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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

Mycobacterium smegmatis

Streak plate of Mycobacterium smegmatis grown on TSA for 96 hrs. 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

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

Helicobacter fennelliae from blood culture

Helicobacter is a Gram-negative rod with a helical shape on gram stain. The most known strain is H. pylori, which causes ulcers and chronic gastritis and is said to affect up to 50% of the human population. This particular strain, Helicobacter fennelliae is most commonly found in the feces an... 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

Ice Nucleation Bacteria, Twitter, and Me!

In this post from my microbiology/education blog, I discuss a post on Boing Boing recently that used a video I had made of ice nucleation bacteria. Ice nucleation bacteria are very interesting of course, and I link to the Boing Boing post. In addition, I provide an additional video of students... 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

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

Streptococcus pneumoniae mucoid strain

Streptococcus pneumoniae cells are Gram-positive, lancet-shaped cocci. Usually, they are seen as pairs of cocci, but they may also occur singly and in short chains. In this photo a mucoid strain on blood agar showing alpha hemolysis (green zone surrounding colonies). Note the zone of inhibition ... 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 Art Contest 2015

This picture depicts that microbes too can add colours to life. As the beginning of a New Year adds colour to life. This agar art shows how microbes like serratia marcescens, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus Citrus add to happiness of new year and too add colours to life. Read More

Tube morphology

Three organisms inoculated in TSB to look at tube morphology. From left to right:
Staphylococcus aureus: flocculent growth/turbid, growth throughout the tube.
Mycobacterium smegmatis: pellicle, growth at the top of the tube. M. smegmatis tends to stick to the tube and grow up the side.
Ba... 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

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

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

D- Zone Test for phenotypic detection of Inducible clindamycin Resistance

A positive D test indicates that the presence of macrolide-inducible resistance to clindamycin produced by an inducible methylase enzyme that alters the common ribosomal binding site for macrolides, clindamycin and the group B streptogrammins (quinupristin). This cross-resistance, called the ML... 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

H1N1 Influenza Virus Particles

Colorized transmission electron micrograph showing H1N1 influenza virus particles. Surface proteins on the virus particles are shown in black. Credit: National Institutes of Health/Department of Health and Human Services (NIAID). Read More
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