Microbes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly theater demonstration

  • Image
To avoid using antibiotics and harming your helpful bacterial residents, see how an engineered virus plays the part of nanomedicine sheriff to fight specific bacterial bandits during an infection. Participants assume the identities of good and bad bacteria of the body as well as the bacteriophage (called "phage" here forth) hero that helps to destroy the bad bacteria. The audience compares the bacteriophage leg molecules to the bacterial surface receptors to simulate the molecular recognition that promotes specific killing of bad bacteria by bacteriophage. The Facilitator narrates the process in order to guide the participants and explain the terminology and mechanism. Program Time: 15-20 minutes.


Big Idea

Can we engineer microbes to help us destroy disease cells?

Learning Goals

•There are good microbes and bad microbes in our bodies.
•Microbes are usually single-celled organisms that include bacteria and viruses. 
•Broad spectrum antibiotics harm good bacteria and bad bacteria in the body.
•Antibiotics cannot destroy viral infections but doctors often prescribe antibiotics anyway.
•The widespread use of antibiotics has resulted in the emergence of resistant bacteria that cannot be destroyed by common antibiotics.

Nano Content Map
Nanoscience, nanotechnology, and nanoengineering lead to new knowledge and innovations that weren't possible before.


Year created

Framing New Pathways to Medical Discovery for Families, Students and Teachers is made possible by Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Owning institution

Arizona Science Center


This linked product was created by another institution (not by the NISE Network). Contact owning institution regarding rights and permissions.