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My No-Soap, No-Shampoo, Bacteria-Rich Hygiene Experiment

For most of my life, if I’ve thought at all about the bacteria living on my skin, it has been while trying to scrub them away. But recently I spent four weeks rubbing them in. I was Subject 26 in testing a living bacterial skin tonic, developed by AOBiome, a biotech start-up in Cambridge, Mass. ... Read More

Universal Flu Vaccine Soon a Reality?

A flu vaccine that works against all flu viruses and provides protection for at least two decades is getting closer to reality, according to scientists at Mount Sinai Health System.

The organization’s vaccine would offer better and broader and longer-lasting protection against seasonal influe... Read More

Antibiotics Have Turned Our Bodies From Gardens Into Battlefields

We’re in the midst of an extinction crisis, and it doesn’t involve Siberian tigers. Microbiologist Martin Blaser of New York University School of Medicine says that many species of germs are disappearing from our bodies—and that’s a problem. In his new book, Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of ... Read More

Inspiration for 2015 via the Late, Great Randy Pausch!

The late computer scientist Randy Pausch wrote many inspirational things about life and academia during his struggle with pancreatic cancer. As we approach 2015, his words are helpful to me, and perhaps to others. About life, about academia, about helping others...and making our dreams come tr... Read More

TWiP 81 letters


Allan writes:


Dear Vincent & Dickson… and Daniel,


I always enjoy listening to TWIP here in Kona, Hawaii.


Our weather today is 79ºF and clear but we have just experienced a record 25-year overnight low of 54ºF,
(FREEZING, as few of us hav... Read More

The day they discovered the AIDS virus

A historical look back at the discovery of the AIDS virus. Margaret Heckler, president Reagan's Health and Human Services Secretary made the announcement to the world. “First, the probable cause of AIDS has been found: a variant of a known human cancer virus. Second, not only has the agent been ... Read More

What Are The Odds That an Artificially Enhanced Flu Strain Could Escape a Lab?

A controversy that has been brewing for several years in the world of influenza research may ignite again with the publication last week of a new paper that’s worth a read. I haven’t to date written about the controversy, which centers on what’s called “gain of function” research. In the case of... Read More

ICAAC 2014 - Antibiotic Stewardship: Saving Drugs, Saving Money

Antibiotic stewardship programs, which promote the appropriate use of antibiotics in hospitals and other healthcare centers, can not only lead to reduction in antibiotic use with no adverse effects but can also lead to significant savings, over $600,000 annually in the case of one New York Ho... Read More

Scientists Discover First ‘Virological Penicillin’

Chinese researchers have discovered what they say is the first ‘virological penicillin’ – MIR2911, a molecule found naturally in a Chinese herb called honeysuckle.

Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is a well-known Chinese herb. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it has been used to effectively tr... Read More

First local case of tropical disease chikungunya debuts in the U.S.

The day we knew would come is finally here. The first locally acquired case of the tropical disease chikungunya was reported in the U.S. today.

The mosquito-borne viral disease first debuted in the Western Hemisphere last year and has since sprawled across the Caribbean, with cases in Puerto ... Read More

TWiP 78 letters


Meliani writes:


Dear Sir,


My research is focused on the biofilms formation, Motility (swarming and swiming ) and QS in fluorescent Pseudomonas (P. aeruginosa and P. fluorescens).


In laboratory a interaction had been with insect and bacteria metabo... Read More

Artificial magnetic bacteria 'turn' food into natural drugs

Scientists from the University of Granada have successfully created magnetic bacteria that could be added to foodstuffs and could, after ingestion, help diagnose diseases of the digestive system like stomach cancer. These important findings constitute the first use of a food as a natural drug an... Read More

Tool to edit DNA revolutionizing research in Boston area

It is a fascinating quirk of nature: Simple bacteria have an immune system with a memory, which allows them to destroy invading viruses they have encountered in the past.

The phenomenon is more than just a scientific curiosity. In just two years, scientists have discovered how to repurpose th... Read More

Giant virus revived from deep freeze in Siberian tundra

A 30,000-year-old giant virus has been revived from the frozen Siberian tundra, sparking concern that increased mining and oil drilling in rapidly warming northern latitudes could disturb dormant microbial life that could one day prove harmful to man.

The latest find, described online Monday ... Read More

Getting a Knit Bacteriophage From a Former Student!

A former student dropped by my lab this morning, and brought me a gift: a knit bacteriophage! Many times, as educators, we hear what we haven't done well, or could do better. Sometimes, like today, we get a priceless "thank you" from a former student. Read More

How One Experimental Drug May Be Defeating Ebola and Saving People

Since the worst Ebola outbreak on record ignited last December in West Africa, scientists have been racing to develop drugs and vaccines to combat the virus. Several experimental drugs have been given to patients, and a new study details how scientists think one of those drugs might neutralize t... Read More

Fungus in yogurt outbreak poses threat to consumers

The fungus responsible for an outbreak of contaminated Greek yogurt last year is not harmless after all but a strain with the ability to cause disease, according to research. "When people think about food-borne pathogens, normally they list bacteria, viruses, and maybe parasites. Fungal pathogen... Read More

Researchers find link between microbiome, type 1 diabetes

In the largest longitudinal study of the microbiome to date, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and the DIABIMMUNE Study Group have identified a connection between changes in gut microbiota and the onset of type 1 diabetes (T1D). The st... Read More

Ebola virus 'has killed a third of world's gorillas and chimpanzees'

The Ebola virus currently poses the greatest threat to the survival of great apes, conservationists have warned, after killing an estimated third of the world's gorillas and chimpanzees since the 1990s.

The unprecedented current Ebola epidemic in West Africa has killed some 8,641 people, acco... Read More

Are Microbes Winning the Antibiotic Arms Race?

Eighty-six years after the discovery of penicillin, docs are running out of antibiotics to treat serious infections like Clostridium difficile and gonorrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the same time, the discovery of new "wonder drugs" has slowed, and microbi... Read More
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