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Microorganisms reside everywhere, yet they are too small to be seen with the human eye. New York City (NYC) is a melting pot of cultures - both human and microbial - and every citizen has a personalized microbiome. Collectively, we shape NYC’s microbiome by our lifestyle choices, and this unseen... Read More

Toxoplasma parasite's greedy appetite may be its downfall

Toxoplasma gondii is estimated to chronically infect nearly one-third of the world's population, causing the condition Toxoplasmosis. It is most commonly associated with handling cat feaces and is a particular threat to pregnant women and immune-compromised individuals, such as HIV/AIDS patients... 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

Mining Marine Microbes for New Drugs

This slideshow outlines the work of WHOI scientists Tracy Mincer and Kristen Whalen in the quest to beat antibiotic resistance through bioprospecting in the ocean. Read More


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

Cell to Cell

Bacteria were 'painted' on agar and sealed in epoxy. Work by Maria Penil in the Berkmen lab 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

Halloween microbes

Strep agalactiae (Group B Strep) streaked out on Granada plates. Usually this media is used to screen for Group B in pregnant patients, the strep will grow as bright orange colonies while any other growth will be colorless. Perfect for a little Halloween fun...follow me on instagram @stylish_str... 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harvest Season

Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a species of yeast. It is the active agent responsible for our most basic foods - bread, wine, and beer since ancient civilizations. It has been long since humans have tried to understand how to make them more productive. However, it was not until the Genomic Era that... 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

"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
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