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Germ Gems is a weekly blog posted by Dr. Phillip K. Peterson, MD - an infectious diseases expert and professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Minnesota. It’s for anyone interested in what’s new in the microbial world - especially people with no medical training.


Microbes - also known as germs and microorganisms - are essential to human health. But some microbes can sicken or kill us.


A day doesn’t go by without the appearance of some newsworthy development involving microbes. You’ll read about some of these here.


Many of the stories you’ll read are about pathogens, germs that cause disease. Others relate to microbes that contribute to human health. Some involve the human microbiome - germs that share our body surfaces.


Welcome to the microbial world.

Now Available!  MICROBES: The Life-Changing Story of Germs (Prometheus, June 2020). This book tells the history of Microbes and how they are actually "our intimate friends and mortal enemies" and is now available! Order from Amazon here!    

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Phillip K. Peterson, M.D. is professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he served as an infectious diseases specialist for four decades. He is a former director of the Infectious Diseases and International Medicine Division in the Department of Medicine. He is a fellow of the American College of Medicine and of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. In 2008 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Medicine from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and in 2011 received the Gold Award for Distinguished Achievement in Research by his alma mater, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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