Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

Tiny Organisms, Big Questions

A Los Alamos microbiologist describes how to understand the environment by examining its tiniest inhabitants.
March 1, 2018
Microscopic image of bacteria and fungi.

Millions of unknown bacteria and fungi live in soils, but few have been fully characterized by scientists. This unknown fungal isolate might hold key roles in carbon and nitrogen cycling.

"The key to being a scientist is figuring out what information is useful and what is not."- Cheryl Kuske, Los Alamos microbiologist

“I have always enjoyed working on complex biological systems where easy answers are rare. The answers I seek require understanding the intricate and elusive interactions of the millions of microorganisms found in soils, sediments, and water,” says Los Alamos microbiologist Cheryl Kuske. “Today we are discovering more and more evidence about how these microbes impact everything from the balance within our bodies to that of the entire global environment. It’s the interactions and the interfaces between participants that hold the keys to this understanding.”