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As many of you know, I’ve been subjected to quite a bit of abuse and trolling for doing #scicomm during this pandemic. I want to tell you about one of the oddest things about me that seems to have become part of some conspiracy narrative. 1/n
So if you didn’t know, I’m a scientist & head up a research lab called the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab. We make nasty bacteria glow in the dark to try to find new antibiotics & understand more about how some bacteria spread between their hosts 2/n
The way we make our bacteria glow is by engineering them with the genes that naturally glowing creatures, like fireflies/lightening bugs, use to make light. We most commonly use the genes from glowing bacteria that live in the guts of microscopic worms 3/n
Given how many different creatures naturally glow, there are lots of different genes that code for the enzymes for making light. These enzymes are referred to as luciferases and the chemicals they act on to make light are called luciferin. 4/n
The fact I work with something called luciferase seems to have become part of a conspiracy, I’m guessing because of the Devil also being called Lucifer by some? 5/n
But here’s the thing. Luciferin & luciferase were coined from the Latin word lucifer which means light-bringer and was used to refer to Venus - the morning star - for how bright it looks in the morning. 6/n
Apparently, it was an interpretation of a similar term in the Hebrew Bible that was translated in the King James Version to “Lucifer" as a proper name that led to it being associated with the Devil and falls from heaven. And that seems to be proof to some people that I’m evil 7/n
Oh wait, I forgot the most important “evidence”... our work making the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB) was funded by the Gates Foundation. That ended in about 2013 or so but hey BILL GATES FUNDED LUCIFERASE WORK = clearly I’m evil apparently.
I find it both mind-boggling and very very sad that people can string together this kind of conspiracy out of someone who wants to try to find new medicines using an amazing natural phenomenon named by someone else years ago. So awful the kind of world they think we live in
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