Experts in the News

To request a media interview, please reach out to School of Biological Sciences experts using our faculty directory, or contact Jess Hunt-Ralston, College of Sciences communications director. A list of faculty experts and research areas across the College of Sciences at Georgia Tech is also available to journalists upon request.


The baculovirus–insect cell expression system — insect cells used in conjunction with the baculovirus expression vector system (BEVS) —  remains a crucial technology for manufacturing large and complex proteins. This eukaryotic expression system offers inherent safety, ease of scale-up, flexible product design, and versatility for a broad range of proteins. This Insight from Industry Report features comments from Amy Sheng, currently Chief Research Officer at Sino Biological, who received her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology in 2017 from the School of Biological Sciences.  
News Medical Life Sciences | 2023-09-20T00:00:00-04:00
This summer, wildflowers brought an unusually bright splash of color to Colorado’s hillsides. Although the blooms were largely the product of a slow-melting snowpack and a wet spring, native pollinators like bees and butterflies played a critical role in creating these colorful habitats. But a new study shows that these flying insects are in trouble. Researchers at Colorado University of Denver and Georgia Tech analyzed data on 800 species of insects around the world and discovered that flying insects — many of which play a crucial role in pollinating the world’s plants and crops — are migrating at slower rates than their non-flying counterparts and appear to be dying at faster rates. James T. Stroud, assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences, is a co-author of the study.
Colorado Public Radio | 2023-09-26T00:00:00-04:00
Lynn Ingram writes that she thought she'd found the state seashell of North Carolina, a Scotch bonnet, on one of the state's beaches. But she soon discovered that the shell was a species of sea snail that is only found in the Pacific Ocean. How did it end up in the Atlantic? Joseph Montoya, professor in the School of Biological Sciences who is also director of Georgia Tech's Ocean Science and Engineering program, says one possibility involves ballast tanks of oceangoing ships; sometimes these shells start as larvae living in plankton that may have been caught up in a ship's ballast water. 
Okracoke Observer | 2023-09-17T00:00:00-04:00
Wetlands serve as a natural protection from storms, fires, and floods. But those protections can be deadly at times. Joel Kostka, professor and Associate Chair of Research in the School of Biological Sciences (with an adjunct appointment in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences), talks about the nation's wetlands in the latest episode of The Earth Unlocked, The Weather Channel's weekly series on the planet's natural wonders and the roles extreme weather, constant geologic change, and biological evolution play. The series airs at 8 p.m. ET Sundays, and can also be viewed on demand on The Weather Channel app (subscription required.) 
The Weather Channel | 2023-08-26T00:00:00-04:00
The work of School of Biological Sciences researchers William Ratcliff and Ozan Bozdag makes its way into this Cosmos Magazine column from Redmond Symons, who waxes eloquent how his body developed from a single cell. In May 2023, Ratcliff, an associate professor and co-director of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Quantitative Biosciences, along with Bozdag, a research scientist, released a study on how they developed multicellular colonies from single cells of snowflake yeast. The team showed how the cells evolved to be physically stronger and more than 20,000 times larger than their ancestor. This type of biophysical evolution is a pre-requisite for the kind of large multicellular life that can be seen with the naked eye. Their study is the first major report on the ongoing Multicellularity Long-Term Evolution Experiment (MuLTEE), which the team hopes to run for decades.
Cosmos Magazine | 2023-07-20T00:00:00-04:00
People with weakened immune systems are at constant risk of infection. Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common environmental bacterium, can colonize different body parts, such as the lungs, leading to persistent, chronic infections that can last a lifetime — a common occurrence in people with cystic fibrosis. But the bacteria can sometimes change their behavior and enter the bloodstream, causing chronic localized infections to become acute and potentially fatal. How and why the switch happens in humans has remained unknown. However, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have identified the major mechanism behind the transition between chronic and acute P. aeruginosa infections. Marvin Whiteley -- professor in the School of Biological Sciences and Bennie H. and Nelson D. Abell Chair in Molecular and Cellular Biology -- and Pengbo Cao, a postdoctoral researcher in Whiteley's lab, discovered a gene that drives the switch. By measuring bacterial gene expression in human tissue samples, the researchers identified a biomarker for the transition. (This story was also covered in Technology Networks and News Medical Life Sciences.)
Science Daily | 2023-06-14T00:00:00-04:00
Cooperation is everywhere. Cells cooperate in multicellular organisms, individuals cooperate in societies, and different species cooperate. Why would it not be the case that microbes cooperate with each other? Researchers have known for more than 20 years that bacteria participate in collective behaviors such as forming biofilms and acquiring nutrients from the environment. But being part of a cooperative group does not necessarily mean that every individual bacterium plays by the rules. Occasionally, cheaters arise. Steve Diggle, professor in the School of Biological Sciences and director of Georgia Tech's Center for Microbial Dynamics and Infection, weighs in on what keeps microbial cheaters from ruining biofilm structures. 
The Scientist | 2023-06-01T00:00:00-04:00
As a deadly heat wave continues to ravage the U.S., new evidence suggests the human body may stop functioning optimally when outside temperatures climb to 104 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Research presented at the recent annual Society for Experimental Biology conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, suggests that temperatures in that range raise a person's resting metabolic rate — the amount of energy needed to function at rest. Michael Sawka, adjunct professor and professor of the practice in the School of Biological Sciences, is quoted in the article. 
NBC News | 2023-07-06T00:00:00-04:00