Indiana State University Newsroom

Associate professor of microbiology to speak at ISU

April 3, 2009

On Tuesday, April 7, a researcher of how pathogenic bacteria establish infections in humans will speak at Indiana State University as part of the Biology Seminar Series, "From Molecules to Ecosystems."

Stephen Blanke, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, will speak at 4 p.m. in room 12 of the Science Building. Blanke will speak about the research he and a team of others including graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, undergraduates and technicians have been working on for many years in a discussion titled, "The Relationship of a Persistent Pathogenic Microbe to Ulcers, Cancer and Asthma: The Curious Case of Helicobacter pylori."

Blanke earned his bachelor's in biochemistry from Virginia Tech University and went on to obtain a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois. For the next five years, Blanke did postdoctoral research work on microbiology and molecular genetics at Harvard Medical School. In 2005, he moved his laboratory to the University of Illinois-Urbana, where he currently works.

Blanke is the second Hans Christian Gram Microbiology Speaker.

"Hans Christian Gram was such a big part of microbiology," said Rusty Gonser, associate professor of biology at Indiana State University. "He developed the standard technique used by scientists in order to test bacteria."

In addition to Blanke's presentation Tuesday afternoon, the library will be showing the movie, "The 11th Hour," on Monday, April 13, at 6 p.m. in the events area in honor of Earth Day. Following the movie, a panel discussion, chaired by Rusty Gonser, will be held.

The film, produced by actor Leonardo DiCaprio, is a feature length documentary concerning the environmental crisis caused by human actions and their impact on the planet.

The series, sponsored by the ISU department of biology and St. Mary-of-the-Woods College science and math department, brings in internationally recognized research scientists to speak to students and community members. For more information, visit or call 812-237-2501. Refreshments will be served from 3:30 to 4 p.m. with the seminar beginning at 4 p.m.

The Lilly Endowment and ISU's Enrollment Services are also sponsoring this event.


Contact: Rusty Gonser, Indiana State University, assistant professor, at 812- 237-2395 or 

Writer: Jennifer Spector, Indiana State University, Media Relations Intern, at 812-237-3773 or