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Freshman Symbiosis Course and Jack Gilbert!

As my Fall semester approaches, I am reflecting on last Fall. I taught a freshman seminar course revolving around symbioses and parasitism, and was fortunate to have many well known scientists be willing to "virtually visit" my class! Here is my report from last year on the great Jack Gilbert.... Read More

Swarming Motility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Strain: Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14
Medium: M8 minimal medium agar plates
Incubation Conditions: 48 hours at 37°C
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a gram-negative, rod-shaped and monoflagellated bacterium that has an incredible nutritional versatility. Swarming motility, a flagellum-dependent behavi... Read More

Biologist investigates how gene-swapping bacteria evade antibiotics

A scientific peek into bacteria boudoirs is revealing how "sex" among disease-causing microbes can lead different species or strains to become resistant to antibiotic medications. Read More

Unknown Organism on Hand Print #2

Unknown organism seen on a hand print after washing with soap and water grown on a TSA plate for 24 hrs, room temperature for a day and several days at refrigerated temp. Organism was a pale yellow with raised rhizoid growth in the center some of it matt and some mucoid, edges were undulate. Read More

Plague infected humans much earlier than previously thought

Plague infections were common in humans 3,300 years earlier than the historical record suggests, reports a study published October 22 in Cell. By sequencing the DNA of tooth samples from Bronze Age individuals from Europe and Asia, the researchers discovered evidence of plague infections roughly... Read More

The next anti-tuberculosis drug may already be in your local pharmacy

Testing thousands of approved drugs, EPFL scientists have identified an unlikely anti-tuberculosis drug: the over-the-counter antacid lansoprazole (Prevacid®). Read More

UGA researchers develop breakthrough tools in fight against cryptosporidium

Athens, Ga. - Researchers at the University of Georgia have developed new tools to study and genetically manipulate cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. Their discoveries, published in the journal Nature, will ultimately help researchers in... Read More

How long have primates been infected with viruses related to HIV?

Disease-causing viruses engage their hosts in ongoing arms races: positive selection for antiviral genes increases host fitness and survival, and viruses in turn select for mutations that counteract the antiviral host factors. Studying such adaptive mutations can provide insights into the distan... Read More

Chestnut leaves yield extract that disarms deadly staph bacteria

Leaves of the European chestnut tree contain ingredients with the power to disarm dangerous staph bacteria without boosting its drug resistance, scientists have found. Read More

Cooties Catcher/Hand print

I was asked to consult on a hand print experiment done in a public school in NY showing what grows on our hands and the importance of hand washing....did not know I was going to be in it. A nice start to finish hand print "experiment" in a short 2 min video. Note: 1). I was not consulted on th... Read More

E. coli more virulent when accompanied by beneficial bacteria

Scientists wonder why some people get so sick and even die after being infected by the foodborne pathogen E.coli O157:H7, while others experience much milder symptoms and recover relatively quickly. Now Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences researchers believe they have discovered an exp... Read More

A Green Thumb for Ocean Microbes

MIT-WHOI Graduate student Kristen Hunter-Cevera describes the challenges and obstacles involved with growing marine microbes (in her case, Synechococcus) in a laboratory setting, and outlines the value of her research in understanding marine biogeochemistry. Read More

Listeria monocytogenes on chromogenic agar

It's Friday and I can finally enjoy the beach! So I thought it would be nice to reflect my excitement at work growing this happy Listeria monocytogenes ;) Read More

Diarrhea in cats

Barbara Hinney and her colleagues from the Institute for Parasitology at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, screened 298 faecal samples taken from cats across Austria for single-cell intestinal parasites, so called enteric protozoa. The samples came from private households, catteries... Read More

ASM GM 2014 - Where Pathogens Can Linger on Airplanes

Many air travelers are concerned about the risks of catching a disease from other passengers given the long time spent in crowded air cabins. New research shows disease-causing bacteria can linger on surfaces commonly found in airplane cabins for days, even up to a week. Participants discuss ... Read More

NIH-funded study establishes genomic data set on Lassa virus

An international team of researchers has developed the largest genomic data set in the world on Lassa virus (LASV). The new genomic catalog contains nearly 200 viral genomes collected from patient samples in Sierra Leone and Nigeria, as well as field samples from the major animal reservoir, or h... Read More

Interrupting the transmission cycle: A protein required for dengue virus infection of mosquitoes

There is currently no approved specific treatment or vaccine for dengue fever, and an estimated 2 billion people are at risk for being bitten by Aedes mosquitoes and infected with the dengue virus (DENV). A study published on October 22nd in PLOS Pathogens introduces a candidate target for a tra... Read More

Mannitol Salt Agar (MSA)

Mannitol Salt Agar (MSA)
•Important Ingredients: Phenol red, mannitol (sugar), 7.5% NaCl
•Differential: between pathogenic S. aureus and S. epidermidis
•Selective: NaCl inhibits non-halophilic organisms. Organism that can grow are halophilic.
•Mannitol Fermentors: fermentation of acid cau... Read More

Lipid Agar

Lipid Plate/Tributyrin Agar used to test for an organisms ability to produce the exoenzyme lipase which breaks down the lipids in the agar creating a clear zone around the organism. (A) Serratia marcesens, lipid hydrolysis, indicated by a zone of clearing around the growing colony, as well as th... Read More

Hibernating bats mount a partial immune response against white nose fungus

White-nose syndrome (WNS), an invasive skin infection caused by the Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) fungus has killed millions of bats since it was first seen in North America in 2007. A analysis of gene expression in hibernating bats infected with the destructive fungus published on October 1... Read More
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