This episode: Bdelloid rotifers borrow genetic material from all over the place!
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What do microbes have to do with beer? Everything! Because the master ingredient in beer is yeast – a microbe – and every step in the brewing process helps the yeast do its job better. A new freely-available report; "FAQ: If the Yeast Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy: The Microbiology of Beer" ex... Read More
The lethality of avian influenza H5N1 infections in humans has been a matter of extensive debate. The >50% case fatality rate established by WHO is high, but the lethality of the virus might be lower if there are many infections accompanied by mild or no disease. One way to answer this question ... Read More
No bacterium lives alone – it is constantly encountering members of its own species as well as other kinds of bacteria and diverse organisms like viruses, fungi, plants and animals. To navigate a complex world, microbes use chemical signals to sense and communicate with one another... Read More
This episode: Discovering what is living in our navels!
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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
Fun science activity for kids!
Have you ever wondered how scientists extract DNA from an organism? All living organisms have DNA, which is short for deoxyribonucleic acid; it is basically the blueprint for everything that happens inside an organism’s cells. Overall, DNA tells an organism how ... Read More
El podcast del microbio Nº 378 summarize an article published in Nature communications by Ribeiro-Viana R et al. on the use of Virus-like glycodendrinanoparticles to block viral infection. El podcast del microbio Nº 3... Read More
Both Nature and the New York Times have weighed in on the resumption of influenza H5N1 research. In an editorial from 23 January 2013, Nature opines that “Experiments that make deadly pathogens more dangerous demand the utmost scrutiny”. They call for a quantitative risk-benefit analysis of H5N1... Read More
This episode: Figuring out which bacteria help fecal transplants work so well against C. difficile!
Professors, you've discussed this idea before, but I thought you'd enjoy this nice summary from Nature:
In early 2012 influenza virus researchers around the world decided to stop working on highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus. This decision came after work from the Fouchier and Kawaoka laboratories revealed the isolation of influenza H5N1 strains that can be passed among ferrets by aeroso... Read More
This episode: Plant viruses work together to infect better!
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It’s not hard to see that men are more likely to engage in risky behaviors than women, or that crime rates are many times higher among men, but this tendency to break the rules also extends to male scientists, according to a study to be published on January 22 in mBio®, the online open-access jo... 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