In medical school I did not like the course on Microbiology. But then, unexpectedly, I had to teach Microbiology to students in a community college. The challenge was enormous. But my confidence was even greater. Also, my memory. An additional help came from my having kept track of what was going on in medicine and the associated disciplines during the 20 years I was out of the field.

Microbiology is by far not as fascinating as morphology, yet, if you approach it from a morphological perspective, it can be actually seen as the anatomy of the prokaryotic organisms. Extending the inseparability of structure and function helps understand their function and their parasitic behavior.

I have found no better proof of evolution than the principle of continuity: the same fundamental structures and functions—ATP, DNA, membranes, receptors, secretion, and contraction—underlie life regardless of the organism’s size and complexity. Like art, which is always a kind of framed (or extracted, if you will) reality, a biological entity is individual form of life extracted (on a temporary basis) from the continuum of life on this planet; and maybe not only on it.

I taught microbiology in a rather hostile environment. My students were kids who had poor high school education and had no clue how to study. Their instinct led them to dismissing the teacher on the basis of him being a foreigner. Only few of them were really motivated to learn. The majority expected to get the pass grade (or even an undeserved high grade). They met with my determination to bring them to the standards of learning I deem required for anyone who wants to climb the lather of special education. The final result was that the proportion of students who understood correctly my effort and expressed their gratitude grew throughout each class and throughout my three-year tenure.

On my part, I learned that Microbiology has great practical implications for public health and medicine. Those implications are underestimated in this country to a certain degree, and that is part of the reason why the so called “best medicine in the world” does not provide the expected results.

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