Beveridge, Terrance J. (1945- )

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Beveridge, Terrance J. (1945- )

Canadian microbiologist

Terrance (Terry) J. Beveridge has fundamentally contributed to the understanding of the structure and function of bacteria .

Beveridge was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His early schooling was also in that city. He graduated with a B.Sc. from the University of Toronto in 1968, a Dip. Bact. in 1969, and an M.Sc. in oral microbiology in 1970. Intending to become a dentist, he was drawn to biological research instead. This interest led him to the University of Western Ontario laboratory of Dr. Robert Murray , where he completed his Ph.D. dissertation in 1974.

His Ph.D. research focused on the use of various techniques to probe the structure of bacteria. In particular, he developed an expertise in electron microscopy. His research interest in the molecular structure of bacteria was carried on in his appointment as an Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph in 1975. He became an Associate Professor in 1983 and a tenured Professor in 1986. He has remained at the University of Guelph to the present day.

Beveridge's interest in bacterial ultrastructure had led to many achievements. He and his numerous students and research colleagues pioneered the study of the binding of metals by bacteria, and showed how these metals function to cement components of the cell wall of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria together. Bacteria were shown to be capable of precipitating metals from solution, producing what he termed microfossils. Indeed, Beveridge and others have discovered similar appearing microfossils in rock that is millions of years old. Such bacteria are now thought to have played a major role in the development of conditions suitable for the explosive diversity of life on Earth.

In 1981, Beveridge became Director of a Guelph-based electron microscopy research facility. Using techniques including scanning tunneling microscopy, atomic force microscopy and confocal microscopy, the molecular nature of regularly-structured protein layers on a number of bacterial species have been detailed. Knowledge of the structure is allowing strategies to overcome the layer's role as a barrier to antibacterial compounds. In another accomplishment, the design and use of metallic probes allowed Beveridge to deduce the actual mechanism of operation of the Gram stain. The mechanism of the stain technique, of bedrock importance to microbiology, had not been known since the development of the stain in the nineteenth century.

In the 1980s, in collaboration with Richard Blakemore's laboratory, used electron microscopy to reveal the structure, arrangement and growth of the magnetically-responsive particles in Aquaspirillum magnetotacticum. In the past decade, Beveridge has discovered how bacterial life manages to survive in a habitat devoid of oxygen, located in the Earth's crust miles beneath the surface. These discoveries have broadened human knowledge of the diversity of life on the planet.

Another accomplishment of note has been the finding that portions of the bacterial cell wall that are spontaneously released can be used to package antibiotics and deliver them to the bacteria. This novel means of killing bacteria shows great potential in the treatment of bacterial infections.

These and other accomplishment have earned Beveridge numerous awards. In particular, he received the Steacie Award in 1984, an award given in recognition of outstanding fundamental research by a researcher in Canada, and the Culling Medal from the National Society of Histotechnology in 2001.

See also Bacterial ultrastructure; Electron microscope examination of microorganisms; Magnetotactic bacteria

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Beveridge, Terrance J. (1945- )

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