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Study Shows Bed Bugs Can Transmit Parasite that Causes Chagas Disease

The bed bug may be just as dangerous as its sinister cousin, the triatomine, or “kissing” bug. A new study from Penn Medicine researchers in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics demonstrated that bed bugs, like the triatomines, can transmit Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that ... Read More

Biochemistry detective work: algae at night

Photosynthesis is probably the most well-known aspect of plant biochemistry. It enables plants, algae, and select bacteria to transform the energy from sunlight during the daytime into chemical energy in the form of sugars and starches (as well as oils and proteins), and it involves taking in ca... Read More

Delaying ART in Patients with HIV Reduces Likelihood of Restoring CD4 Counts

A larger percentage of patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) achieved normalization of CD4+ T-cell counts when they started antiretroviral therapy (ART) within 12 months of the estimated dates of seroconversion (EDS) rather than later, according to a report published online by JAMA In... Read More

Viruses as a Cure

When we talk about viruses, usually we focus on the suffering caused by Ebola, influenza and the like. But our bodies are home to trillions of viruses, and new research hints that some of them may actually be keeping us healthy.

“Viruses have gotten a bad rap,” said Ken Cadwell, an immunologi... Read More

Worse Than The Bite

City dwellers across the U.S. might agree on one common enemy: bedbugs. But hey, not to worry, right? "Bedbugs are not known to spread diseases, but bites can be very itchy and irritating." Or so says the New York City Department of Health. But that assertion may not be true. Because a new study... Read More

Viral Switches Share a Shape

A hinge in the RNA genome of the virus that causes hepatitis C works like a switch that can be flipped to prevent it from replicating in infected cells. Scientists have discovered that this shape is shared by several other viruses—among them one that kills cancer cells.

That’s Seneca Valley v... Read More

Why CRISPR Doesn't Work in E. coli

We received this query:

»I enjoyed the article on your blog 'Six Questions About CRISPRs' by Merry Youle. I am an ex-lambdologist, having quit phage lambda in the early 70s and moved to GM-plants. There is one thing about CRISPR that I do not understand: Why did lambdologists not find CRISPR?... Read More

Flu virus key machine: First complete view of structure revealed

Scientists looking to understand – and potentially thwart – the influenza virus now have a much more encompassing view, thanks to the first complete structure of one of the flu virus’ key machines. Knowing the structure allows researchers to finally understand how the machine works as a whole, a... Read More

Authorities Identify Highly Contagious Bird Flu Strain

Authorities found the H5N8 strain of bird flu at a poultry farm in the central Netherlands, the same highly contagious strain as found this month in Germany and which has prompted massive poultry culls in Asia.

Dutch authorities on Sunday said they had found the H5N8 strain of bird flu at a p... Read More

Quest for hepatitis B treatment wins Emerging Researcher Award

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researcher Dr Greg Ebert has won the Bupa Health Foundation Emerging Health Researcher Award 2014 for his work on developing a new therapy for chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.

Chronic hepatitis B is a viral liver disease that affects 230,000 Australia... Read More

Microvores: A Game of Parasites

A Board Game with a Microbial Theme. Educational and Fun. Read More

New Type of More Problematic Mosquito-Borne Illness Detected in Brazil

A second form of the painful chikungunya virus has appeared in Brazil—one that could more easily spread, including to the U.S.

When a mosquito-borne disease first arrived in the Western Hemisphere last year, humans were relatively lucky. The disease, which causes crippling joint pain persis... Read More

How vultures evolved to live on rotting, feces-covered meat (and what we can learn from them)

Have you thanked a vulture today? It turns out that they're getting rid of an awful lot of dangerous bacteria for us. According to new research published Tuesday in Nature Communications, the vulture has a gut designed to kill off the bacteria that thrive on the carrion they crave. When they cho... Read More

Animals steal defenses from bacteria

It's a dog eat dog world, and bacteria have been living in it for a long time. It's of no surprise that bacteria have a sophisticated arsenal to compete with each other for valuable resources in the environment. In 2010, work led by University of Washington Department of Microbiology Associate P... Read More

The Ancient Art Of Cheese-Making Attracts Scientific Gawkers

From Swiss to cheddar, cheeses depend on the action of microbes for their flavor and aroma. But it's far from clear how these teams of microbes work together to ripen cheese.

To a cheese-maker, that's just the beauty of the art. To a scientist, it sounds like an experiment waiting to happen.
... Read More

A Snippet: Thioploca

The seafloor off the coast of Chile is carpeted with bacterial mats of gigantic proportions. They cover an area as large as that of the state of Alabama. Their total weight is of the order of 100 million tons, which probably makes this the largest single species microbiome on Earth. The mats con... Read More

Scientists find superbug bacteria in World War I soldier who died of dysentery

Scientists who unlocked the genetic code of bacteria grown from a soldier who died of dysentery say it revealed a superbug that was resistant to antibiotics decades before those drugs were in common use.

The discovery sheds light on the history of antibiotic resistance, which has become a glo... Read More

Would You Lick an E.Coli-Shaped Popsicle?

Designer Wei Lei poses a challenging, and fascinating question: Would you lick a delicious treat that resembles a prickly cactus or a deadly E. coli bacterium?

The Chinese designer’s collection of sweets, Dangerous Popsicles, transforms frozen sugar water into colorful spiny treats inspired b... Read More

7 Amazing Scientists and 1 Music Video Raise Hope for Ebola Researchers

A music video making the rounds on YouTube entitled “One Truth,” is dedicated to all of the brave researchers, healthcare workers, and others who have put their lives on the line to save people during the recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease. Pardis Sabeti, MD, DPhil, an NIH-funded New Innovat... Read More

Emerging Disease Could Wipe Out American, European Salamanders

A deadly disease that is wiping out salamanders in parts of Europe will inevitably reach the U.S. through the international wildlife trade unless steps are taken to halt its spread, says University of Maryland amphibian expert Karen Lips.

The recently described fungus, Batrachochytrium salama... Read More
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