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Ebola’s ‘Fist’: U.Va. Unlocks How Deadly Virus Smashes Into Human Cells

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have discovered how the deadly Ebola virus punches its way into the cytoplasm of cells. The finding identifies an important target for blocking the infection process of this incurable disease that many fear may be used for bioterror.
... Read More

Sleeping sickness and tsetse flies

Although this blog focus mostly on bacteria, I do occasionally dip out of my comfort zone into other infectious elements such as viruses, prions and fungi. One topic that I haven’t covered nearly enough is the protozoan pathogens; the unicellular organisms that are not bacterial, but are respons... Read More

Oral cholera vaccine highly effective during outbreak in Guinea

An oral cholera vaccine protected individuals by 86 percent during a recent outbreak in Guinea, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

The study, conducted by Epicentre, research arm of the international medical humanitarian organization Médecins S... Read More

Delaying Vaccines Increases Risks—with No Added Benefits

Concerns about vaccine safety have led up to 40 percent of parents in the U.S. to delay or refuse some vaccines for their children in hopes of avoiding rare reactions. Barriers to health care access can also cause immunization delays. But delaying some vaccines, in addition to leaving children u... Read More

Retroviruses, the Placenta, and the Genomic Junk Drawer

By now, many of us are aware that a considerable portion (45% or more) of the human genome consists of transposable elements. These are mobile genetic sequences, such as Alu repeats and long and short interspersed nuclear elements (LINEs and SINEs). A whopping 18% of this so-called "dark matter ... Read More

Parvo Trial Shows Promising Results In Effort To Combat Puppy Virus

A North Dakota company that discovered an antibody technology while trying to cure flocks of dying geese is using its research for a more warm and fuzzy purpose: saving puppies.

Early tests performed on about 50 puppies in seven U.S. states for Grand Forks-based Avianax have resulted in a 90 ... Read More

Scientists find coronavirus inhibitor blocking MERS and SARS

A team of European scientists say they have discovered a compound that can prevent the spreading of coronaviruses, responsible for the SARS and MERS outbreaks that have killed about 1,000 people worldwide.

A team of scientists led by Edward Trybala from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden,... Read More

Stanford University Bioengineer Creates Organic Microbe-Powered Video Games

Bioengineer Ingmar Riedel-Kruse of Stanford University has created a series of games where players control organic microbes.

The games, which you can see showcased in the video below, places a collection of single-celled protozoans called paramecia in a thumbnail-sized chamber with electrode-... Read More

TWiV 287: A potentially pandemic podcast

Matt updates the TWiV team on MERS-coronavirus, and joins in a discussion of whether we should further regulate research on potentially pandemic pathogens.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello Read More

Nothing to Sneeze At

Although we all know that sneezes and coughs transmit infections, little research had been done to model how they work. To address this knowledge gap, Lydia Bourouiba and John Bush of MIT’s Applied Mathematics Lab used high speed cameras and fluid mechanics to reveal why we’ve grossly underestim... Read More

Are Microbes Winning the Antibiotic Arms Race?

Eighty-six years after the discovery of penicillin, docs are running out of antibiotics to treat serious infections like Clostridium difficile and gonorrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the same time, the discovery of new "wonder drugs" has slowed, and microbi... Read More

New coronavirus inhibitor exhibits antiviral activity by blocking viral hijacking of host

Since the SARS epidemic in 2003, coronaviruses have been on the watch list for emerging pathogens, and the ongoing outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) confirmed that they represent a serious threat. No specific drugs exist against coronaviruses so far, but a new a... Read More

The crab-castrating parasite that zombifies its prey

Meet Sacculina carcini – a barnacle that makes a living as a real-life body-snatcher of crabs. Unlike most barnacles that are happy to simply stick themselves to a rock and filter food from the water, Sacculina and its kin have evolved to be parasitic, and they are horrifyingly good at it.

Th... Read More

A Gaming System Starring... Microbes

Videogames may seem like the last place for fruitful work in biotechnology, but Stanford University bioengineer Ingmar Riedel-Kruse has reinvented 1980s classics to enlist living microbes. His custom electronics and augmented-reality software coax microorganisms to play key roles in Pac-Man, Bri... Read More

HIV Can Cut and Paste in the Human Genome

Aarhus University has developed a technology that uses the HIV virus as a tool in the fight against hereditary diseases - and in the long term, against HIV infection as well. The technology repairs the genome in a new and safer manner.

For the first time researchers have succeeded in altering... Read More

Ultra-violet Light Works as Screening Tool for Bats with White-nose Syndrome

Scientists working to understand the devastating bat disease known as white-nose syndrome (WNS) now have a new, non-lethal tool to identify bats with WNS lesions —ultraviolet, or UV, light.

If long-wave UV light is directed at the wings of bats with white-nose syndrome, it produces a distinct... Read More

Amber discovery indicates Lyme disease is older than human race

Lyme disease is a stealthy, often misdiagnosed disease that was only recognized about 40 years ago, but new discoveries of ticks fossilized in amber show that the bacteria which cause it may have been lurking around for 15 million years – long before any humans walked on Earth.

The findings w... Read More

TWiM #79: A community of microbiologists

Hosts: Vincent RacanielloMichael Schmidt, and Read More

TWiM 79 Letters

Matthew writes:


Dear Doctors,


After listening to the second portion of TWiM 78, talking about the presence of gram-negative nosocomials around Brooklyn, I noticed a several people wearing scrubs while at lunch near a hospital in Houston, TX. Then a thought occ... Read More

Sneaky bacteria change key protein’s shape to escape detection

Every once in a while in the U.S., bacterial meningitis seems to crop up out of nowhere, claiming a young life. Part of the disease’s danger is the ability of the bacteria to evade the body’s immune system, but scientists are now figuring out how the pathogen hides in plain sight. Their findings... Read More

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