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Crowdsourced Microbes Heading to Station

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Microbes in Space

Microbes collected from Northern California and throughout the nation will soon blast into orbit for research and a microgravity growth competition on the International Space Station (ISS). This citizen science project, known as Project MERCCURI, is led by UC Davis microbiologists, who are inves... Read More

Two new weapons in the battle against bacteria

Proteases are vital proteins that serve for order within cells. They break apart other proteins, ensuring that these are properly synthesized and decomposed. Proteases are also responsible for the pathogenic effects of many kinds of bacteria. Now chemists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen ... Read More

CDC prepares for potential outbreak of deadly MERS virus

As the deadly MERS virus continues to infect people throughout the Middle East and Europe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has begun to prepare for the disease’s potential spread to the United States.
Currently, the U.S. has had no confirmed cases of the MERS virus, a respi... Read More

Thanks to Rare Alpine Bacteria, Researchers Identify One of Alcohol’s Key Gateways to the Brain

Thanks to a rare bacteria that grows only on rocks in the Swiss Alps, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the Pasteur Institute in France have been the first to identify how alcohol might affect key brain proteins.

It’s a major step on the road to eventually developing drugs ... Read More

New Drugs Use Cell "Garbage Disposal" to Kill Bacteria

A new class of molecules called acyldepsipeptides—ADEPs—may provide a new way to attack bacteria that have developed resistance to antibiotics.

Researchers have discovered a way to increase the potency of ADEPs by up to 1,200 times. Their findings appear in the Journal of the American Chemica... Read More

Physarum polycephalum

Physarum polycephalum, slime mold, grown in a large perti plate on moist paper towels using oatmeal as the food source. Culture was grown in the dark at room temperature. The paper towel was moistened every day with tap water. After 3 week’s the culture formed sporangia (fruiting bodies). Im... Read More

TWiV 267: Snow in the headlights



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Alan Dove, Read More

Mysterious Microscopic Bubbles Baffle Ocean Scientists

The most abundant photosynthetic organism in the world sheds countless little sacs into the oceans, which could be having a dramatic impact on marine ecosystems, according to a new study. These microbial buds contain proteins and genetic material, which may influence the growth of other marine m... Read More

TWiM 66 Letters

Neva writes:
You may have seen this. Thought you all might enjoy this header illustration from
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/artful-amoeba/2013/08/24/wonderful-things-the-hidden-beauty-of-the-horse-dung-fungus/


All your podcast are my favorites!


<... Read More

Antimicrobial from soaps promotes bacteria buildup in human noses

An antimicrobial agent found in common household soaps, shampoos and toothpastes may be finding its way inside human noses where it promotes the colonization of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and could predispose some people to infection. Researchers at the University of Michigan report their fi... Read More

TWiP 60 letters

Maureen writes:


Our vaccine unit here at NIH did a study of malaria vaccine with some promising results. I know Dickson has been a champion of conquering malaria.


http://www.scie... Read More

India has been free of polio for three years

Three years ago today, on 13 January 2011, the last case of poliomyelitis was reported in India. This achievement represents a remarkable turnaround for a country where control of the disease had for years been extremely difficult. As recently as 2009 there were 741 confirmed cases of polio caus... Read More

Discovery opens up new areas of microbiology, evolutionary biology

A team of researchers led by Virginia Tech and University of California, Berkeley, scientists has discovered that a regulatory process that turns on photosynthesis in plants at daybreak likely developed on Earth in ancient microbes 2.5 billion years ago, long before oxygen became available.

C... Read More

Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis hovers threateningly at Australia’s door

Hello dear TWIM'ers!

Firstly I would like to apologize in advance for my poor English skills since my native language is Portuguese. This past few years much has been the attention towards drug resistant bacteria. I am aware that a couple of your podcast touched this subject, but a few weeks ... Read More

Your Ethnicity Determines the Species of Bacteria that Live in Your Mouth

In recent years, scientists have found out all sorts of remarkable things about a group of creatures that are entirely invisible to the naked eye: the trillions of bacteria that colonize every surface of our bodies.

These organisms—collectively known as the microbiome—deeply affect our health... Read More

TWiP 69 letters


Richard writes:


Hi Vincent and Dickson,


I enjoy TWIP, and often recommend it to my students. I'm a parasitologist, primarily a Leishmaniac, but I have learnt a lot from TWIP. I find it both more educational and entertaining than Car Talk.


The disc... Read More

'Paleo Ale' Brewed From Yeast Found On A 40-Million-Year-Old Whale Fossil

A Virginia brewer soon plans to serve a beer made from yeast found hanging out on a 40-million-year-old whale fossil, the blog Symbiartic reports. Depending on your disposition, I imagine you're reacting in one of two ways right now, "Yecchh!" or "Cool!" The beer will be called Bone Dusters Pale... Read More

Study Shows How Staph Toxin Disarms the Immune System

Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered a new mechanism by which the deadly Staphylococcus aureus bacteria attack and kill off immune cells. Their findings, published today in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, explain a critical survival tactic of a pathogen that causes more ski... Read More

This Psychedelic Art Is Actually Bacteria

This swirling mass may look like some kind of LSD trip, but it's actually fractal artwork created using bacteria.

Produced by Eshel Ben-Jacob—a scientist-cum-artist at Tel Aviv University—the piece came about thanks to two strains of bacteria which grew together in interesting and weird ways.... Read More

Re-sensitizing Resistant Bacteria

Researchers use a protein-lipid complex found in human breast milk to increase the activity of otherwise-ineffective antibiotics against drug-resistant pathogens. A protein-lipid complex that naturally occurs in human breast milk can increase the sensitivity of methicillin-resistant Staphylococc... Read More

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