A long-forgotten candidate for antiviral therapy is undergoing a renaissance: Since the 1970s, the small molecule CMA has been considered a potent agent against viral infections, yet it was never approved for clinical use. Scientists at the Bonn University Hospital have now deciphered how the mo... Read More
A new study led by researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the UK has, for the first time, used genome sequencing technology to track the changes in a bacterial population following the introduction of a vaccine. The study follows how th... Read More
On this Mothers' Day, I reflect on the role my late mother had on my own decision to become a scientist. We all owe are mothers a great deal, and not just for the mitochondria! So hurray for mothers everywhere! Read More
What do cancer cells, weeds, and pathogens have in common? They all evolve resistance to the treatments that are supposed to eliminate them. However, researchers developing the next generation of antibiotics, herbicides, and anti-cancer therapeutics rarely come together to explore the common evo... Read More
Robert Koch is one of the key figures in early bacteriology, helping develop culture techniques (e.g. solid media), critical reasoning (e.g. Koch’s postulates), and disease etiology (e.g. cholera and tuberculosis). He also published the first photomicrographs of bacteria (Figure 1A) in his 1877 ... Read More
Researchers have identified the dose of dengue virus in human blood that is required to infect mosquitoes when they bite. Mosquitoes are essential for transmitting the virus between people, so the findings have important implications for understanding how to slow the spread of the disease.
By... Read More
In my newest blog post, I discuss how taking a "beginner's mind" approach leads to creativity, real learning, and enthusiasm. I tie together Suzuki's "Beginner's Mind" concept with Elio Schaechter's "Talmudic Questions," and give an example from one of my first seminars. Read More
It may well be snowing where you live, but if you're in the Northern Hemisphere, spring isn't far off. Spring means flowers. And what is a flower to a microbiologist? It's a niche.
Yes, flowers are a microbial habitat like any other, and though they start out with few microbial members, these ... Read More
In peer-reviewed study, the accuracy and speed of Bruker's Biotyper analyzer integrated into a comprehensive antibiotic stewardship program reduced hospital stays by days & per patient costs substantially. A co-author of a groundbreaking study documenting reductions in patient length of stay an... Read More
An increasing number of bacteria is evolving antibiotic resistance. Much-feared representatives of this steadily growing group include Staphylococci strains. At this point, multi-resistant forms of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus - the "hospital germ" known commonly by its acronym, MRSA - ca... Read More
As many San Franciscans have noticed, sourdough bread stays fresher longer than the regular stuff. Sourdough’s extended freshness is due to extra fermentation that traps more moisture in the dough. But now we know that sourdough’s longevity is also because it can ward off mold. Because bacteria ... Read More
An important predictor of the severity of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants may be what their mothers ate during pregnancy.
Fernando Polack, M.D., Cesar Milstein Professor of Pediatrics, is lead author of an article in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine... Read More
Vincent Racaniello of Columbia University did groundbreaking research on reconstructing the DNA of viruses (sort of like microbial Jurassic Park). The method was used to re-create the spectacularly lethal influenza behind the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, which killed between 50 and 100 million peo... Read More
Over the past year, a viral infection has infected 15 people — killing nine. All lived in the Middle East or Britain. The novel germ doe not yet have a formal name. It causes pneumonia, a type of severe lung infection. On Feb. 27, scientists from around the world met in Washington, D.C., to shar... Read More
I can tell you the exact date that I began to think of myself in the first-person plural — as a superorganism, that is, rather than a plain old individual human being. It happened on March 7. That’s when I opened my e-mail to find a huge, processor-choking file of charts and raw data from a labo... Read More
I have been asked recently to write an article, somewhat along the lines of this one but longer, and with a somewhat different angle, asking a little bit different questions: What makes a science blog? Who were the first science bloggers and how long ago? How many science blogs are there? How do... Read More
Not long ago, Elio said in this blog that predation, a major force in evolution, is somewhat neglected in microbiological circles. The full implications of predation are just beginning to be uncovered as more becomes known about the ecology, physiology, and genomics of predators against microbes... Read More
A potentially lethal fungal infection appears to gain virulence by being able to anticipate and disarm a hostile immune attack in the lungs, according to findings by researchers at Duke Medicine.
Defense mechanisms used by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans enable it to lead to fatal meningit... Read More
Community ecologist Sunshine Van Bael of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama details her work and role in understanding the world's first known farmers leafcutter ants, plant-insect-fungal interactions, endophytic fungi, and their dynamic relationships with the surrounding envi... Read More