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TWiM #80: Hurling fleas and designer chromosomes

Hosts: Vincent RacanielloElio Schaechter, and Michele Swanson Read More

TWiM 80 Letters

Bob writes:


Dear TWIM hosts,


I enjoyed episode 76, "Genetic biopixels and a pathogenic sweet tooth". I really enjoyed hearing about the course that Dr. Schaechter teaches and in particular the work his students did in developing the biosensor. I would like to ... Read More

MWV Episode 86 - The Microbiology of Cheese

Have you ever wondered why mozzarella bubbling and stretching between pizza slices is so different from the earthy flavors of blue-veined gorgonzola? The diversity of cheeses we love are created by encouraging and manipulating the growth of specific microbes. The American Socie... Read More

The Spotty History of Chicken Pox

For its extreme antiquity the virus that causes chicken pox, it has a surprising sparse documented history. The earliest clear reference to the virus is actually to an emergence of its latent form as shingles, also called zoster. The ancient Greeks called it zoster after word for girdle, while ... Read More

Penn Research Develops ‘Onion’ Vesicles for Drug Delivery

One of the defining features of cells is their membranes. Each cell’s repository of DNA and protein-making machinery must be kept stable and secure from invaders and toxins. Scientists have attempted to replicate these properties, but, despite decades of research, even the most basic membrane st... Read More

Malaria: Blood cells behaving badly

New insight into how malaria parasites perturb flow, turning infected cells into sticky capillary cloggers, may lead to new and better treatments. All the billions of flat, biconcave disks in our body known as red blood cells (or erythrocytes) make three basic, tumbling-treadmill-type motions wh... Read More

Tiny microbes = big dollars

Gold!! Gold in them thar microbes . . . Read More

Malaria-carrying mosquitoes wiped out in lab with genetic method that creates male-only offspring

Scientists have modified mosquitoes to produce sperm that will only create males, pioneering a fresh approach to eradicating malaria. Since 2000, increased prevention and control measures have reduced global malaria mortality rates by 42 per cent, but the disease remains a prevalent killer espec... Read More

Herpes infected humans before they were human

Researchers have identified the evolutionary origins of human herpes simplex virus (HSV) -1 and -2, reporting that the former infected hominids before their evolutionary split from chimpanzees 6 million years ago while the latter jumped from ancient chimpanzees to ancestors of modern humans -- H... Read More

"Life: Magnified" Online - A Web companion to the 2014 exhibit at Washington Dulles International Airport

Life: Magnified is an exhibit of scientific images showing cells and other scenes of life magnified by as much as 50,000 times. The exhibit is on display at Washington Dulles International Airport's Gateway Gallery from June through November 2014.

Here we feature high-resolution versions of a... Read More

The Irish Rugby Team has Exceptional Guts

Scientists in Cork carried out a study in conjunction with the Irish Rugby Football Union which revealed that exercise and associated dietary changes influence gut microbial diversity.

The scientists at the Science Foundation Ireland-funded Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) at University C... Read More

Antibiotic Resistance Revitalizes Century-Old Virus Therapy

The use of viruses that kill bacteria as a tool for treating infections are under study again by Western researchers and governments.

For decades, patients behind the Iron Curtain were denied access to some of the best antibiotics developed in the West. To make do, the Soviet Union invested h... Read More

Bacteria help explain why stress, fear trigger heart attacks (press release)

Scientists believe they have an explanation for the axiom that stress, emotional shock, or overexertion may trigger heart attacks in vulnerable people. Hormones released during these events appear to cause bacterial biofilms on arterial walls to disperse, allowing plaque deposits to rupture into... Read More

Herpesviruses undercover: How the virus goes undetected by body's immune system

Pathogens entering our body only remain unnoticed for a short period. Within minutes our immune cells detect the invader and trigger an immune response. However, some viruses have developed strategies to avoid detection and elimination by our immune system. Researchers have now been able to show... Read More

Small-scale badger culls may boost spread of cattle TB

Scientists say that culling a small number of badgers risks increasing the spread of TB infection to cattle.

The research suggests that some farmers who have allegedly killed badgers on their property could be making things worse for themselves and neighbours.

The findings also indicate th... Read More

The Microbiology of Cheese - Live June 10 at ASM Headquarters

Have you ever wondered why mozzarella bubbling and stretching between pizza slices is so different from the earthy flavors of blue-veined gorgonzola? The diversity of cheeses we love are created by encouraging and manipulating the growth of specific microbes. The American Socie... Read More

BacterioFiles 169 - Microbes Meddle with Mesophilic Malaria

This episode: Ambient temperature seems to affect how much insect bacteria can interfere with transmission of malaria!


(7.85 MB, 8.5 minutes)


Show notes: 
... Read More

Unhooking the Hookworm, a Successful Public Health Awareness Video from 1920

This educational drama was created by the International Health Board (later the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation) in order to teach Southern rural communities in the United States about hookworm. Shown at fairs and other public events, "Unhooking the Hookworm" provides... Read More

Why Some Civil War Soldiers Glowed in the Dark

Several wounded Battle of Shiloh soldiers sat in the mud for two rainy days and nights waiting for the medics. As dusk fell the first night, some of them noticed something very strange: their wounds were glowing, casting a faint light into the darkness of the battlefield. Even stranger, when the... Read More

New methods for fecal source tracking in Norwegian water catchments

The Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, Bioforsk, has tested and implemented a set of methods for the detection of fecal pollution in Norwegian watercourses. The methods, which combine microbial and molecular biological techniques, can give answers as to whether the ... Read More

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