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TWiP 43: Two remarkable host-parasite conflicts

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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Dickson Despommier


Vincent and Dickson... Read More

When Good Bugs Go Bad: Microbiome Dynamics and Disease

The human microbiome consists of thousands of viral and microbial species which inhabit the human body and have co-evolved with us to protect against pathogens, regulate organ function and supply nutrients and other factors essential for health. When these members fall out of balance, it can le... Read More

One Health: Humans, Animals and the Environment

The health of humans, animals, and the environment are inextricably interconnected. Disruption of the environment often creates new niches for the evolution of infectious diseases, and provides opportunities for the transmission of pathogens to animals or humans. The majority of infectious disea... Read More

TWiM 34 Letters

Peter writes:

Dear TWiM Team


I see that some action is now being taken in America against the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics as livestock growth promoters:


Read More

The Black Queen Hypothesis: how microbes lose a necessary function and survive to tell the tale

Pared down genomes are the norm in symbiotic microbes, but how do non-symbionts get away with cutting out functions it would appear that they need? The authors of an Opinion piece in mBio this week explain their ideas about the matter. They say microbes that shed necessary functions may well be ... Read More

Millions of germs fly when you enter the room

A person’s mere presence in a room can add 37 million bacteria to the air every hour, a new study finds.

The bacterial material is largely left behind by previous occupants and stirred up from the floor when someone enters.

“We live in this microbial soup, and a big ingredient is our own m... Read More

TWiV 188: Haggis, single malt, and viruses

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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Read More

Human Microbiome Journal Club: The Pros of Probiotics

We’ve all heard the claims of probiotic yogurts and their benefits for human health, but aside from improving our belly dancing skills, what exactly are probiotic bacteria doing?

An elegant study from the Jeffrey Gordon lab explored the effects of consuming fermented milk products (FMPs) cont... Read More

Food borne bacteria sickens 8 in Illinois, 93 nationwide

Food safety officials are investigating whether raw fish in sushi and other foods is responsible for a multi-state Salmonella outbreak that has sickened eight people in Illinois.

So far, no deaths have been connected to the strain of the bacteria, which has sent 10 people to the hospital and ... Read More

A viral mashup in snakes

If you know anything about snakes you might be familiar with snake inclusion body disease, or IBD. This transmissible and fatal disease affects snakes of a variety of species but has been best studied in boas. The name comes from the presence of large masses (inclusions) in the cytoplasm of cell... Read More

Microbes Go Rafting on Floating Volcanic Rocks

Volcanoes bring death and destruction, but out of the ashes life soon finds fertile ground. A unique experiment is sifting through floating debris from an ongoing volcanic event to see how microbes move in. The results may help in assessing a recent hypothesis that the first life forms may have ... Read More

TWiM 36 Letters

Todd writes:

Just a quick note to say how much I enjoy TWiM, and in particular, how much I enjoyed episode 32 featuring Rosie Redfield. I don't know how you find time to do this, but I'm gl... Read More

A confocal micrograph of an intestinal biopsy from a child infected with shiga toxin-producing E. coli.

Shiga toxin is an extremely potent toxin that is produced when the bacterium contains a bacteriophage carrying the toxin gene. It is closely linked with Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome and acute renal failure in children. After ingestion via contaminated food or water the E. coli bacteria colonize t... Read More

Jekyll and Hyde bacteria aids or kills, depending on chance

Living in the guts of worms are seemingly innocuous bacteria that contribute to their survival. With a flip of a switch, however, these same bacteria transform from harmless microbes into deadly insecticides.

In the current issue of Science, Michigan State University researchers led a study t... Read More

E. coli: can subtractive reverse vaccinology help design a vaccine?

Escherichia coli is no stranger to the human body. In around 20% of us, E. coli is the predominant species in our gastrointestinal tract, where it lives as a commensal. But when E. coli gets out of hand it can cause anything from gastroenteritis to sepsis to urinary tract infections. It's those ... Read More

Small Comfort: Nanomedicine Able to Penetrate Bodily Defenses

Researchers use stealthy nanoscale particles to infiltrate vaginal mucus and keep herpes at bay in mice.

Tears and a runny nose can be unpleasant on a windy day, but these mucosal secretions play a vital role in protecting the body from viruses and other malicious microbes. Unfortunately, muc... Read More

Study upholds immune system’s role in autism

Changes in an overactive immune system can contribute to autism-like behaviors in mice, new research shows.

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) pioneered the study of the link between irregularities in the immune system and neurodevelopmental disorders such as auti... Read More

Tending the Body’s Microbial Garden

For a century, doctors have waged war against bacteria, using antibiotics as their weapons. But that relationship is changing as scientists become more familiar with the 100 trillion microbes that call us home — collectively known as the microbiome.

“I would like to lose the language of warfa... Read More

Meningitis Vaccine Being Developed From Common Cold Virus

A leading cause for meningitis and septicemia in the UK is meningococcus B (MenB) bacterium infection. Healthy children can become severely ill within just a few hours if they contract meningitis or septicemia, as both illnesses develop randomly and with alarming speed. It often occurs in babies... Read More

Slow-Motion Microbes Still Living off Dino-era "Lunch Box"

Buried under the seafloor for 86 million years, a bacterial community lives so slowly it's still surviving on a "lunch box" from dinosaur days, a new study says. (See marine-microbe pictures.)

It's been known since the 1990s that microbes can live trapped in ocean sediments for millions of ye... Read More
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