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High rate of Texas bugs carrying Chagas disease

A deadly parasite that causes Chagas disease is widespread in a common Texas insect, according to a new study by University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) researchers. The finding suggests that the risk of Texans contracting the disease may be higher than previously thought. Read More

In very ill, probiotics don't prevent 'superbugs' from colonizing intestinal tract

Compared with routine medical care, probiotics administered to critically ill patients in intensive care units showed no benefit in preventing the colonization of drug-resistant microbes in the intestinal tract, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Read More

THESE YEAST CELLS SAY ‘HI’ AND OTHERS RESPOND

Scientists have engineered yeast cells that can “talk” to one another using a versatile plant hormone called auxin.

Typically, these simple fungal cells (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) usually do their jobs—making bread rise or converting sugar into alcohol—without having to communicate or work to... Read More

Chip-based technology enables reliable direct detection of Ebola virus

A team led by researchers at UC Santa Cruz has developed chip-based technology for reliable detection of Ebola virus and other viral pathogens. The system uses direct optical detection of viral molecules and can be integrated into a simple, portable instrument for use in field situations where r... Read More

Fungi at root of plant drugs that can help, or harm, sick monarch butterflies

Previously, biologists at Emory University and the University of Michigan discovered that butterflies use plant toxins as a drug to cure their offspring of parasitic infections. Now they've dug a little deeper and found that the fungi associated with the roots of milkweed plants change both the ... Read More

Viruses thrive in big families, in sickness and in health

SALT LAKE CITY - The BIG LoVE (Utah Better Identification of Germs-Longitudinal Viral Epidemiology) study, led by scientists at the University of Utah School of Medicine, finds that each bundle of joy puts the entire household at increased risk for infection with viruses that cause colds, flu, a... Read More

Simple intervention can moderate anti-vaccination beliefs, study finds

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- It might not be possible to convince someone who believes that vaccines cause autism that they don't. Telling skeptics that their belief is not scientifically supported often backfires - strengthening, rather than weakening, their anti-vaccine views. But researchers say they h... Read More

New resource makes gene-editing technology even more user friendly

Researchers at Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego, have developed a new user-friendly resource to accompany the powerful gene editing tool called CRISPR/Cas9, which has been widely adopted to make precise, targeted changes in DNA. This breakthrough has the potential t... 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

Agar Double Helix

Inspired by the current Agar Art Contest and the gorgeous red of a recently isolated Serratia, I thought I'd try out my first bacteria "sketch." Using Serratia, Citrobacter, and an E. coli on Hektoen Agar I whipped up this goey DNA double helix! 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

New method to treat antibiotic resistant MRSA: Bacteriophages

MRSA is bad news. If you've never heard of it, here's what you need to know: It's pronounced MER-suh, it's a nasty bacterial infection and it can cause serious disease and death. 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

Vaccination on the horizon for severe viral infection of the brain

Researchers from the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich reveal possible new treatment methods for a rare, usually fatal brain disease. Thanks to their discovery that specific antibodies play a key role in combating the viral infection, a vaccine against the disease "progress... 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

Tiny Ocean Microbes are Brightening Up the Sky

Phytoplankton may be microscopic, but that doesn’t mean we can’t see them. Just look up: These little critters are brightening up cloudy days around the world. 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

GUT TRANSIT TIME CHANGES WITH ‘TRAVELER’S DIET’

To better understand the importance of gut bacteria in human health, researchers measured the time it takes food to move through the gastrointestinal tract, called gut motility, in mice—in a way that mimics the dietary effects of world travel. Read More

Stopping Candida in its tracks

Scientists are one step closer to understanding how a normally harmless fungus changes to become a deadly infectious agent. Read More

Great wave off Candida

Candida albicans is a yeast species that is part of the commensal microbiota of the body. Weakened or impaired immune system can lead to yeast infections mostly produced by Candida albicans, although other species like Candida parapsilosis, Candida glabrata and Candida tropicalis among others ar... Read More
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