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Scientists Choose Sides In Safety Debate Over Lab-Made Pathogens

A smoldering debate about whether or not researchers should ever deliberately create superflu strains and other risky germs in the interest of science has flared once again.

Proponents of the work say that in order to protect the public from the next naturally occurring pandemic, they have to... Read More

Preemies’ gut bacteria may depend more on gestational age than environment​

Scientists believe babies are born with digestive systems containing few or no bacteria. Their guts then quickly become colonized by microbes — good and bad — as they nurse or take bottles, receive medication and even as they are passed from one adoring relative to another.

However, in infant... Read More

The viruses that spread antibiotic resistance

Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria, and in the great war between humans and pathogenic bacteria they can act as allies for both sides. Phages that destroy their host bacteria can be used as antimicrobial therapy, complementing or replacing antibiotics. On the other hand as phages ar... Read More

Highly Drug Resistant, Virulent, Strain of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Arises in Ohio (press release)

A team of clinician researchers has discovered a highly virulent, multidrug resistant form of the pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, in patient samples in Ohio. Their investigation suggests that the particular genetic element involved, which is still rare in the United States, has been spreading ... Read More

Elusive viral 'machine' architecture finally rendered

Biologists have worked with the Lambda virus as a model system for more than 50 years but they've never had an overarching picture of the molecular machines that allow it to insert or remove DNA from the cells that it infects. Now they can, thanks to an advance that highlights the intriguingly i... Read More

Native bacteria block Wolbachia from being passed to mosquito progeny

Native bacteria living inside mosquitoes prevent the insects from passing Wolbachia bacteria -- which can make the mosquitoes resistant to the malaria parasite -- to their offspring, according to a team of researchers.

The team found that Asaia, a type of bacteria that occurs naturally in Ano... Read More

‘Wormy’ Pills Might Fend Off Autoimmune Diseases

Scientists have identified peptides from parasitic hookworms that can calm the body’s immune response and perhaps pave the way to treat autoimmune diseases.

Experts believe the peptide molecules could help explain why worm infections can effectively treat diseases such as multiple sclerosis, ... Read More

Should experimental drugs be used in the Ebola outbreak?

Risks and benefits of unproven treatments, as World Health Organization approves use in crisis.

Two Liberian doctors are set to become the first Africans to receive an experimental drug against the Ebola virus. The news comes as the World Health Organization concludes that it is ethical to us... Read More

BacterioFiles 178 - Hadza Hunters Have Heterogeneous Helpers

This episode: Modern hunter-gatherers have very different gut microbes from people from agricultural societies!


(12.9 MB, 14.1 minutes)


Show notes: 
News i... Read More

TWiM #84: Microbiology Down Under

Host: Vincent Racaniello.


Special guests: D... Read More

Wild sheep show benefits of putting up with parasites

In the first evidence that natural selection favors an individual's infection tolerance, researchers from Princeton University and the University of Edinburgh have found that an animal's ability to endure an internal parasite strongly influences its reproductive success. Reported in the journal ... Read More

Like cling wrap, new biomaterial can coat tricky burn wounds and block out infection

Wrapping wound dressings around fingers and toes can be tricky, but for burn victims, guarding them against infection is critical. Today, scientists are reporting the development of novel, ultrathin coatings called nanosheets that can cling to the body’s most difficult-to-protect contours and ke... Read More

Editing HPV's Genes To Kill Cervical Cancer Cells

Researchers have hijacked a defense system normally used by bacteria to fend off viral infections and redirected it against the human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes cervical, head and neck, and other cancers.

Using the genome editing tool known as CRISPR, the Duke University rese... Read More

The typhoid fever pathogen uses a cloaking mechanism to evade neutrophil neutralization

Typhoid fever is caused by systemic infection with Salmonella enterica Typhi. In contrast, infection with the closely related bacterium Salmonella enterica Thyphimurium is usually limited to the gut and causes less serious diarrheal disease. Research comparing the two pathogens reveals how S. Ty... Read More

Oddly Microbial: Selfish Genes*

Evolution is largely driven by conflict, not collaboration, according to cell evolutionist Harmit Malik at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC). Mammalian cells are contentious places, he explains, populated by alien and host genomic sequences fighting for dominance. "In the compet... Read More

TWiV 297: Ebola! Don't panic

The TWiVites present an all-ebolavirus episode, tackling virology, epidemiology, and approaches to prevention and cure that are in the pipeline.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello Read More

Scientists hope bacterial blueprints will soon give doctors and nurses fewer sleepless nights

One of the most common types of bacterial infection might soon give doctors and nurses fewer sleepless nights, thanks to a discovery made by scientists at Trinity College Dublin. The scientists used X-ray crystallography techniques to provide a blueprint of the cellular machinery used by Pseudom... Read More

Ebola declared a public health emergency

World Health Organization announcement could shift focus to basic public health.

The escalating Ebola outbreak in West Africa poses an international threat and all countries must work together to contain it, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today (8 August). The announcement comes ami... Read More

Trapped: Cell-invading piece of virus captured in lab by scientists

Scientists try to stay a step ahead of HIV in order to combat drug resistance and to develop better treatments. When a person is infected with HIV, there is an initial burst of virus production. This is when integrase inserts the virus DNA into many human cells, including CD4 T-immune cells, bra... Read More

Gut Microbes Browse Along a Gene Buffet

In the moist, dark microbial rainforest of the intestine, hundreds of species of microorganisms interact with each other and with the cells of the host animal to get the resources they need to survive and thrive.

Though there's a lot of competition in this vibrant ecosystem, collaboration is... Read More

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