Hi Vince and Dick!
Has anyone volunteered to do transcripts for TWIP? I love this show, and I'd love to be able to contribute in some way. Forgive me if transcripts already exist and I'm just not finding them on the website. If no one is already... Read More
Poliovirus has made the cover of Time magazine. The Time cover image for the 14 January 2013 issue is a model of poliovirus bound to a soluble form of its cellular receptor, CD155. I was part of the team that solved the structure of this complex in 2000, together with the laboratories of Jim Hog... Read More
Harvard University is home to some of the world’s finest virologists. But apparently they do not communicate with the writers at Harvard Magazine, where a botched story on the avian H5N1 influenza virus has just been published. Read More
Deans of public health schools in the United States have sent a letter to President Obama, in which they criticize the use of a vaccination campaign by the Central Intelligence Agency in Pakistan to hunt for Osama bin Laden. I wonder if he will reply. Read More
Poliovirus recently made the cover of Time magazine. Prompted by a reader question, I searched the Time archive to find out if there have been other virology-themed covers. I found fifteen in all, depicting poliovirus (3), herpesvirus (1), HIV/AIDS (4), influenza (5), and SARS coronavirus (2) (I... Read More
This episode: Algal symbionts store nutrients for corals!
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The spring semester has begun at Columbia University, which means that it is time to teach my virology course. The fourth annual installment of my virology course, Biology W3310, has begun. This course, which I taught for the first time in 2009, is intended for advanced undergraduates and conven... Read More
In this blog post, I describe a simple "colony transformation" experiment I have done with my freshman students, illustrating transformation, antibiotic resistance, and GFP. The visual aspects help drive home the points effectivel. Read More
Students learn in many different ways than simply taking tests. In my Microbiology course, I have students write a length term paper (a "Microbiography"). As part of this process, students create one page "summaries" of their microbial topic, which I call "Nanobiographies." In this blog post,... Read More
Our bodies are made up by cells containing our own DNA. Plus 10 times as many with foreign DNA. The bacteria found on our skin, and inside our organs (intestine, vagina, mouth, nose, etc.) are referred to as our “microbiome”, outnumber our own cells by 10 to 1, and make up a vital organ with ind... Read More
Yesterday many US newspapers carried front-page stories on the severity of influenza so far this season. The New York Times story began with “It is not your imagination — more people you know are sick this winter, even people who have had flu shots.” Is this really a bad flu season? Read More
When you purchase chicken eggs at the market, they usually have white or brown shells. But some breeds of chicken produce blue or green eggs. The blue color is caused by insertion of a retrovirus into the chicken genome, which activates a gene involved in the production of blue eggs. Read More
El podcast del microbio Nº 366 summarize a recent article published in PNAS on the characterization of the critical step in HIV-1 protease maturation by using bioinformatics tools. El podcast del microb... Read More
The World Health Organization’s campaign to eradicate poliomyelitis made impressive inroads in 2012: only 212 cases were reported, compared with 620 the previous year; moreover, India remained polio-free. The dark side of this story is that as wild polio is eliminated, vaccine-associated poliomy... Read More
This episode: New giant virus discovered, with a genome larger than that of some eukaryotes!
There have been over 60 human infections with avian influenza virus H7N9 in China, and cases have been detected outside of Shanghai, including Beijing, Zhejiang, Henan, and Anhui Provinces. Information on the first three cases has now been published, allowing a more detailed consideration of the... Read More