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On a Cellular Level, We Are ALL Overachievers!

In this blog post, I show a science-cartoon by the great "Beatrice the Biologist" that illustrates an important point in my freshman introductory cell and molecular biology course: no matter how tired we might be, we are incredibly busy on a cellular level! Beatrice is a fine artist who underst... Read More

How to give a great lecture

There are many elements that go into making a great lecture, but the most important one is to lose the notes. If you are giving lectures in a course at any level, the worst practice you can engage in is to rely on notes. This behavior is problematic for several reasons. You will not properly kno... Read More

1 in 25 patients gets infection in hospital

When antibiotics first started being used in the 1940's they were considered a "miracle drug". It seemed that bacterial infections would no longer be a problem for the world. However, recently, one gene is making it seem as though the end of antibiotics is at hand. This gene is New Delhi metallo... Read More

Research project studies fungi found in popular drink

A research project at Indiana State University into a popular packaged drink has found five types of fungus. Kathleen Dannelly, associate professor microbiology, said one previous study published online found only one fungus in Capri Sun, the popular drink manufactured by Kraft. However, the res... Read More

Battling Infection With Microbes

The human relationship with microbial life is complicated. At almost any supermarket, you can pick up both antibacterial soap and probiotic yogurt during the same shopping trip. Although there are types of bacteria that can make us sick, Caltech professor of biology and biological engineering Sa... Read More

To combat the overuse of antibacterials, stop using the absolutely terrible word, "antibiotic"

There are many reasons why bacteria evolve resistance to antibacterials, but one of the preventable reasons is the over-prescription of antibacterials to patients who don't have bacterial infections. But how to get people to stop asking for antibacterials? My suggestion is to stop using the wor... Read More

Resurrecting ancient microbes to understand evolution

When you hear the word “resurrection”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Religious miracles? Zombie viruses? The end of the world?

Whatever your mental association, I’m willing to bet it’s not “an emerging scientific discipline." Well, it just so happens a growing community of microb... Read More

Some of My Best Friends Are Germs

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

Bird flu researchers want to create deadly virus in lab

Researchers said Wednesday they want to create a lab version of a deadly emerging bird flu in order to study a strain that might be more infectious to people. Responding to past concerns about such research, the U.S. government said it will require extra safety measures.

The H7N9 bird flu vir... Read More

Using Wordcloud-Reponses to Discover How Students Perceive Concepts in the Classroom

In this blog, I share some "first word that comes to mind" responses of my freshman biology class to the words "germ," "bacteria," "cell," and "DNA." The way that we perceive an idea or concept definitely impacts our relationship with it. Thus, finding out what students think, coming into our ... Read More

HIV Epidemic in IDUs is at the Verge of Explosion in Pakistan

In Pakistan IDUs is the highest HIV infected risk group, mainly because of frequent sharing of contaminated needles, paid blood donations and unprotected commercial sex. These IDUs are serving as bridge to transfer the HIV to general population transmitting the virus to their wives and children.... Read More

New bacteria phylum discovered in hospital sink

Most of the life on Earth comes in the form of small, single-celled organisms. But even though we knew there was incredible diversity at the microbial level, these cells all look pretty similar under a microscope. For many of the bacterial species we've identified, the key step has been growing ... Read More

Sixth-Century Plague of Justinian Pandemic Was Caused By Yersinia Pestis Bacteria

It's easy to forget just how far medicine has progressed. While we may worry about the spread of infectious diseases like avian flu or meningitis today, those pathogens have nothing on fearsome pandemics in the distant past like the Plague of Justinian, which killed over 100 million people from ... Read More

Tamoxifen drug appears to kill fungus associated with deadly brain infection

The drug tamoxifen appears to kill a fungus associated with a deadly brain infection that afflicts HIV/AIDS patients, according to a University of Rochester study published online today by mBio, the journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Click on 'source' to read more. Read More

H7N9 more deadly than SARS: experts

The H7N9 strain of avian influenza is more lethal than the coronavirus that caused the global SARS outbreak in 2003, a National Taiwan University Hospital doctor said.

Citing a University of Hong Kong report, Huang Li-min, head of the hospital’s Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, sa... Read More

A Virus Shield That Protects Us From Our Own Bacteria

There has been a lot of news lately about the bacteria living in our gut—the human gut microbiome. Researchers are learning which bacteria live there, who is naughty and who is nice and even a somewhat distasteful way to replace naughty with nice (a fecal transplant).

What gets lost in all of... Read More

Instagerms: A Photographer's Strangely Beautiful Portaits of His Own Bacteria

We’ve seen so many different ways to create a self-portrait, but nothing on this scale before.

Erno-Erik Raitanen cheekily refers to his latest project as a series of self-portraits, but they don’t actually resemble the photographer himself, as much as they do a stoner’s screensaver or a Flam... Read More

Dueling Infections: Parasitic Worms Limit the Effects of Giardia, and Vice Versa

If the idea of hookworms makes you shudder, consider this: Those pesky intestinal parasites may actually help your body ward off other infections, and perhaps even prevent autoimmune and other diseases.

Studying members of the Tsimane, an indigenous population in the lowlands of Central Boliv... Read More

New Spray Ends Ride for Microbes

When you peer through the smear on the screen of your smartphone, thousands of tiny microbes are staring back at you, waiting to hitch a ride on your fingertips.

Harmful microbes lurk everywhere — doorknobs and faucets, locker rooms and hospitals. It's enough to make a germophobe afraid to to... Read More

Breeding Bacteria on Factory Farms

The story of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in farm animals is not a simple one. But here’s the pitch version: Yet another study has reinforced the idea that keeping animals in confinement and feeding them antibiotics prophylactically breeds varieties of bacteria that cause disease in humans, dis... Read More

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