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A video podcast by the American Society for Microbiology that highlights the latest in microbiology, life science, and related topics. ASM is composed of over 42,000 scientists and health professionals with the mission to advance the microbial sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide. Click here for more information about ASM.
Video version of This Week in Microbiology episode 352. Show host Vincent Racaniello goes to Washington, D.C., to visit artist Michele Banks and discusses science-themed art, science communication and her career path as an artist.
Host: Vincent Racaniello
Guest: Michele Banks
Links for this episode
In 2011, the NIH Clinical Center had a cluster of infections of a pathogen that tops the CDC's list of urgent threats: antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae. This bacteria, which can cause bloodstream and other infections, has recently developed resistance to the class of antibiotics known as carbapenems. The outbreak at NIH started with a single infected patient who was discharged weeks before any other cases were detected. This story of antibiotic-resistant infections is becoming more common around the world, and is especially dangerous in hospitals. Dr. Julie Segre, a senior investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute, discuses how the outbreak was traced using state-of-the-art DNA sequencing.
ASM's Cultures magazine traveled to Colombia to speak with and film the researchers behind an innovative biotechnology project that is producing exciting results. The international Swiss – Colombian collaborative research team from the University of Lausanne – Switzerland, the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and the Universidad de la Salle – Utopia campus has been working to create and test novel strains of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) to improve cassava production.
AMF forms symbiotic relationships with the majority of the world’s plant species, including cassava and other major food security crops. By colonizing internal structures within the plant and extending its root system, AMF transports nutrients such as phosphate to the plants from inaccessible areas and sources in the soil. In exchange, the plant provides carbon to AMF species that have colonized the plant.
The research team’s studies show that, with the inoculation of certain AMF strains, only half of the necessary phosphate amendments are needed in nutrient-poor tropical soil to produce an equal or greater amount of cassava yield. On a large scale, this technology could potentially provide a more sustainable approach to resource management, allow small shareholder farmers to reduce their input costs, and help create a food secure future for many. In fact, an early model for this success is already being realized by graduates of the Utopia campus, all of whom come from conflict and post-conflict zones. By utilizing their education in agronomy in conjunction with this technology, they can begin rebuilding their home communities while ensuring a food secure future for Colombia and the greater global community.
To learn more about ASM's Cultures magazine please visit
Read the latest issue on food security on the following platforms:
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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello
Vincent meets up with Maria, Edward, and David at the ASM Biodefense and Emerging Infections Research meeting to talk about alternative careers for scientists.
Hosts: Vincent Racaniello.
Special guest: Stanley Maloy
Vincent meets up with Stan Maloy on the campus of San Diego State University to talk about his career in microbiology and his work as Dean of Sciences.
MP3 Audio Only (48 megs | .mp3)
The current Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has sickened over 14,000 people and has killed over 5,100. Health workers from around the world are attempting to halt this deadly disease. On November 19th, the American Society for Microbiology featured two of these health workers, Dr. Joseph Fair and Dr. Michael Callahan, who have extensive experience with the virus, including direct field work during the current outbreak. In this presentation they discuss the virus, the response, and potential solutions.
Vincent Racaniello and Glenn Rall meet up with Ann Skalka at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia and talk about her long and productive career in virology, from biochemistry to bacteriophage lambda to retroviruses.
Hosts: Vincent Racaniello
Vincent meets up with Laurene and David at the Annual Meeting of the Southern California Branch of the American Society for Microbiology, where they discuss how the Los Angeles County Department of Health is preparing for an outbreak of Ebola virus infection, and Cepheid’s game-changing, modular PCR system for the diagnosis of infectious diseases.
MP3 Audio Only (44 megs | .mp3)
Creating and maintaining a clean, sustainable water supply means delivering drinking water and collecting wastewater while dealing with pathogenic microorganisms and infrastructure challenges. It's not all challenges, however. Two speakers; Sudhir Murthy, PhD, PE, BCEE, Innovation Chief at DC Water, and Kellogg Schwab, PhD, Director of the Johns Hopkins University Water Institute, will speak to Microbes After Hours about promising new endeavors in water management as well as issues of water safety.
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This Week in Virology, the podcast about viruses, celebrated its 300th episode on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 with a live recording at the Washington, DC headquarters of the American Society for Microbiology. This special episode features the TWiV hosts Vincent Racaniello, Dickson Despommier, Alan Dove, Rich Condit, and Kathy Spindler recording together in person for the first time.
MP3 Audio Only (77 megs | .mp3)