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Evolution of whooping cough bacterium could reduce vaccine effectiveness

The bacterium that causes whooping cough, Bordetella pertussis, has changed – most likely in response to the vaccine used to prevent the disease – with a possible reduced effectiveness of the vaccine as a result, a new study shows.

A UNSW-led team of researchers analysed strains of Bordetella... Read More

Some immune cells defend only one organ

Scientists have uncovered a new way the immune system may fight cancers and viral infections. The finding could aid efforts to use immune cells to treat illness. The research, in mice, suggests that some organs have the immunological equivalent of “neighborhood police” – specialized squads of de... Read More

TWiV 281: The Salk legacy with Peter L. Salk



Host: Vincent Racaniello


Guest: Peter L. Salk


Vincent meets up with Peter L. Salk to talk about development of the fir... Read More

Engineers design ‘living materials’ - Hybrid materials combine bacterial cells with nonliving elements that can conduct electricity or emit light

Inspired by natural materials such as bone — a matrix of minerals and other substances, including living cells — MIT engineers have coaxed bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots.

These “living materials” combin... Read More

Scientists develop world’s first light-activated antimicrobial surface that also works in the dark

Researchers at UCL have developed a new antibacterial material which has potential for cutting hospital acquired infections. The combination of two simple dyes with nanoscopic particles of gold is deadly to bacteria when activated by light - even under modest indoor lighting. And in a first for ... Read More

New 'gut bacteria' clinical study could help reduce side-effects of radiotherapy

Researchers will examine the role of gut bacteria in influencing the side-effects patients experience after radiotherapy, in the first clinical study of its type.

The study will be carried out by researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Tru... Read More

Hide and Seek: Revealing camouflaged bacteria

Bacteria have developed countless strategies to hide themselves in order to evade attack by the immune system. In the body, Salmonella bacteria use macrophages as host cells to ensure their survival and to be able to spread within the body. Their survival strategy is to nestle into a vacuole wit... Read More

The Way You’re Born Can Mess With the Microbes You Need to Survive

Throughout the animal kingdom, mothers transfer microbes to their young while giving birth. Different species of tadpoles acquire specific skin bacteria from mother frogs even though they all live in the same pond with the same bacterial background. Emerging chicken eggs get inoculated with micr... Read More

Rotavirus Activates Lymphocytes from Non-Obese Diabetic Mice by Triggering Toll-Like Receptor 7 Signaling and Interferon Production in Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells

It has been proposed that rotavirus infection promotes the progression of genetically-predisposed children to type 1 diabetes, a chronic autoimmune disease marked by infiltration of activated lymphocytes into pancreatic islets. Non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice provide a model for the human disease.... Read More

Progress in understanding immune response in severe schistosomiasis

A mechanism that may help explain the severe forms of schistosomiasis, or snail fever, has been discovered by researchers. Schistosomiasis is one of the most prevalent parasitic diseases in the world. The study in mice may also offer targets for intervention and amelioration of the disease. Alth... Read More

The malaria pathogen’s cellular skeleton under a super-microscope

The tropical disease malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite. For its survival and propagation, Plasmodium requires a protein called actin. Scientists of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Germany used high-resolution structural biology methods to investigate the different... Read More

Oral Bacteria and Cancer

Over a number of years, epidemiological studies established several well-defined risk factors for cancer, including age, heredity, diet, tobacco use, chronic viral infections, and inflammation. Paradoxically, the success of these studies left little room for incorporation of any new factors or c... Read More

Ancient whodunit may be solved: The microbes did it!

Methane-producing microbes may be responsible for the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history.

Evidence left at the crime scene is abundant and global: Fossil remains show that sometime around 252 million years ago, about 90 percent of all species on Earth were suddenly wiped out — by far ... Read More

Molecule discovered that smuggles toxins from intestinal pathogens into human cells

Prof. Dr. Dr. Klaus Aktories and Dr. Panagiotis Papatheodorou from the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Freiburg have discovered the receptor responsible for smuggling the toxin of the bacterium Clostridium perfringens into the cell. The Tpe... Read More

Bacterial Gut Biome May Guide Colon Cancer Progression

Colorectal cancer develops in what is probably the most complex environment in the human body, a place where human cells cohabitate with a colony of approximately 10 trillion bacteria, most of which are unknown. At the 2014 American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in San Diego, re... Read More

Antibiotics improve growth in children

Antibiotics improve growth in children at risk of undernourishment in low and middle income countries, according to researchers at McGill University who have just conducted a research literature review on the subject. Their results, published in the British Medical Journal, suggest that the youn... Read More

Who cheats and who eats? An evolutionary conundrum.

Say what you will about our other vices, human beings did not invent cheating. Microbes have been doing it for billions of years. You see, for microbes, cheating can sometimes be an evolutionary advantage. And this can cause it to get out of hand really quickly.

Click source link above to rea... Read More

Stanford biologists help solve fungi mysteries

A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate change. Pine forests are chock full of wild animals and plant life, but there's an invisible machine... Read More

Teaching Freshmen about Transformation, Drug Resistance, and Gene Regulation!

In this blog post, I describe how I use the commonly available pGLO plasmid to teach freshman students basic concepts about transformation, receptor recognition, drug resistance mechanisms, and gene regulation. Oh, and fluorescence via GFP! Read More

Virology question of the week: why a segmented viral genome?

This week’s virology question comes from Eric, who writes:

I’m working on an MPH and in one of my classes we are currently studying the influenza virus. I’d forgotten that the genome is in 8 separate parts. Curious, I’ve been searching but can’t find any information as to why that is?

What... Read More

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