In the event of an infection, the immune system releases messenger substances. These molecules can either activate immune cells to defeat invading pathogens, or inhibit them to prevent an excessive immune reaction. For this, the immune system has to decide very quickly what mixture of activating... Read More
The 1918 Spanish flu epidemic was caused by an influenza A (H1N1) virus.
Responsible for more deaths during World War I than all the bombs, bullets, poison gases, & artillery shells used, it killed more than 500,000 people in the United States, and up to 50 million worldwide.
The possible so... Read More
Smallpox is a serious, highly contagious, and sometimes fatal infectious viral disease. There is no specific treatment for smallpox disease, and the only prevention is a smallpox vaccination. Read More
"Drug firms 'encouraged world health body to exaggerate swine flu threat'," screamed Britain's Daily Mail newspaper on June 4. "2 European reports criticize WHO's H1N1 pandemic guidelines as tainted," headlined The Washington Post the next day. To judge from media coverage last week, a major sc... Read More
This image depicts the quantitative difference in hemolytic reactivity seen in a trypticase soy agar culture plate containing 5% sheep’s blood growing group-D Streptococci (left wedge), group-B Streptococci (middle wedge), and group-A Streptococci (right wedge) bacteria. This plate was grown u... Read More
How safe is the food we get from restaurants, cafeterias and other food-service providers? A new study from North Carolina State University -- the first study to place video cameras in commercial kitchens to see how precisely food handlers followed food-safety guidelines -- discovered that risky... Read More
Purdue University scientists have improved a strain of yeast that can produce more biofuel from cellulosic plant material by fermenting all five types of the plant's sugars.
Nathan Mosier, an associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering; Miroslav Sedlak, a research assistant... Read More
Any gardener has seen it happen. One plant in the backyard thrives, while its neighbor of the same species is plagued with infection. Why?
One reason may be genetic. Researchers have discovered that more resistant mouse ear cress plants have a variant of a gene known as ACD6. Plants with thi... Read More
Tuberculosis (TB) is an enormous global public health problem. Migration and failure by governments and the public health community to adequately treat and prevent TB among migrants is an important barrier to TB control.
To reduce the incidence, spread and severity of tuberculosis, government... Read More
Traditionally, biology is about taking apart things like cells to better understand them. For the geneticist George M. Church, the main objective is to put the pieces back together.
Strolling through his laboratory, one of the larger ones at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Church, 56, points out... Read More
Science blogger Cesar Sanchez of the site Twisted Bacteria (twistedbacteria.blogspot.com) reviews the American Society for Microbiology's use of social media during their general meeting and also highlights several tweets coming from attendees:
"Lots of conferences and meetings on science-rel... Read More
Magnified 1125X, this photomicrograph revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by the dematiaceous (pigmented) filamentous fungus, Phialophora richardsiae.
Note the septate hyphae from which sprout the short conidiophores, and still further distally one can see the flask-shap... Read More
Microbial communities in the Gulf of Mexico have surely been impacted by the oil disaster over the last couple of weeks. Labs are now beginning to assess the damage done by collecting water onto filter membranes and shipping the filters back to their labs for DNA analysis.
A frequent question... Read More
While its widespread application in law enforcement is still years away, scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder have developed a technique that can match the “personal” bacteria on an individual’s hands and fingers with bacteria deposited on computer keyboards and mice. Once perfecte... Read More
Researchers at McGill's department of natural resources, the National Research Council of Canada, the University of Toronto and the SETI Institute have discovered that methane-eating bacteria survive in a highly unique spring located on Axel Heiberg Island in Canada's extreme North. Dr. Lyle Why... Read More
Nashvillians who lived during the 1918 flu virus could save lives if the world were hit with a similar deadly pandemic.
The 1918 virus, known as the Spanish influenza, claimed at least 50 million lives worldwide and wiped out 5 percent of the U.S. population. More than 13,000 Tennesseans died... Read More
Scientists at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), a biomedical research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and their colleagues from the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and Princeton Uni... Read More
Microbes are certainly being exposed to oil in the Gulf—both on the surface and at depth—and they are the first responders. Although many microbiologists naturally are interested in the identities of the oil degrading bacteria, this is of less relevance than the chemical changes the mixed microb... Read More
Three-dimensional imaging is dramatically expanding the ability of researchers to examine biological specimens, enabling a peek into their internal structures. And recent advances in X-ray diffraction methods have helped extend the limit of this approach.
While significant progress has been ... Read More
Researchers have discovered components of the bovine mastitis-causing bacterium, Streptococcus uberis that play a key role in the disease. This discovery could lead the way to finally developing a vaccine for this endemic disease, which costs UK farmers alone nearly £200M per year, requires the ... Read More