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The fungi that ate my house

moldy house
Credit: Robert Neubecker

Ten years ago, I was a professor of cell and molecular biology at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. I was riding high on a series of recent academic honors for my work studying toxigenic molds and was looking forward to spending a sabbatical leave at The Institute for Genomic Research, now the J. Craig Venter Institute, in Maryland. Then, in August 2005, just a few weeks before I was to leave on sabbatical, Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed my university and my city. The storm upended my comfortable life and unexpectedly sent me down a new research trajectory. (You can read more at Science.)

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