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Curious about the Human Microbiome?

The American Academy of Microbiology has released its newest report on the human microbiome. Based on the deliberations of some of the leading experts, the report answers common questions people have about this new field of science. While there is still much to be learned, this report presents t... Read More

30,000 feet up, these bacteria aren't afraid of heights

From ocean floors to office desks, bacteria coat nearly every inch of the Earth. Scientists have recently discovered bacteria are present high above the Earth, as well. Ten kilometers up, to be exact, in a region of our atmosphere known as the upper troposphere. In a place where freezing tempera... Read More

Parents' Saliva On Pacifiers Could Ward Off Baby's Allergies

That word "microbiome" — describing the collection of bacteria that live in and on our bodies — keeps popping up. This time, researchers say that children whose parents clean their pacifiers by sucking them might be less likely to develop allergic conditions because of how their parents' saliva ... Read More

Clever microbes: bacterial sensors and signals

Exploring signalling systems is often a multidisciplinary process, requiring genetic research, mathematical modelling and evolutionary biology. A recent paper looking at the bacterial phage shock response uses all of these approaches to build up a picture of the complete signalling system.

Th... Read More

New test system identifies 193 different yeasts and bacteria known to cause illness (FDA Press Release)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today allowed marketing in the U.S. of the first mass spectrometer system for automated identification of bacteria and yeasts that are known to cause serious illness in humans. The VITEK MS can identify 193 different microorganisms and can perform up to 192 ... Read More

BacterioFiles Micro Edition 146 - Engineered Escherichia Eliminates Enemies

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

Two new weapons in the battle against bacteria

Proteases are vital proteins that serve for order within cells. They break apart other proteins, ensuring that these are properly synthesized and decomposed. Proteases are also responsible for the pathogenic effects of many kinds of bacteria. Now chemists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen ... Read More

TWiP 70 letters


Robin writes:


Cysticercosis.


While it is true that Taenia saginata tends to be benign as helminthic infestations go in humans, the same cannot be said for Taenia solium.


In both cases, ingestion of (encysted) larvae leads to enteric infestation wi... Read More

CDC prepares for potential outbreak of deadly MERS virus

As the deadly MERS virus continues to infect people throughout the Middle East and Europe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has begun to prepare for the disease’s potential spread to the United States.
Currently, the U.S. has had no confirmed cases of the MERS virus, a respi... Read More

Physarum polycephalum

Physarum polycephalum, slime mold, grown in a large perti plate on moist paper towels using oatmeal as the food source. Culture was grown in the dark at room temperature. The paper towel was moistened every day with tap water. After 3 week’s the culture formed sporangia (fruiting bodies). Im... Read More

TWiV 267: Snow in the headlights



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Alan Dove, Read More

Mysterious Microscopic Bubbles Baffle Ocean Scientists

The most abundant photosynthetic organism in the world sheds countless little sacs into the oceans, which could be having a dramatic impact on marine ecosystems, according to a new study. These microbial buds contain proteins and genetic material, which may influence the growth of other marine m... Read More

New Drugs Use Cell "Garbage Disposal" to Kill Bacteria

A new class of molecules called acyldepsipeptides—ADEPs—may provide a new way to attack bacteria that have developed resistance to antibiotics.

Researchers have discovered a way to increase the potency of ADEPs by up to 1,200 times. Their findings appear in the Journal of the American Chemica... Read More

Thanks to Rare Alpine Bacteria, Researchers Identify One of Alcohol’s Key Gateways to the Brain

Thanks to a rare bacteria that grows only on rocks in the Swiss Alps, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the Pasteur Institute in France have been the first to identify how alcohol might affect key brain proteins.

It’s a major step on the road to eventually developing drugs ... Read More

TWiM 66 Letters

Neva writes:
You may have seen this. Thought you all might enjoy this header illustration from
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/artful-amoeba/2013/08/24/wonderful-things-the-hidden-beauty-of-the-horse-dung-fungus/


All your podcast are my favorites!


<... Read More

TWiP 69 letters


Richard writes:


Hi Vincent and Dickson,


I enjoy TWIP, and often recommend it to my students. I'm a parasitologist, primarily a Leishmaniac, but I have learnt a lot from TWIP. I find it both more educational and entertaining than Car Talk.


The disc... Read More

India has been free of polio for three years

Three years ago today, on 13 January 2011, the last case of poliomyelitis was reported in India. This achievement represents a remarkable turnaround for a country where control of the disease had for years been extremely difficult. As recently as 2009 there were 741 confirmed cases of polio caus... Read More

TWiP 60 letters

Maureen writes:


Our vaccine unit here at NIH did a study of malaria vaccine with some promising results. I know Dickson has been a champion of conquering malaria.


http://www.scie... Read More

Discovery opens up new areas of microbiology, evolutionary biology

A team of researchers led by Virginia Tech and University of California, Berkeley, scientists has discovered that a regulatory process that turns on photosynthesis in plants at daybreak likely developed on Earth in ancient microbes 2.5 billion years ago, long before oxygen became available.

C... Read More

Study Shows How Staph Toxin Disarms the Immune System

Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered a new mechanism by which the deadly Staphylococcus aureus bacteria attack and kill off immune cells. Their findings, published today in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, explain a critical survival tactic of a pathogen that causes more ski... Read More

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