Bacterial girl

I like writing song parodies, and I guess you could say Bonnie Bassler at Princeton University, who is known for her work on quorum sensing in bacteria, and Madonna were the muses for this one. I had just read one of Bassler’s review articles, and an image from Madonna’s “Material Girl” video came to mind (you know, when she’s channeling Marilyn Monroe and the men in tuxes are all over her). Then the words just wrote themselves.

Some bugs on me, some bugs in me
I think they are swell
If they just make me vitamin K
I won’t take a pill

Bonnie Bassler

They’re in poop and even pee
But some won’t see the light (that’s right)
’Cause they’re bugs that “colon”ize
In anaerobic night, ’cause we are

Living in a bacterial world
And I am a bacterial girl
You know that we are living in a bacterial world
And I am a bacterial girl

Some bugs romance, some bugs slow dance
That’s all right with me
If they can kick the bad ones out, I’ll
Surely let them be

Some commensal and some mutual
I just let them play (all day)
’Cause those critters outnumber me
And can make me pay, ’cause they are

Living in a bacterial world
And I am a bacterial girl
You know that we are living in a bacterial world
And I am a bacterial girl

Living in a bacterial world (bacterial)
Living in a bacterial world

Bugs may come and bugs may go
And that’s all right, you see
Symbiosis made us rich, now
They’re all over me, ’cause everybody’s

Living in a bacterial world
And I am a bacterial girl
You know that we are living in a bacterial world
And I am a bacterial girl

A bacterial, a bacterial, a bacterial, a bacterial world

Living in a bacterial world (bacterial)
Living in a bacterial world

Manju Hingorani Manju Hingorani is a professor at Wesleyan University, where her research group studies DNA repair. She is also a program director at the National Science Foundation.