Studying Can be Fun – Microbiology and Pokemon

Eventually at one point, memorizing large amounts of information becomes tedious. In my current case, studying dozens of infectious diseases can be quite boring. Learning about different bugs and their structural make-up, virulence mechanisms, mode of transmission, clinical presentations, diagnostic methods, treatment and prevention can soon become mindless.

A few weeks ago I browsing around in a bookstore when I stumbled upon a Pokemon picture book in the children’s section. Having been an avid player back in the day, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the book that I could still identify most of the creatures. Not only that, I could also recall their characteristics, special attacks, locations of capture and weaknesses. This got my brain thinking. Learning and memorizing doesn’t have to be boring, it can be fun.  If you have the interest and time commitment, recognizing bacteria can be very much like recognizing pokemon. So I have created a table below (strictly for academic reasons of course!) contrasting a bacteria and a pokemon, to show that studying can sometimes be fun and silly too.

Shigella Pikachu
Species Invasive Gut Bacteria Mouse Pokemon
Type Gram-negative, Non-spore forming, Rod shaped Electric
Physical Description No distinct nucleus, lacks internal structures Short, chubby, ground dwelling rodent. Yellow fur with brown stripes on back and black-tipped ears. A tail resembling a lightning bolt.
Related Species / Strains S. DysenteriaeS. flexneri, S. boydiiS. sonnei PichuRaichu
Endemic Locations Confined populations, Refugee camps, Developing countries Viridian Forest, Power Plants
Habitat Found in unhygienic environments, fecal contaminated areas Found mostly in forests, though due to of attraction to electricity, seen in civilized areas too
Risk Factors / Groups Contaminated food, immunocompromised, HIV/AIDS, weak gut Flying and Water Type Pokemon are high risk groups
Mode of Transmission Oral-fecal Pokeball, herd movement
Pathogenesis Stationary growth phase to avoid stomach acid, Entry into M cells and lamina propria of intestine Evolves from Pichu. Can invade homes, harmful pests around wires and electronics
Toxins / Abilities / Virulence Factors IcsA (intracellular spread protein)

Shiga Toxin

Tail Whip

Quick Attack




Clinical Symptoms Bloody diarrhea with mucus & pus, fever, nausea, vomiting, cramps, bowel movement, seizures, coma, reactive arthiritis Most common symptom, lightning has a chance of causing paralysis. Burnt grass and objects, as result of electric discharge.
Diagnosis WBC in StoolStool Culture for Shigella Pokedex
Treatment Amoxicillin. Fluoroquinolones (cipro), TMP / SMX, rehydration Ground based attacks are super effective (eg Earthquake, Dig, Fissure)
Resistance Some antibiotic resistance with genetic mutations. Resistant to electric, flying and steel attacks.
Prevention Hand washing, proper cooking of food Proper use of pokeballs, frequent discharge of electric cheeks

I’m sure you can see how these two areas of study can overlap significantly. The possibilities are up to you. Make learning and studying fun. Always try to look at old things in a new way.

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26 Responses to Studying Can be Fun – Microbiology and Pokemon

  1. Joshua says:

    Even with this nice comparison, I’d still find it very hard to memorize the bacteria info. and anything else like this!

    One of the reasons why Pokemon stuff is so easy to remember was because it was all part of a vivid storyline, that you essentially “lived” while playing the game. It is much easier to remember ideas, facts or concepts you can associate with vivid images and experiences. I can remember Pokemon stuff just as easily as I can remember many of my elementary school memories.

    I’m not sure how I can do anything similar while learning about bacteria or other dryish sort of information…

  2. medaholic says:

    Luckily, there’s clinical years. Where all the bacteria (like pokemon) finally become part of a story, the patient’s story. Without clinical years, doctors would know nothing.

  3. Maya Brooks says:

    Pokemons are so cute, i kind of love all of them.-:’

  4. Pikachu is the cutest and my favortie among the Pokemons.`”

  5. Sofia Singh says:

    Pikachu is really the cutest pokemon.`..

  6. Austin Cook says:

    pikachu is the most adobrable of all the pokemons-~;

  7. the Pokemons are very cute! i love all the cute pocket monsters;~”

  8. when i hear the word Pokemon, Pikachu always comes up to my mind-‘-

  9. Pokemons are very very cute, i would really love to keep one of them in our home *’,

  10. Just a traveler says:

    Maybe someone should make a Microbiology version of the Pokémon game ahah
    Although it would be somewhat disturbing fighting bacteria with the sole purpose of wanting to catch them all…

  11. Curt Thor says:

    Just wish to say your article is as surprising. The clearness in your post is simply great and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the rewarding work.

  12. ah the days of Pokeman…and then after that was chaotics…then yugio…my kids must have a thousand of these cards : )

    Running Coach

  13. Ted says:

    It was a good story years ago and it’s still a great story.

  14. Aldrich says:

    Outstanding site. Plenty of helpful info in this article. I’m mailing it to a few friends ans also spreading in delicious. Of course, good sweat!

  15. Brigham says:

    This is just the kind of detail I was hunting for. I wish I’d discovered your web site earlier.

  16. Baron says:

    I sort of found your blog by mistake, but your blog captured attention i thought that I’d post tell you that I really like it.

  17. Tobias says:

    This is a very refreshing approach to memorization. It is also true the we can memorize information effectively when it is done for the purpose of enjoyment and competition such as playing games. Your article will really be a great idea for microbiology students out there.

  18. chloe says:

    This is so fun! i actually love microbiology and evaluating the characteristics of different microorganism is a really exciting part for me. When you are in the laboratory and you grow different species, i find it really amusing seeing different colors and sheen, shapes and colonies of the microbes. this may sound a little off but it is really cool for me. associating study of microbiology with pokemon makes the learning stage more fun and interesting. Great post!

  19. beats headphones says:

    That is Wonderful! Thanks.

  20. Mr. Snoop Eastwood says:

    Love it. However, as a PokeNazi, I must nitpick at the details.

    In terms of the ground-type attacks you list, Earthquake and Dig are great. Fissure, though, while it is indeed a ground type attack, is not considered super effective against anything as it is a 1-hit KO move. When it hits, it kills, regardless of type, and you may notice as well that the classic “Its Super Effective!” statement will not come up if it is successfully used against an electric type, in the case of Fissure.

    That is all 🙂

  21. Cirila says:

    This proves that everyone loves pokemon. As saying goes ‘Got to love them All, Pokemon’ So cute and so funny! Thanks for sharing this one guys!

  22. ENVELOPE MAN says:

    Great article! Thank you so much for sharing! I’m very glad to have stumbled upon this today!

  23. Wonderful site. Plenty of helpful info here. I’m sending it to a few buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks in your effort!

  24. ken wilko says:

    this is a great way to suggest the power of assoication, this is what we learned at kindergarden and then at school but the thing is teachers dont tell you that, or they did not tell me anyway, i learnt it through reading other book such as tony buzan mind mapping,this is also about association and does not let your brain go to sleep, ….in a sentance association rocks when it comes to remembering things….anyhing.

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