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Three Irish Teens Win Google Science Fair Using Bacteria to Grow Food

A trio of Irish high-schoolers nabbed the top prize in this year's Google Science Fair with a project that speeds up crop growth by tapping into the naturally cozy relationship between soil microbes and plants.

After 11 months of experiments, the three 16-year-olds—Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey, a... Read More

Pictures Considered #22. ¡Viva La Resolucion!

Why should we consider this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry, and why in our 'Pictures Considered' section in the first place? A hint comes from one of the many press releases: "... for improving the resolution of optical microscopes." Aha! Microscopes are at the heart of microbiology since Rober... Read More

Rare byproduct of marine bacteria kills cancer cells by snipping their DNA

Yale University researchers have determined how a scarce molecule produced by marine bacteria can kill cancer cells, paving the way for the development of new, low-dose chemotherapies.

The molecule, lomaiviticin A, was previously shown to be lethal to cultured human cancer cells, but the mech... Read More

Think We're Rid of Measles? Think Again

Over the last few weeks, the numerous outbreaks of measles in Canada have led many public health officials and microbiologists to shake their collective heads. The reason is simple: this should not be happening. Of all the pathogenic viruses, this one has been on our radar for nearly 200 years a... Read More

Scientists discover how a killer fungus attacks HIV patients

Researchers have discovered that a type of white blood cell carries a deadly fungus into the brains of HIV positive patients, causing meningitis which kills more than 600,000 people a year. The discovery could lead to more effective ways of tackling the deadly fungus as it infects the human body... Read More

State's Flu Shot Rule for Preschoolers Helped

A Connecticut law requiring flu shots for children entering preschool or daycare has reduced flu-related hospitalizations of young children by 12 percent, according to a new study. The jump in flu vaccinations of young children -- to 84 percent in 2012-2013 from about 68 percent in 2009-2010 -- ... Read More

Terminal Proteins: Crossing the Border

A variety of Bacteria, Archaea, and mobile genetic elements replicate their DNA as a linear chromosome using terminal proteins (TPs) to prime DNA synthesis, thus solving their end replication problem. As described in an earlier post, phage φ29 uses its TPs to also organize the sites of DNA repli... Read More

Running an Ebola Clinic in Sierra Leone Is All About Containment—And Chlorine

Treating patients with the deadly Ebola virus takes doctors, drugs, and a whole lot of chlorine.

The Ebola treatment units being deployed across Sierra Leone are built by teams of logisticians—“logs” in disaster aid parlance—who can drop into a bare field and construct a mini city in a matter... Read More

Researchers find chemicals that treat citrus greening in the lab

A University of Florida research team is cautiously optimistic after finding a possible treatment in the lab for citrus greening, a disease devastating Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry. It is the first step in a years-long process to bring a treatment to market.

Claudio Gonzalez and Graci... 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

Pathogens in Cheese – Researchers Follow the Traces of Deadly Bacteria

If food products are not produced in a hygienic environment, consumers can face the threat of dangerous pathogens. This is exactly what happened in 2009 and 2010 when two different strains of Listeria monocytogenes were found in the traditional Austrian curd cheese known as “Quargel”. 34 people ... Read More

Airborne Environmental Isolate/Fungal view 1

An unknown airborne environmental isolate on Bile Esculin Agar (BEA) exhibiting a single circular colony. White hyphal growth with no spore formation. Clear to brownish exudate can be seen throughout the colony. This sample grew at refrigerated temperatures for several months. The agar surroun... Read More

Brewing yeasts reveal secrets of chromosomal warfare and dysfunction

Using two yeasts that have been used to brew tea and beer for centuries, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have revealed how reproductive barriers might rapidly arise to create species boundaries. Schizosaccharomyces pombe has been used to brew beer in Africa, whereas its clo... Read More

Antibodies discovery could lead to universal dengue vaccine

A major new class of antibodies that can make the four different types of dengue virus (DENV) non-infectious has been discovered by a group of international researchers, including from the University of Melbourne.

The discovery could lead to the development of better vaccines and laboratory t... Read More

Rare 'polio-like' disease reports

US doctors are warning of an emerging polio-like disease in California where up to 20 people have been infected.

A meeting of the American Academy of Neurology heard that some patients had developed paralysis in all four limbs, which had not improved with treatment.

The US is polio-free, b... Read More

Immune cell ‘defenders’ could beat invading bacteria

An international team of scientists has identified the precise biochemical key that wakes up the body’s immune cells and sends them into action against invading bacteria and fungi.
The patented work, published in Nature today, provides the starting point to understanding our first line of defen... Read More

Muddled about MERS? Here’s A Quick Guide

While I was working on the “H1N-What?” post, I also knew there would soon be questions about MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), just as there were about SARS. So here are the essentials of what we know and don’t know about MERS—which has just been reported in the U.S.—as well as intriguing... Read More

Investigating the Cheese Microbiome

We need to understand how diverse communities of microbes interact, but doing so in the gut is hard. Why not turn to a model system, where diverse microbial communities interact, but in an environment that’s easier to study? We have a long history of using model systems in biology – the mice I m... Read More

Dairy scientist targets heat-resistant microbes

Corralling desperados with names like bacillus and paenibacillus will require ingenuity and an arsenal of weapons. These outlaws aren't rustling cattle—they're making milk sour and cheese soft and crumbly.

For more than a century, milk has been heated to kill any bacteria or pathogens that ca... Read More

Nutrient-absorbing surface’s assembly revealed: study

Vanderbilt University researchers have now discovered how intestinal cells build this specialized structure, which is critical for absorbing nutrients and defending against pathogens. The findings, published April 10 in the journal Cell, reveal a role for adhesion molecules in brush border assem... Read More
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