out.
Next year, 2020, WID celebrates its 10 year anniversary. Events will be held throughout the year. To obtain details as events are announced, keep visiting the WID website at wid.wisc.edu.