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Policy On High-Risk Biological Research Tightened

The Obama administration has announced a new policy to handle the risks posed by legitimate biological research that could, in the wrong hands, threaten the public.

The move comes in response to a huge debate over recent experiments on bird flu virus that got funding from the National Institu... 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

Washington Post Kids: Ever wondered if there’s good bacteria?

As a pediatrician, I spend a lot of time looking for bacteria that might be making my patients sick. Some well-known illnesses that are caused by bacteria include strep throat, ear infections, Lyme disease and conjunctivitis (pinkeye). Bacteria are also responsible for acne, cavities and body od... Read More

The Microbiology of Speciation

The fields of microbial symbiosis and speciation have achieved astonishing advances during the past two decades, yet symbiosis and speciation are not commonly discussed together and can seem to be odd partners in their capacity to operate synergistically in nature. Indeed, microbial symbiosis is... Read More

Knight Science Journalism Tracker review of TWiM Episode 32 with Rosie Redfield

"Take a listen to four very savvy and plain-talking biologists chatting on their business at an inside-the-academy site called This Week in Microbiology, and more specifically at episode TWiM 32. There host and Columbia U. faculty member Vincent Racaniello and two colleagues talk of arsenic and ... Read More

Serratia marcescens on a DNA plate

Serratia marcescens streaked on a DNA plate and incubated for 48 hours at room temperature. Read More

TWiV 177 Letters

John writes:


Dear TWIVvers,


In TWIV 173, you talked about a study on antibody levels to bird flu (H5N1) in various populations, and related this to infections that don't cause serious enough illness to send someone to the hospital, or perhaps to get them teste... Read More

Cyanobacterium demonstrates promise for biotechnology feedstock production

Harvard Medical School researchers have engineered a photosynthetic cyanobacterium to boost sugar production, as a first step towards potential commercial production of biofuels and other biotechnologically and industrially useful carbon compounds. As feedstock producers, cyanobacteria have adva... 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

TWiP 35 Letters

Trudy writes:


The more I listen to your fantastic podcasts, the more I love them. wO0t. I am the Naples, Fl nurse/artist who has written before.


Because I did get the pleasure of tracking reportable diseases and conditions in Florida, I was ... Read More

A mad cow in America

A dairy cow in California is the fourth known American case of mad cow disease, which is caused by prions, infectious agents composed only of protein (the story hit the press the day after my lecture on this type of illness). Unlike viruses, prions have no nucleic acid and no protective coat. Bu... Read More

Fermented Fashion via @wabibitotweets @phylogenomics

The Micro'be' project by contemporary textile artist and lecturer Donna Franklin, and scientist Gary Cass, explores fashion and technology's newest frontier: garments made from the bacterial fermentation of wine and beer.

The project's eureka moment came about through a vat of Australian red... Read More

My virology course at Columbia University

The third annual installment of my virology course at Columbia University, Biology W3310, has begun, and all the lectures will be available online. Read More

Intestinal artillery launches anti-bacterial attack

The epithelial cells that line the intestines fire bacteria-fighting “bullets” into the gut, Vanderbilt University researchers have discovered.

The findings, featured on the cover of the April 10 issue of Current Biology, represent a new mechanism for defending the body against gut microbes.
... Read More

Copy of the genetic makeup travels in a protein suitcase

Scientists from the Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Bonn have succeeded for the first time in the real time filming of the transport of an important information carrier in biological cells that is practically unmodified. This paper has now been published in ... Read More

Computer-Designed Proteins Programmed to Disarm Variety of Flu Viruses

Computer-designed proteins are under construction to fight the flu. Researchers are demonstrating that proteins found in nature, but that do not normally bind the flu, can be engineered to act as broad-spectrum antiviral agents against a variety of flu virus strains, including H1N1 pandemic infl... Read More

Totally Drug-Resistant TB: A Patient Is Missing

There was a lot of interest in in TDR-TB Friday; both the Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC and Science Friday kindly asked me to be on to talk about it.

While I was waiting for the phone link to Science Friday to become live, an alarming bulletin arrived in my email. The early-warning list ProME... Read More

Titan's tides reveal hidden ocean that could host life

Alien hunters take note: a global water ocean potentially bigger than all those on Earth combined, is sloshing beneath Titan's icy crust.

Combined with the cocktail of organic chemicals already known to exist on Titan, abundant water could make the moon prime real estate for life – though mor... Read More

Fungus behind America's bat die-off traced back to Europe

The mysterious deaths of millions of bats in the United States and Canada over the past several years were caused by a fungus that hitchhiked from Europe, scientists reported Monday.

Experts had suspected that an invasive species was to blame for the die-off from "white nose syndrome." Now th... 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

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