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Mapping the Bacteria in the NYC Subway (video)

For more than a year, Cornell University's Christopher Mason and his team of researchers have been identifying bacteria in the New York City subway system. And some of the findings might surprise you. Photo: Katie Orlinsky for The Wall Street Journal
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Big Data and Bacteria: Mapping the New York Subway’s DNA

Aboard a No. 6 local train in Manhattan, Weill Cornell researcher Christopher Mason patiently rubbed a nylon swab back and forth along a metal handrail, collecting DNA in an effort to identify the bacteria in the New York City subway.

In 18 months of scouring the entire system, he has found g... Read More

Record Keeping Helps Bacteria’s Immune System Fight Invaders

Bacteria have a sophisticated means of defending themselves, and they need it: more viruses infect bacteria than any other biological entity.

Two experiments undertaken at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory provide new insight at the heart of bacterial adaptive de... Read More

Lyme disease costs up to $1.3 billion per year to treat, study finds

Lyme disease, transmitted by a bite from a tick infected by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, had long been considered easy to treat, usually requiring a single doctor's visit and a few weeks of antibiotics for most people.

But new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public H... Read More

This Vitamin might protect kids from Malaria

Vitamin A may protect children against malaria, especially during the rainy season when infected mosquitos flourish, a study suggests.

“Our research found that children who received vitamin A supplementation were less likely to become infected with malaria,” she said. “Now we need to test vit... Read More

Global Fund Needed to Fight Dangerous Superbugs

A global fund should be created to speed development of much-needed new antibiotics to counter the growing threat of drug-resistant superbugs, a British-government backed review said on Thursday.

The review, headed by the leading economist and former Goldman Sachs chief Jim O'Neill, said far ... Read More

TWiM #97: There’s gold in them hills

Hosts: Vincent RacanielloMichael Schmidt, ... Read More

TWiM 97 Letters


Dennis writes:
hi Doc,


A paper just published in nature:


http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/pdf/nature14098.pdf


reports an effective antibiot... Read More

Cyanobacterium found in algae collection holds promise for biotech applications

Cyanobacteria could serve as a synthetic biology chassis that could be retooled for the production of biofuels, drugs or chemcials. So far, however, they have been held back by sluggish growth that makes it difficult to conduct the initial experiments needed to characterize their genetic and met... Read More

BacterioFiles 200 - Converted Clostridium Consumes Carbon monoxide

This episode: Carbon monoxide-eating bacteria get modified to produce more useful products!


(16 MB, 17.5 minutes)


Show notes: 
Journal Paper


... Read More

A Possible Treatment for Peanut Allergies

More than 15 million people in the United States live with food allergies that impact every meal they eat. For some, accidentally ingesting a snack that their body deems taboo can ignite a violent biological response. Every three minutes someone is rushed to the emergency room due to a food alle... Read More

Meet Dr. Armpit, Changing Body Odor With Bacteria

Here’s an undeniable fact: In samples collected from seven of New York’s subway platforms, scientists discovered that we're surrounded in plumes of microbes wafting off other people’s skin. Here’s another undeniable fact: Those bacteria colonize all of our glands and follicles and the entire epi... Read More

Green tea ingredient may target protein to kill oral cancer cells

A compound found in green tea may trigger a cycle that kills oral cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone, according to Penn State food scientists. The research could lead to treatments for oral cancer, as well as other types of cancer.

Earlier studies had shown that epigallocatechin-3... Read More

Gut Bacteria Byproduct Linked to Chronic Kidney Disease for the First Time

Cleveland Clinic researchers have, for the first time, linked trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) – a gut metabolite formed during the digestion of egg-, red meat- or dairy-derived nutrients choline and carnitine – to chronic kidney disease.

TMAO has been linked to heart disease already, with blood... Read More

Obama tells parents to get kids vaccinated to stem measles

President Barack Obama is urging parents to get their children vaccinated in the face of a measles outbreak that has infected more than 100 people in the United States.

He said that while he understood there were families concerned about the effect of vaccinations, he said the science was "pr... Read More

Ebola Drug Trial Is Halted for Lack of Patients

A clinical trial in Liberia of a drug to treat Ebola has been halted because of a sharp decline in the number of people infected with the virus, and studies in West Africa of other potential treatments are also facing problems finding patients.

The halted trial was testing the antiviral drug ... Read More

Fun Agar Drawings: Chromobacterium violaceum, Staphylococcus aureus

Isolate: Chromobacterium violaceum, Staphylococcus aureus
Agar: Mueller Hinton Agar
Incubation Conditions: 24 hours at 37C + 24 hours at Room Temperature
Created by: Michelle Vu, Research Associate, BS Microbiology

Pictured is Chromobacterium violaceum and Staphylococcus aureus shaped in a... Read More

Chromobacterium violaceum, Staphylococcus aureus

Created by: Michelle Vu, Research Associate, BS Microbiology
Isolate: Chromobacterium violaceum, Staphylococcus aureus
Agar: Blood Agar
Incubation Conditions: 24 hours at 37C + 24 hours at Room Temperature

Pictured is Chromobacterium violaceum and Staphylococcus aureus shaped in a valentin... Read More

Lab Agar Drawings: Chromobacterium violaceum shaped into Biohazard Symbol

Created by: Michelle Vu, Research Associate, BS Microbiology
Isolate: Chromobacterium violaceum
Agar: Mueller Hinton Agar
Incubation Conditions: 24 hours at 37C + 24 hours at Room Temperature

Pictured is Chromobacterium violaceum shaped in a biohazard symbol. This drawing was done at a mic... Read More

Chromobacterium violaceum, Staphylococcus chromogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis

Created by: Michelle Vu, Research Associate, BS Microbiology
Isolate: Chromobacterium violaceum, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus aureus
Media: Blood Agar
Incubation Conditions: 24 hours at 37C + 24 hours at Room Temperature


Pictured is Chromobacterium violaceum, Staphylococcus... Read More
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