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The Life Scientific

244 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4Website

Professor Jim Al-Khalili talks to leading scientists about their life and work, finding out what inspires them and asking what their discoveries might do for us in the future.

27:52

Liz Sockett on friendly killer bacteria

Professor Liz Sockett studies an extraordinary group of predatory bacteria. Bdellovibrio may be small but they kill other bacteria with ingenious and ruthless efficiency.

Liz has devoted the last fifteen years of her career as a microbiologist to work out how this microscopic killer invades and consumes its victims - victims which include a host of disease-causing bacteria which have also acquired resistance to antibiotics which once killed them.

As well as studying the numerous tricks and weapons which Bdellovibrio have evolved to despatch and feed on other bugs, Prof Sockett's lab at the University of Nottingham is also testing the bacteria's potential as a new kind of treatment in the era of antibiotic resistance. Deadly infections may not be able to outwit this bacterial top predator in the way they have with ever increasing numbers of antibiotic drugs.

Liz talks to Jim Al-Khalili about how a BBC TV children's show first introduced her to the superfast killer bacteria, how Roman villas led her towards a life of discovery,
and how her lab in Nottingham might be compared to the kitchen of a restaurant and her team to a brigade of chefs.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker.

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