ESP Biography



COLIN BARBER, Cornell sophomore in love with microbiology




Major: Microbiology

College/Employer: Cornell

Year of Graduation: 2017

Picture of Colin Barber

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I am a sophomore at Cornell studying biology with a concentration in microbiology. I am very active in the science community at Cornell. Among other things, I am a TA for BIOMI 2911 General Microbiology Lab, on the executive board for both Science Olympiad at Cornell and the Cornell University Microbiology Initiative, and I do research in a plant pathology lab. My chief interests are microbial ecology, microbe-host interactions, and anaerobic metabolism. I am a self-proclaimed nerd and I encourage you to tell me your favorite prokaryotic genus. Mine is Shewanella, with Deinococcus coming in at a close second.

If you have any questions, please e-mail me at ccb225@cornell.edu!



Past Classes

  (Look at the class archive for more.)


Extremophiles in Splash Fall 2016
4 billion years of evolution have allowed microbes to penetrate every environment on Earth, ranging from deep sea thermal vents where temperatures reach beyond the sea level boiling point of water to the thin upper atmosphere to acidic drainage sites where the pH can reach below 0. In this course, we'll survey how organisms can survive extremes of temperature, pH, radiation, and pressure, how we study them in the first place, and ponder what this all means in the search for life elsewhere in our solar system.


The Poor Man's Guide to Astrobiology in Splash Spring 2016
What might the first alien life we encounter look like? Why haven't we encountered intelligent alien life? What might life here on Earth tell us about life elsewhere? We'll be exploring these questions and more in a fun, highly dynamic, discussion-style setting. Find out what modern scientists believe might be lurking in the darkest corners of outer space!


The Bugs Within: Bacteria of Your Gut in Splash Fall 2015
It has been estimated that the number of bacteria in and around the human body outnumbers human cells by an order of magnitude. The majority of these bacteria live in the human gut, where they form a complex ecosystem with enormous ramifications for human health. In fact, a large portion of clinical microbiology research today is dedicated to finding out how this ecosystem within our bodies functions. In this course, we will explore the diversity of bacteria found in the human "microbiome", find out what they do, and discover how they impact human health.


RNA and the Dawn of Life in Splash Spring 2015
The origin of life remains an unsolved mystery, one that has captivated the minds of theologians, chemists, and biologists for centuries. Although Darwin provided a mechanism for life to change and transform, one essential question remains: How did it all begin? This course seeks to address that question by exploring the evidence for and against the RNA world, today's most widely-accepted explanation for the origin of life among the scientific community.