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The Art in Science

Product Image The Invaders

The Invaders

Michele Swanson, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School

White blood cells protect our lungs from infection by efficiently ingesting, killing, and digesting most microbes that we inhale. However, the bacterium known as Legionella pneumophila (stained red) survives and replicates within white blood cells (DNA stained blue and cytoskeletal network stained green). The pathogen's name emphasizes its discovery after a fatal outbreak of pneumonia at a gathering of Legionnaires in Philadelphia in the USA bicentennial year 1976: "Legionella" from Legionnaire; "pneumo" meaning lung; "phila" meaning love.