Deans of public health schools in the United States have sent a letter to President Obama, in which they criticize the use of a vaccination campaign by the Central Intelligence Agency in Pakistan to hunt for Osama bin Laden. I wonder if he will reply. Read More
The World Health Organization’s campaign to eradicate poliomyelitis made impressive inroads in 2012: only 212 cases were reported, compared with 620 the previous year; moreover, India remained polio-free. The dark side of this story is that as wild polio is eliminated, vaccine-associated poliomy... Read More
Based on the price of medication, consumers make irrational inferences about their risk of getting sick. The study, published in Journal of Consumer Research, finds that consumers make judgments about their risk of catching an illness based on the cost of its medication. The higher the price, th... Read More
Researchers have discovered a new compound that restores the health of mice infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an otherwise dangerous bacterial infection. The new compound targets an enzyme not found in human cells but which is essential to bacterial survival.
T... Read More
In a recent post I shared with you how different microbes come together to breathe as one. In some cases, all it takes is the presence of conductive minerals such as magnetite to facilitate the exchange of metabolic electrons between two microbial partners. This allows the team to catalyze a red... Read More
A research team of scientists from EMBL Grenoble and the IGBMC in Strasbourg, France, have, for the first time, described in molecular detail the architecture of the central scaffold of TFIID: the human protein complex essential for transcription from DNA to mRNA. The study, published January 7 ... Read More
New research led by the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden and the University of Glasgow, Scotland, has identified a link between a human gene and the composition of human gastrointestinal bacteria. In a study published as a letter to the journal Gut, the team outline new evidence suggesting that th... Read More
If you were a science professor, and you received two equally strong applications for the position of laboratory manager, one from a female, one from a male, which one would you pick? The answer might surprise you. Read More
Dengue epidemics continue to break out in South America. Last year, more than 100,000 people contracted dengue fever in Rio de Janeiro alone. In its fight against the deadly virus, the city is employing unique methods.
The endless battle against Rio de Janeiro's mosquitoes takes Luciano do Ca... Read More
Discover Magazine is partnering with Instructables and SciStarter, an online citizen science community, to solve real problems facing researchers. The Citizen Science Contest is your opportunity to help millions of regular people contribute to scientific discovery. Prizes include a Celestron tel... Read More
Bacteria that live almost a mile under the surface of the ocean, where light is scare, have adapted biological ways to harness tiny amounts of light very efficiently, and in some cases can use photosynthesis to convert 100 percent of the light they find into electricity. In contrast a typical so... Read More
Deep in the thicket of west Africa, on a bamboo bridge strung over raging waters, Erica Ollmann Saphire groped through the dark toward a village where pestilence can snuff out life with ruthless efficiency.
She was looking for rodents. The Scripps Research Institute biologist wanted to know h... Read More
A new research report published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology shows how the bacteria known for causing gum disease--Porphyromonas gingivalis--manipulates the body's immune system to disable normal processes that would otherwise destroy it. Specifically, the report shows that this pathogen ... Read More
Biologist Daniel Smith crouched in an empty patient room at the new University of Chicago hospital and dragged a white cotton swab across the gleaming tile.
Smith studied the dust-smudged tip before breaking it off into a plastic tube labeled "floor."
"A good sample for us," said Smith, se... Read More
Researchers have found fossils of bacteria that are nearly 3.5 billion years old, believed to be the oldest visible fossils ever uncovered.
The fossils, found in northwest Australia's Pilbara region, are from a time before oxygen existed on Earth and are from just one billion years after Eart... Read More
Humans carry around loads of living bacteria that are crucial for good health, and through breastfeeding, infants make some of their first contact with beneficial microorganisms that will colonize their body. Scientists have discovered that breast milk contains more species of bacteria than orig... Read More
A former microbiology student sent me this link to a promotional spot from a football game. There is a microbiological blooper involved, suggesting that we all need to work harder to promote Microbial Literacy...even on the football field! Read More
Some strains of nasty bacterial infections, such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), come loaded with resistance to antibiotics built right into their genes. But certain infections seem to acquire an ability to persist in the face of drugs that should knock them out—without de... Read More
Conventional wisdom holds that genes determine the shape and structure (morphology) of animals, but something else may be at play. A new study shows that a roundworm (P. pacificus) regulates its offspring's morphology by using a potent cocktail of small-molecule signals. Exposure to trace quanti... Read More