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UNI professor works to save lives

February 1, 2012

Michael Walter, associate professor, biology, 319-273-6490,

Stacey Christensen, University Relations, 319-273-6728,


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Michael Walter, a biology professor at the University of Northern Iowa, is giving UNI students some real world lab experience that could save lives.

Walter, along with UNI undergraduate students, has developed an instrument that detects deadly spores through their work with bacteriophages, a group of viruses that can infect bacteria. Walter and the students discovered that they could use bacteriophages to trap safe strain spores in an electronic instrument. This allows spore detection and helps defend against bio-terrorism attacks.

"These viruses are the most abundant form of life on the planet, viruses that infect bacteria that can kill you," Walter said. "I do work that detects bio-agents that make you sick."

For more information on Walter's research, contact him at 319-273-6490 or