In this blog post, I describe some "rules for academics" as well as my own "rules for research." I hope that readers find them useful and perhaps a bit humorous. Read More
Measles may seem like a distant threat in the United States, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning the disease still poses a danger to U.S. residents.
The CDC fears that because measles is so prevalent overseas, people who travel are bringing the virus back to U.S. sh... Read More
Boston researchers are reporting the return of the HIV virus in two patients who had become virus-free after undergoing bone marrow transplants, dashing hopes of a possible cure that had generated widespread excitement.
The rebound of the virus shows its persistence, and that it can hide in p... Read More
From cow burps to tree hiccups and melting permafrost, the potent greenhouse gas methane is produced in myriad ways. Now we can add another one to the list: electricity-generating microbes. The finding could one day allow us to control the generation of methane.
Methanosaeta microbes are one ... Read More
Bacteria may lack a true immune system, but this does not leave them defenseless against bacteriophage viruses and other pathogens. A system of genomic sequence elements called clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and various CRISPR-associated proteins (Cas) help to... Read More
HIV has reappeared in the blood of two Boston patients who scientists had hoped had been cured of their infections.
This disappointing development, reported by The Boston Globe's Kay Lazar, is yet another cautionary tale of how researchers can never afford to underestimate the human immunodef... Read More
As humanity continues to carpet bomb the microscopic world with antibiotics, the enemy is fighting back. Antibiotic resistance is on the rise, and that can mean painful or life-threatening infections for those unfortunate enough to come into contact with such organisms. One of the most common re... Read More
What happens when you use tiny electromagnetic coils to shift the position of light-scattering bacteria? In the hands of a couple of science-minded artists, you get an intriguing "Living Mirror."
I have a new favorite artist: bacteria. Imprinted onto cell phones, it can look like flowers, or ... Read More
Doses of a human gut microbe helped to reverse behavioral problems in mice with autism-like symptoms, researchers report today in Cell. The treatment also reduced gastrointestinal problems in the animals that were similar to those that often accompany autism in humans.
The work builds on prev... Read More
Here I remember a person who a great deal of influence on my views about microbiology in the classroom, and the laboratory: the late Abigail Salyers. RIP, Abigail. Read More
Doses of a human gut microbe helped to reverse behavioural problems in mice with autism-like symptoms, researchers report today in Cell. The treatment also reduced gastrointestinal problems in the animals that were similar to those that often accompany autism in humans.
The work builds on pre... Read More
Researchers in Umeå and Uppsala have found that residues of the influenza drug Tamiflu in our environment can make the influenza virus in birds resistant. This can have serious consequences in the event of an influenza pandemic. With more than 14 million SEK from the Swedish Research Councils Fo... Read More
This episode: Scientists engineered E. coli to seek and destroy pathogens!
(10 MB, 11 minutes)
A bacterium can sense pathogens in the body, swim toward them, and release a deadly biofilm-busting payload. This process is called pseudotaxis, and could be modified for many... Read More
History has repeatedly shown that contagion makes an easy bedfellow with human conflict.
Take the poliovirus outbreak in Syria - and Israel and Egypt too - caused by related strains that can be traced back to Pakistan.
War and insurgency provide the ideal conditions for bacteria and viruse... Read More
Researchers at Singapore's Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) and California's IBM Research -- Almaden (IBM) have discovered a new, potentially life-saving application for polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is widely used to make plastic bottles. They have successfully con... Read More
Scientists at Emory Vaccine Center have found a link between immunity induced by vaccination and an ancient way that cells adapt to scarcity, a link that could help researchers develop vaccines against challenging infections such as HIV or malaria.
Researchers studying immune responses to the... Read More
When attacking body cells, bacteria, such as salmonellae or Yersinia (plague pathogens), inject specific bacterial proteins through hollow, syringe-like structures – called injectisomes – into the host cells. These substances reprogram the cells and can thus overcome their defense. From then on,... Read More
One would assume offhand that the pathways for synthesis and assembly of the major constituents of a bacterial cell “talk to each other,” i. e. they are tightly interwoven processes. Tampering with the biosynthesis of one should affect all the others, right? Wouldn’t you expect, for instance, th... Read More
Slothful response from regulators and manufacturers means antibiotic resistance is missed. Bacteria that are resistant to almost all antibiotics are dreaded by physicians and patients alike. Finding such microbes in a hospital is bad enough, but failing to detect them can lead to something much ... Read More