In its native state, according to the CDC, the H5N1 flu virus is highly contagious and is especially deadly to birds. Fortunately, few people have contracted this strain of flu as it's quite deadly in people as well. Luckily, there have been very few cases of transmission of the virus between pe... Read More
There’s been a recent surge in cases of the avian influenza A (H7N9) viral infection in China. As of this morning, there have been over a hundred reported cases and more than twenty deaths. The virus’ relatively sudden appearance in April, usually considered the end of flu season in the northern... Read More
A vaccine created to treat a gut bacteria common in children with autism could also help control some symptoms of the neural development disorder, according to new research published in this month’s edition of the journal Vaccine.
Researchers Brittany Pequegnat and Mario Monteiro of the Unive... Read More
Kal Penn has a pretty unusual resume: He has starred in Harold and Kumar, the most successful series of stoner movies made in the past decade; and has served in the White House as the Obama administration's liaison to youth. Now he's hosting a new show, The Big Brain Theory, on the Discovery Cha... Read More
The H7N9 strain of avian influenza is more lethal than the coronavirus that caused the global SARS outbreak in 2003, a National Taiwan University Hospital doctor said.
Citing a University of Hong Kong report, Huang Li-min, head of the hospital’s Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, sa... Read More
Researchers have confirmed that the A H7N9 bird flu virus, which began in February 2013, was transmitted from chickens at a wet poultry market to humans, according to a new study published in the The Lancet.
Wet markets, which are common in Asian countries, are live animal markets.
A H7N9 ... Read More
In this blog post, I describe a simple "colony transformation" experiment I have done with my freshman students, illustrating transformation, antibiotic resistance, and GFP. The visual aspects help drive home the points effectivel. Read More
Virologist Hilary Koprowski died on 11 April 2013 at the age of 96. His main accomplishments are nicely summarized in the New York Times, but for a more comprehensive overview of his life, I highly recommend his biography Listen to the Music by Roger Vaughan. I did not have many opportunities to... Read More
Researchers have uncovered details of a mechanism that bacteria use to avoid the effects of antibiotics, which could pave the way for developing new drugs to counteract antibiotic resistance.
The discovery, from researchers at Durham University and the University of Birmingham, gives the firs... Read More
The microbial population in the air of the New York City subway system is nearly identical to that of ambient air on the city streets. This research, published ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, establishes an important baseline, should it become necessary to m... Read More
Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, have identified the structure of a critical RSV component called the fusion glycoprotein.
Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a respiratory virus that infects th... Read More
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
For the second time in a matter of weeks, a group of researchers reported a link between the food people eat and bacteria in the intestines that can increase the risk of heart attacks.
Two weeks ago, the investigators reported that carnitine, a compound found in red meat, can increase heart d... Read More
One widely-used tactic for defense against phage and other mobile genetic elements is to deploy a CRISPR-Cas system (click here and here) to recognize and chop them into pieces. Based on sequenced genomes, 60% of Bacteria and 90% of Archaea have the wherewithal to dispatch invaders this way. But... Read More
As the death toll from China's bird flu outbreak rose to 22 with news of another victim in eastern Zhejiang Province, the World Health Organization warned the H7N9 virus was one of the most lethal that doctors and medical investigators had faced in recent years.
"This is an unusually dangerou... Read More
Researchers from the University of Tübingen have been able to show for the first time how microorganisms contributed to the formation of the world's biggest iron ore deposits. The biggest known deposits -- in South Africa and Australia -- are geological formations billions of years old. They are... Read More
Back when the Time Lord and I were still engaged, we went shopping for wedding rings. He only had one criteria: he wanted his ring to be made of platinum or a similar material forged in a supernova. It’s not quite as exotic as it sounds: most heavy elements were formed in supernovae, via a proce... Read More
New scientific research published today in the journal PLoS Biology shows that bacteria can evolve resistance more quickly when stronger antibiotics are used.
Researchers from the University of Exeter and Kiel University in Germany treated E. coli with different combinations of antibiotics in... Read More