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TWiV 296: The real Batman, Linfa Wang

Vincent visits the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, Australia and speaks with Linfa about his work on bats and bat viruses.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello


Guest:  Read More

A saga of HeLa cells

We have been using HeLa cells in my laboratory since 1982, when I arrived at Columbia University Medical Center fresh from postdoctoral work with David Baltimore at MIT. I brought with me a line of HeLa cells and used them for 30 years for our research on viruses. Here is a story of how we lost ... Read More

Polio-like paralysis in California

Recently a number of children in California have developed a poliomyelitis-like paralysis. The cause of this paralysis is not yet known, and information about the outbreak is scarce. However, acute-flaccid paralysis is not uncommon (California would be expected to report about 75 cases a year, b... Read More

Incidence of asymptomatic human influenza A(H5N1) virus infection

When virologists Fouchier and Kawaoka were isolating avian influenza H5N1 viruses that could transmit among ferrets by aerosol, there was consternation from some quarters that such viruses might escape from the laboratory and cause a pandemic in humans. Part of the fear came from the fact that t... Read More

Programmed Cell Death Activates Latent Herpesviruses

Researchers have found that apoptosis, a natural process of programmed cell death, can reactivate latent herpesviruses in the dying cell. The results of their research, which could have broad clinical significance since many cancer chemotherapies cause apoptosis, was published ahead of print in ... Read More

Interview of Cave Microbiologist, Dr. Naowarat Cheeptham (aka Ann)

Dr. Naowarat Cheeptham, is a famous cave microbiologist. Dr. Cheeptham has been fascinated with the world of biology since she was out catching butterflies as a child with her father in her native country, Thailand. Her interest in microbiology developed while studying at Chiang Mai University ... Read More

Top chefs, artisanal food producers, and microbiologists join forces to explore new tastes and textures

Chefs from top-notch restaurants are reaching out to microbiologists, seeking advice that goes beyond traditional food safety or conventional food-processing concerns. With or without professional scientific advice, some chefs and food producers are doing their own microbiological experiments, s... Read More

Retroviruses R us

About eight percent of human DNA is viral – remnants of ancestral infections with retroviruses. These endogenous retroviral sequences do not produce infectious viruses, and most are considered to be junk DNA. But some of them provide important functions. The protein called syncytin, which is ess... Read More

The neuraminidase of influenza virus

The influenza virus particle is made up of the viral RNA genome wrapped in a lipid membrane (illustrated). The membrane, or envelope, contains three different kinds of viral proteins. The hemagglutinin molecule (HA, blue) attaches to cell receptors and initiates the process of virus entry into c... Read More

Under the Microscope and the new science blog network by PopSci

Popular Science has just launched a new science blogging network with 13 blogs. Among them are two that have a focus on microbiology, Under the Microscope by JA Tetro and Our Modern Plague by Brooke Borel. Each blog has an inaugural post that outlines the author's vision for future subject matte... Read More

Chemistry: A festive ferment

Rare is the holiday meal that does not owe many of its pleasures to invisible cooks with tongue-twisting names. Do you enjoy charcuterie and pickles? Bread with cultured butter? A drizzle of vinaigrette on this or that? A bit of cheese? Some chocolates? Wine, beer or cider? Then raise a glass to... Read More

Bacteriophage T4 (video)

This is an accurate visualization of the Bacteriophage T4 based on Cryo-EM datasets of the virus. The scope of the animation is to show the infection process of the T4 into an E. coli cell. All scientific data sets and motion based off of research from Michael Rossmann Laboratory (Purdue Univers... Read More

BacterioFiles 180 - Phage Functions Fight Fortifications

This episode: Some phages can fight back against bacterial defenses with recently discovered genes!


(8.3 MB, 9 minutes)


Show notes: 
Journal Paper Read More

De-discovering pathogens: Viral contamination strikes again

Do you remember the retrovirus XMRV, initially implicated as the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, and later shown to be a murine virus that contaminated human cells grown in mice? Another virus thought to be associated with human disease has recently been shown to be a contaminant, derived fro... Read More

TWiP 75 letters


David writes (re lice and iron):


All I remember that I know is that one time I let my cat endure a heavy flea infestation for an unconscionably long time. I redeemed myself, if at all, by the knowledge that I slept with her a lot, and so endured a share myself (b... Read More

Bat SARS-like coronavirus that infects human cells

The SARS pandemic of 2002-2003 is believed to have been caused by a bat coronavirus (CoV) that first infected a civet and then was passed on to humans. The isolation of a new SARS-like coronavirus from bats suggests that the virus could have directly infected humans. Read More

ASM GM 2014 - The Next Emerging Threat

Over the past few decades there appears to have been a never-ending stream of emerging diseases from AIDS to SARS and now MERS. Predictions are that global warming will bring... Read More

Scientists Engineer Strain of MERS Coronavirus for Use in a Vaccine

Scientists have developed a strain of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) that could be used as a vaccine against the disease, according to a study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The mutant MERS virus, rM... Read More

Happy Birthday to a Microbial Hero™---Moselio Schaechter!

Until we have "action figures" of scientists, I do what I can to recognize scientists that have had a large and lasting influence on my academic career. In this blog post, I praise Dr. Moselio Schaechter for his clear and insightful approaches to microbiology. His enthusiasm, breadth of interes... Read More

BacterioFiles Micro Edition 155 - Cells Save Superannuated Sequences

This episode: Bacteria are able to incorporate DNA from the environment into their genomes, even if it's thousands of years old!


(9.6 MB, 10.5 minutes)


Show notes: 
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