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Science Diction: The Origin Of The Petri Dish

From NPR's Science Friday:

'In 1887, Julius Petri invented a simple pair of nesting glass dishes, ideal for keeping specimens of growing bacteria sterile—the 'Petri dish.' Science historian Howard Markel recounts the history of this ubiquitous lab supply, and the serendipitous discovery of th... Read More

Scientists: 10,000 germ species can live in/on healthy people

They live on your skin, up your nose, in your gut - enough bacteria, fungi and other microbes that collected together could weigh, amazingly, a few pounds.

Now scientists have mapped just which critters normally live in or on us and where, calculating that healthy people can share their bodi... Read More

Rapamycin, Easter Island Drug, Shows Promise In Boosting Aging Brain, Mice Study Shows

Scientists at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio are investigating a potential new drug that could improve learning and memory during aging -- thanks to Easter Island?

The drug, called rapamycin, comes from isolated bacterial products in the soil of the Polynesian islan... Read More

Life's Most Amazing Invisible Secrets

One of my heroes, evolutionary microbiologist Lynn Margulis, died this past Thanksgiving. She was an amazing lady who was married to Carl Sagan for many years, and partnered with James Lovelock in discovering that the earth is an interconnected living global ecosystem run largely by microbes. Sh... Read More

The Rise of Genomic Superspreaders

One hundred million years ago the earth’s climate was much warmer than today and vast inland seas stretched across entire continents. The land was dominated by charismatic megafauna that would one day serve as inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World. This period is commonly... Read More

Building the perfect bug

This past February I was interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Company on the topic of the Fouchier and Kawaoka experiments on avian influenza virus H5N1. The video, Building the Perfect Bug, has been released by Journeyman Pictures and includes interviews with S.T. Lai, Laurie Garrett, Mic... Read More

Bacteria that could pass as X-men: part 1

Great article from Scientific American... click 'source' to see the whole piece...

1) The Blob

Like many of the X-men, the Blob has gone through several incarnations of character but the one main continuous feature is that he’s big. That’s pretty much it. The size gives him supernatural s... Read More

Evolutionary Lessons From Superbugs

Virulent drug-resistant "superbugs" are back in the news. We have a lot to learn from these small but smart creatures. To the dismay of many in the pubic health field, the FDA just dropped plans to enforce a 1977(!) decision to limit the use of antibiotics in animal feed, which facilitates the e... Read More

TWiV 163 Letters

Ronnie writes:


Hello Professor Vincent,


First of all, thank you for your wonderful podcasts! I'm a CFS sufferer and also a student Applied Science so I'm interested in many of the topics discussed for those two reasons and always learning new things.


I... Read More

TWiV 165 Letters

Justin writes:


Are you, Alan Dove and Prof. Racaniello, saying you think Mikovits and/or others on the Lombardi paper lied about the results or blinding? I think circumspection is a natural human reaction to the allegations of theft that have been made against Dr. Mik... Read More

Do Bacteria Have Built-In Cell Death Mechanisms?

Cell death, also known as apoptosis, is a significant part of normal animal development. However, the question arises whether bacteria, similar to higher organisms, have a built-in mechanism that determines when the cells die.

Researchers at the Hadassah Medical School of the Hebrew Universi... Read More

Small Things Considered: That Scary Restroom Microbiota

Newspapers and other media are reporting with regular frequency that restrooms, ATM machine pads, money bills, and other sites carry many different microbes upon their surfaces including potentially pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Headlines call attention to such scary-sounding news and alarm t... Read More

Mosquito Immune System Engineered to Block Malaria

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute demonstrated for the first time that the Anopheles mosquito's innate immune system could be genetically engineered to block the transmission of the malaria-causing parasite to humans. In addition, they showed that the genetic modificati... Read More

Oddly Microbial: 86 Million Year-Old Deep Seabed Mystery Cells

Life in a high-pressured environment with practically nothing to eat might be ok for high-fashion models, but it’s an unlikely lifestyle choice for a single cell whose usual overriding goal is to become two cells. Yet the largest living ecosystem on Earth—the deep biosphere—is comprised of micro... Read More

New GM Crops Could Make Superweeds Even Stronger

Herbicide-resistant superweeds threaten to overgrow U.S. fields, so agriculture companies have genetically engineered a new generation of plants to withstand heavy doses of multiple, extra-toxic weed-killing chemicals.

It’s a more intensive version of the same approach that made the resistant... Read More

El podcast del Microbio Nº 231: Un nuevo antibiótico Fidaxomicina (New antibiotic: Fidaxomicin)



























El podcast del microbio Nº 231 is about the recent aproval from european autorities of fidaxomicin, an antibiotic for the use in... Read More

Trichomonas vaginalis Parasite

An electron micrograph depicts the Trichomonas vaginalis parasite adhering to vaginal epithelial cells collected from vaginal swabs. A non-adhered parasite (right) is pear-shaped, whereas the attached parasite is flat and amoeboid.

Credit: Image courtesy of: Antonio Pereira-Neves and Marlene... Read More

TWiP 38: How to Trichomonas



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Dickson Despommier


Vincent and Dickson tack... Read More

TWiP 39: I encyst, said the amoeba



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Dickson Despommier


Vincent and Dickson review the biology an... Read More

TWiV Live in Dublin, Ireland, Monday, March 26 2012

Join Vincent Racaniello and guests Connor Bamford, ... Read More

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