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Continuing Discussion on Gain of Function

Should scientific journals publish gain-of-function (GOF) studies, especially those involving pathogens with pandemic potential? While journal editors at the American Society for Microbiology have done so after careful consideration, some scientists expressed concern over that decision. A series... Read More

Scientists Discover First ‘Virological Penicillin’

Chinese researchers have discovered what they say is the first ‘virological penicillin’ – MIR2911, a molecule found naturally in a Chinese herb called honeysuckle.

Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is a well-known Chinese herb. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it has been used to effectively tr... Read More

Beauty of Nocardia Colonies on Blood Agar

Nocardia isolation from blood specimen. On culture, chalky white colonies were seen on blood agar. Image courtesy MicrobeWorld user Kyriakos Zaragkoulias, Specialty Registrar (StR) in Medical Microbiology at General Hospital of Thessaloniki “G. Papanikolaou”, Greece.


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TWiM #89: Microbial handoffs

Hosts: Vincent RacanielloMichael Schmidt, ... Read More

Where Does Ebola Hide?

The people of Guinea have been locked in a life-and-death struggle with Ebola virus since last December. Nearly 60 percent of Guineans infected with the virus since then have died. To cope with the unprecedented disease, the government went so far as to ban soup made from bats.

Why bats? Bec... Read More

Footage From 1976 Documents Discovery of Ebola Virus

In 1976, a group of health workers took a pair of film cameras to what was then known as Zaire and documented their discovery of a new, deadly virus.

Today we know that virus as Ebola.

A 27-year-old Belgian microbiologist named Peter Piot and his colleagues were the first to scientifically... Read More

Rats and Their Alarming Bugs

If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that our well-being is intimately linked to the health of animals.

The current Ebola epidemic probably got its start when someone came into contact with an infected animal, perhaps a monkey or a fruit bat. The virus causing Middle East respi... Read More

In Hopes Of Fixing Faulty Genes, One Scientist Starts With The Basics

Whether they admit it or not, many (if not most) scientists secretly hope to get a call in October informing them they've won a Nobel Prize.

But I've talked to a lot of Nobel laureates, and they are unanimous on one point: None of them pursued a research topic with the intention of winning th... Read More

Bio-art: The Marriage of Art and Microorganisms

A short interview with artist Selin Balci on her use of microbes as an artistic medium. Here's a quote from the piece on SkyLife.com...

"Bio-art has not yet been defined in a way that is accepted by artists. Some artists, for example, make DNA models and call that BioArt. To me, BioArt has to... Read More

Primitive microbes stole bacterial genes on a surprising scale

A University of Otago researcher is part of an international team that has discovered that horizontal gene transfer (HGT) played a surprisingly large role in the evolution of primitive microbes known as archaea.

HGT, which involves acquiring genetic material from another unrelated organism in... Read More

Gut Microbes and Jet Lag, Shift-Work Weight Gain

Disruptions in the human circadian clock can throw off microbes in the gut, potentially boosting the risk of obesity, a new study suggests.

The results may help explain why shift workers and people who get jet lag by traveling frequently often pack on extra pounds.

"These surprising findin... Read More

Bacterial defense policies

High-resolution cryo-electron microscopy has now revealed in unprecedented detail the structural changes in the bacterial ribosome which results in resistance to the antibiotic erythromycin.

Click "source" to read more. Read More

Study reveals how deadly MERS virus enters human cells

Cornell researchers have uncovered details of how the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) enters host cells, findings that help explain how it can infect many cell types – a hallmark of viral pathogenicity. The results also offer possible new avenues for treatment.

... Read More

CDC Launches Ebola Response Team

In the two days since the second U.S. Ebola patient was diagnosed, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has assembled a new team to battle the threat of Ebola. This team has no steady lineup, but it will be deployed anywhere in the country that sees a new case of Ebola, CDC ... Read More

Staph ‘gangs’ share nutrients during infection: study

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can share resources to cause chronic infections, Vanderbilt investigators have discovered. Like the individual members of a gang who might be relatively harmless alone, they turn deadly when they get together with their “friends.”

The findings, reported Oct. 8 in... Read More

Evolution of extreme parasites explained by scientists

Extreme adaptations of species often cause such significant changes that their evolutionary history is difficult to reconstruct. Zoologists have now discovered a new parasite species that represents the missing link between fungi and an extreme group of parasites. Researchers are now able to und... Read More

TWiM 89 Letters

Peter writes:


Dear Michele,


Prof. Szybalski might have been referring to a truck with a wood gas generator


Apparently they are still in use north of the b... Read More

Cells' powerhouses were once energy parasites: Study upends current theories of how mitochondria began

Parasitic bacteria were the first cousins of the mitochondria that power cells in animals and plants -- and first acted as energy parasites in those cells before becoming beneficial, according to a new study.

Click "source" to read more. Read More

Ebola fears: Airline contacts 800 passengers; Belize blocks travel

Take no chances. Leave no stone unturned. Fueled by Ebola fears, these common axioms are driving policy and action -- at times to hefty measures.

This week, a Central American country closed its borders to anyone who has been anywhere near the disease. And an airline scrambled to inform hundr... Read More

BacterioFiles 187 - Bacteria Bolster Bedbug Biotin

This episode: Some Wolbachia bacteria produce vitamin B7 for their insect hosts!


(7.1 MB, 7.75 minutes)


Show notes: 
Journal Paper


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