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Contaminant snowman

Some holiday fun from last winter composed of different collected plate contaminants. Based on colony morphology and wet mounts, these bacteria are likely to be: Staphylococcus sp. (white), Serratia marcescens (dark orange), and Micrococcus luteus (creamy yellow). The design was incubated for 5-... Read More

"Never Really Alone" with Seth Bordenstein (Including Current News!)

This blog post describes a "video meeting" between Seth Bordenstein and my freshman writing class in the Fall of 2014. My freshman class revolved around ideas in symbioses and parasitism, so Seth's ideas regarding holobionts and the hologenome were particularly apt. Furthermore, last week Seth... Read More

Prion trials and tribulations: Finding the right tools and experimental models

Prions are fascinating, enigmatic, and might teach us not only about rare prion diseases like Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, mad cow disease, or scrapie, but also about other more common neurodgenerative diseases. Two studies published on July 2nd in PLOS Pathogens report progress with novel tools an... Read More

Stanford researchers genetically engineer yeast to produce opioids

For thousands of years, people have used yeast to ferment wine, brew beer and leaven bread. Now researchers at Stanford have genetically engineered yeast to make painkilling medicines, a breakthrough that heralds a faster and potentially less expensive way to produce many different types of pla... Read More

It takes a village... to ward off dangerous infections? New microbiome research suggests so

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Like a collection of ragtag villagers fighting off an invading army, the mix of bacteria that live in our guts may band together to keep dangerous infections from taking hold, new research suggests. Read More

New Use for Well-known Algae

Shock! Horror! Some treasured molecular paleoenvironmental tools of organic biogeochemists—namely the alkenones, an esoteric group of long-chained compounds made by aquatic microalgae—are being put forward by O’Neil et al.1 as candidates for conversion to jet fuel on an industrial scale! (See... Read More

New understanding of genetic susceptibility to infections by Candida and Mycobacterium

The discovery of bi-allelic mutations in RORC in patients with candidiasis and mycobacteriosis revealed the pivotal role of RORC in mucocutaneous immunity to Candida and in systemic immunity to Mycobacterium in humans. Read More

Detecting HIV diagnostic antibodies with DNA nanomachines

New research may revolutionize the slow, cumbersome and expensive process of detecting the antibodies that can help with the diagnosis of infectious and auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and HIV. An international team of researchers have designed and synthetized a nanometer-scale... Read More

Chickenpox vaccination does increase shingles cases, but mainly in young adults

Vaccinating one-year-olds against chickenpox could temporarily nearly double the incidence of shingles in the wider population, but in younger adults than previously thought. Read More

How I Became a Microbial Supremacist...

In this third installment of my "Mu-Tube" video series about microbiology and microbiology education, I discuss how I was initially labeled a "microbial supremacist" as a joke, and then embraced the title with enthusiasm. I also show many examples of the microbiology-related art I use to encour... Read More

What's lurking in your lungs? Surprising findings emerge from U-M microbiome research

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- With every breath you take, microbes have a chance of making it into your lungs. But what happens when they get there? And why do dangerous lung infections like pneumonia happen in some people, but not others? Read More

Scripps research-designed drug candidate significantly reduces HIV reactivation rate

HIV-infected patients remain on antiretroviral therapy for life because the virus survives over the long-term in infected dormant cells. Interruption of current types of antiretroviral therapy results in a rebound of the virus and clinical progression to AIDS. Read More


New research shows that epidemics of dengue—caused by a mosquito-borne virus—across southeast Asia appear to be linked to the abnormally high temperatures brought by the El Niño weather phenomenon. Read More

Evolutionary war between microorganisms affecting human health, IU biologist says

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Health experts have warned for years that the overuse of antibiotics is creating "superbugs" able to resist drugs treating infection. Read More

Stopping malaria in its tracks

A new drug acts as a roadblock for malaria, curing mice of established infection, according to a study in The Journal of Experimental Medicine. Treatment was not associated with obvious side effects, suggesting that the drug may also be safe and effective in humans. Read More

Expression of a single gene lets scientists easily grow hepatitis C virus in the lab

Worldwide, 185 million people have chronic hepatitis C. Since the late 1980s, when scientists discovered the virus that causes the infection, they have struggled to find ways to grow it in human cells in the lab -- an essential part of learning how the virus works and developing new effective tr... Read More

Single dose Ebola vaccine is safe and effective in monkeys against outbreak strain

National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists report that a single dose of an experimental Ebola virus (EBOV) vaccine completely protects cynomolgus macaques against the current EBOV outbreak strain, EBOV-Makona, when given at least seven days before exposure, and partially protects them if giv... Read More

Researchers develop world's most sensitive test to detect infectious disease, superbugs

Infectious diseases such as hepatitis C and some of the world's deadliest superbugs--C. difficile and MRSA among them--could soon be detected much earlier by a unique diagnostic test, designed to easily and quickly identify dangerous pathogens. Read More


Simple stain done on an unknown bacteria, showing feathery rhizoid growth on TSA after a 48 hr incubation at 37 degree’s C, isolated from a floor swab. Single bacillus and diplobacillus can be seen though out. Read More

Why West Nile virus is more dangerous in the elderly

West Nile virus (WNV) is particularly dangerous in older people, who account for a large number of severe cases and deaths caused by the virus. WNV infection turns serious when the virus crosses the blood-brain-barrier and wreaks havoc among nerve cells in the brain. A study published on July 23... Read More
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