Alien Invaders… from Planet Earth? – Science Slam of Maria Font

Bacteria in space?! You might think exploring the stars is just for people but bacteria happen to make fantastic astronauts, in large part due to their ability to work together in the form of a biofilm! Biofilms are an important bacterial lifestyle and these organisms use them to colonize everywhere from inside your body to the pipes on the international space station. From a lonely entity, swimming in the darkness to the establishment of a metropolis, every stage of biofilm formation is exciting and important when thinking about life on earth, and among the stars.

Alien Invaders… from Planet Earth? – Maria Font at the First PIER Science Slam

Maria Font

photo of a smiling young woman wearing a pink sweater leaning onto an incubator on which large erlenmeyer flasks with brown liquid are standing
Maria Font.

Maria is a PhD student at the Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) in Hamburg and uses structural biology to investigate proteins associated with biofilm formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas fluorescens and Desulfovibrio vulgaris. Specifically, she studies proteins related to initial attachment of the bacteria to a surface and the stimuli associated with their decision to commit to forming a biofilm.

About the First PIER Science Slam

After blogposts and podcasts, PIER wanted to tackle what is probably the most entertaining form of science communication: Science Slams. Theresa Schredelseker then teamed up with Philipp Gadow, postdoctoral researcher at DESY and experienced science slammer. In the workshop they offered, five PhD students from various research institutions at the Hamburg Bahrenfeld campus were assisted to develop their own Science Slam. They received one-on-one coachings with experienced science slammers (Philipp Gadow, Michael Büker or Matthias Mader) and a full-day workshop in which Philipp prepared them for their stage appearance.

Logo of the First PIER Science Slam showing the PIER logo, a microphone and many raised arms

On May 4, 2022 it was finally time to perform their slam in front of an amazing audience in the DESY auditorium. The show was hosted by Matthias Mader, who also performed a Science Slam as the opening act to break the ice and warm up the audience for our five contesters. The winner was determined by the audience and their applause, judged by three jurors, Michael Büker, Matthew Robinson and Theresa Schredelseker. It was such a close race, but Judita was found to have won this friendly battle of wits! Congrats to her but also to all other slammers who did a great job entertaining the audience! It was such a fun night!

Many thanks also go to Matthias Kreuzeder and the DESY Meeting Service. They were tremendously helpful when it came to organizing this event and preparing the videos.

Theresa Schredelseker

As a molecular biologist by training, Theresa is currently trying to share her enthusiasm for science communication with early career researchers at DESY and Uni Hamburg.

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