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TWiP 10 letters

Beki writes:
I am a second year graduate student, and the lab that I joined works on Leishmania and Trypanosomes. I originally discovered TWiP via TWiV (where my true interests are - but that is a long story; Matt Frieman came and gave a seminar and gave a small plug fo... Read More

MTS14 - Moselio Schaechter - Successful Science Blogging and Hunting Mushrooms

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TWiV 81 letters

Jesper writes:

Dear Professors,

Having upped my daily dose of podcasts I stumbled upon This Week In Science. The latest show (http://www.twis.org/audio/2010/03/09/438/) they mentioned something that probably comes within your sphere of interest, namely the fin... Read More

How good is the influenza vaccine?

I hear from many readers that they routinely get the flu vaccine every year, yet they often contract the disease. I usually tell them that the vaccine is not perfect: it doesn’t protect everyone who gets it. Now we have the numbers to back up this statement, and they are not pretty.
Read More

Microbial Slime - Experiment

Run your tongue over your teeth. If it's been a while since you last brushed, you may feel a filmy or fuzzy coating on your teeth. What's there is similar to the slimy coating you might feel if you stuck your finger down into a sink drain or that you might see coating the sides and bottom of ... Read More

MTS29 - Christine Biron - The Innate Immune System

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TWiV 148 Letters

Ed writes:

Gentlemen, I think you'll find that Dylan Thomas was Welsh, not Irish. Though you are of course correct on his penchant for writing and


Josh writes:

Dear TWiV Doctors,

I have one question and one co... Read More

MTS28 - Joseph DeRisi - New Tech Approaches to Infectious Disease

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Caught Dirty-handed - Experiment

When was the last time you washed your hands? Did you use soap? What have you done since you washed? Have you eaten, put your fingers in your mouth or touched someone else?

Observations in public restrooms have revealed that only about 68 percent of Americans wash up before leaving. Y... Read More

Now You See It... Now You Don't! - Experiment

Maybe you’ve heard the term "biodegradable." It basically means something capable of being broken apart into simpler substances by natural biological processes.

But what are these biological processes that break some things down? Why do some things biodegrade more readily than other... Read More

What is a Microbe?

MicrobesMicrobes are single-cell organi... Read More

MTS40 - John Wooley - Exploring the Protein Universe

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Murine gammaretroviruses in prostate cancer cell lines

The retrovirus XMRV arose during passage of a human prostate tumor in nude mice. The genomes of these mice contain two different proviral DNAs related to XMRV, pre-XMRV-1 and pre-XMRV-2, that recombined to produce XMRV that has been isolated from humans. Two other prostate cancer cell lines also... Read More

TWiV 150 Letters

Mary writes:

Listening to the most recent Republican, I mean Tea Party, presidential debate, I was quite upset (for many reasons), but one of which was to listen to how Michelle Bachmann characterized the HPV vaccine as a "dangerous government injecti... Read More

Evidence for influenza H5N1 infections in humans

The fatality rate for human infections with avian influenza H5N1 is widely quoted at >50%, based on the number of deaths among the fewer than 600 cases confirmed by the World Health Organization. Wang, Parides, and Palese suggest that this number is an overestimate. Read More

Types of Archaea

There are three main types of archaea: the crenarchaeota (kren-are-key-oh-ta), which are characterized by their ability to tolerate extremes in temperature and acidity. The euryarchaeota (you-ree-are-key-oh-ta), which include methane-producers and salt-lovers; and the korarchaeota (core-are-key-... Read More

Francis H. Arnold: Laboratory Evolution (MWV55)

In episode 55 of MicrobeWorld Video, filmed at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Meeting in Washington, D.C., on February 18, 2011, Dr. Stan Maloy talks with Read More

Don't Get Caught Dirty Handed

Mom's advice about cleaning your hands may finally be starting to get through. In the August 2010 observational study sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and the Read More


Welkin Johnson, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Blogger for Small Things Considered, ponders the "fossil record" of viruses:

"As a scientist fascinated with the evolutionary interplay between viruses and their hosts, I admi... Read More

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