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The Walking Dead offers teachable moment about antivirals vs antibacterials

If you teach students about viruses and bacteria, recent episodes of The Walking Dead have been using the term "antibiotic" to stand for antivirals. Since students are probably watching the show, it might be a good time to highlight the mistake. I summarized the issues at the associated URL (ht... Read More

Marine bacteria to fight tough infections

Aggressive infections are a growing health problem all over the world. The development of resistant bacteria is rampant and, in the United States, resistant staphylococci cause more deaths than AIDS on an annual basis. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen are studying a new form of trea... Read More

Cells in Living Things Fight Noise with Noise

For cellphone whisperers, families that live near highways, airports or trains, music-loving commuters, and even individual cells, noise is an inescapable fact of life. In everyday human experience, the nuisance is often manageable. Soundproof barriers and noise-canceling headphones help scrub t... Read More

Immune System May Affect Germs on Your Skin

Your immune system influences the types of microorganisms that live on your skin and affect your risk for disease, according to a new study. A person's skin contains millions of beneficial and potentially disease-causing microbes. Previous research has shown that these microbes influence the imm... Read More

Mathematical analysis helps untangle bacterial chromosomes

When an E. coli cell divides, it must replicate its circular chromosome and pull the resulting circles apart to take up residence in two new cells. It sounds easy enough—like a magician's trick with rings—but actually involves a complicated process of unknotting and unlinking of tangled DNA.

... Read More

Germs and bacteria beautified in Invisible Portraits

Through high-tech images of microbial life, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum will gross you out and make you want to wash your hands.

Nevertheless, the museum’s current art exhibition, entitled Invisible Portraits, will entice you regardless of whether you are in Science or Arts. The exhibit dis... Read More

H5N1 bird flu death confirmed in Alberta, 1st in North America

Alberta health officials have confirmed an isolated, fatal case of H5N1 or avian influenza, federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose said Wednesday.

But officials repeatedly emphasized that there is no risk of transmission between humans.

The infected person, an Alberta resident who recently ... Read More

Successful Test in Humans of Nasal Vaccine Against Pertussis

The CHILD-INNOVAC European research programme, coordinated by Inserm, has enabled the development of an innovative vaccine that can be administered intranasally, to combat pertussis, which has shown a resurgence in developed countries in recent years. The research consortium, headed by Camille L... 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

Gut microbiota and the evolution of species

Science Magazine has recently published a study carried out by Dr. Robert Brucker and Dr. Seth R. Bordenstein from Vanderbilt University in Nashville (USA) that seems to provide clues reinforcing the “hologenome theory of evolution”. This research suggests that the gut microbiome may have a fund... Read More

Advocating Pill, U.S. Signals Shift to Prevent AIDS

Federal health officials recommended Wednesday that hundreds of thousands of Americans at risk for AIDS take a daily pill that has been shown to prevent infection with the virus that causes it.

If broadly followed, the advice could transform AIDS prevention in the United States — from relianc... Read More

Scientists find oldest life form ever discovered - bacteria that smell like rotten eggs

Scientists have discovered what they believe to be the oldest complete example of life on earth - but the ancient creature would have smelled strongly of rotten eggs.

The remains were discovered by American scientists from Old Dominion University, in a lump of Sandstone in Western Australia.
... Read More

Scientist Finds Link between Antibiotics and Bacterial Biofilm Formation Cause of Chronic Ear, Sinus, and Lung Infections

Researchers from the University of Southern California and the Oak Crest Institute of Science have discovered the link between antibiotics and bacterial biofilm formation leading to chronic lung, sinus and ear infections. The study results, published in the current issue of PLOS ONE, illustrate ... Read More

Host plants reprogram their root cells to accommodate symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria

To enter into symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, host plants reprogram their root cells. An LMU team has now identified a calcium-binding protein complex that can be persuaded to spontaneously induce the formation of root nodules.

In almost all ecosystems, plant growth rates are limited... Read More

"Microbe-Powered Jobs: How Microbiologists Can Help Build the Bioeconomy" Infographic

The American Academy of Microbiology has just released a new report, "Microbe-Powered Jobs: How Microbiologists Can Help Build the Bioeconomy," and along with it, an infographic, that summarizes the main points of the report. The full report can be found here: http://bit.ly/1lk346I, and a link t... Read More

Glowing Antibiotics Reveal Bacterial Infections

Despite surgeons’ best efforts, bacteria often manage to sneak onto medical implants such as bone screws, where they can cause severe infections. Research published today in Nature Communications suggests that using fluorescent antibiotics could reveal such infections before they become too seve... Read More

Mycotoxin protects against nematodes

Researchers at ETH Zurich have isolated a protein from a fungus of the spruce which combats nematodes. The scientists hope that toxins of this kind will become the basis for the vaccination of livestock or domestic animals against zooparasitic nematodes.

Most terrestrial plants enter into bio... Read More

Graphic Warnings: Ebola Posters Keep The Virus On People's Minds

The campaign is called "Kick Back Ebola." But the posters pack a punch.

Sierra Leone has reported over 700 suspected Ebola cases, more than any other country this year. To help stop the outbreak, health workers have put up Ebola awareness signs all over Sierra Leone's seaside capital of Freet... Read More

Molecule Plays Important Role in Triggering Immune Response

The nucleoside adenosine—a tiny chemical structure made up of a simple base linked to a sugar—is critical for the regulation of bodily functions ranging from blood flow to tissue repair to sleep. Now, researchers at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School show that adenosine is essential in promoti... Read More

Shifting evolution into reverse promises cheaper, greener way to make new drugs

By shifting evolution into reverse, it may be possible to use “green chemistry” to make a number of costly synthetic drugs as easily and cheaply as brewing beer. Normally, both evolution and synthetic chemistry proceed from the simple to the complex. Small molecules are combined and modified to ... Read More

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