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Lifelong Microbiologist turns to blogging
Vi at La Jolla Village resident Dr. Elio Schaechter keeps such a busy schedule, his friends have suggested he should un-retire. Back in his working days, Dr. Schaechter chaired the Department of of Molecular Biology and Microbiology at Tufts University for 23 years, all while researching in the lab, writing 11 textbooks, training Ph.D. students, and raising a family.

Today, he splits time between UCSD and San Diego State University where he lectures as an adjunct professor. In his time off campus, Dr. Schaechter enjoys studying wild mushrooms and hiking in the beautiful natural surroundings of La Jolla.

He also happens to run the premier microbiology blog on the Internet: Small Things Considered.

An Internet Star is Born

“I was thinking about writing a column, and the American Society of Microbiology told me they wanted a blog,” said Dr. Schaechter. “I said, ‘A blog? What’s that?’”

For someone who had never even seen a blog before, Dr. Schaechter developed a huge following through his thought-provoking and oftentimes whimsical posts.

“It gave me an exposure that I wasn’t expecting or looking for,” he said.

Small Things Considered has grown to host over 1,000 posts and has a team of associate bloggers to assist with writing.

It’s all a part of Dr. Schaechter’s mission to share the wonder that microbes bring to our lives.

“Microbes are essential for life. People think of bacteria as germs, but less than .001% of bacteria are dangerous. Half of all biological things on Earth are microbes. They are our peaceful fellow passengers on the spaceship of life.” 

Living in a Community

But microbes aren’t the only species Dr. Schaechter keenly understands.

“Humans were not designed to be by ourselves. We have an ancient, social need to be a part of a clan or a village or an extended social family,” he said.

Dr. Schaechter and his wife Edith moved to Vi at La Jolla Village in 2009 to be a part of a community.

“It takes a village to take care of an older person. It’s nice to have people notice that you are here. I love that I belong to something and have the feeling that I’m a part of something good.”