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DIY Droplet Lens, finalist, 2014 Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology

09/10/2014
The traditional light microscope is bulky and expensive. Dr Tri Phan and Dr Steve Lee from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Australian National University used gravity to manufacture high-performance polymer lenses. These can be seamlessly integrated with 3D printing and mini-LEDs to produce a cheap, portable microscope device ...

Scientists Choose Sides In Safety Debate Over Lab-Made Pathogens

08/13/2014
A smoldering debate about whether or not researchers should ever deliberately create superflu strains and other risky germs in the interest of science has flared once again. Proponents of the work say that in order to protect the public from the next naturally occurring pandemic, they have to understand what risky ...

C. difficile Vaccine Proves Safe, 100 Percent Effective In Animal Models

08/01/2014
An experimental vaccine protected 100 percent of animal models against the highly infectious and virulent bacterium, Clostridium difficile, which causes an intestinal disease that kills approximately 30,000 Americans annually. The research is published ahead of print in Infection and Immunity. In the study, the vaccine protected the mice and non-human primates ...

Taxis, Planes and Viruses: How Deadly Ebola Can Spread

08/01/2014
For scientists tracking the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, it is not about complex virology and genotyping, but about how contagious microbes - like humans - use planes, bikes and taxis to spread. So far, authorities have taken no action to limit international travel in the region. The airlines association ...

Source: Flight en route to Liberia to evacuate Americans infected with Ebola

08/01/2014
According to CNN,a long-range business jet with an isolation pod left the United States for Liberia, where it will evacuate two Americans infected with Ebola. Twitter exploded with questions about the deadly virus, which according to the World Health Organization is believed to have killed hundreds in four West African nations. ...

The Forgotten Woman Who Made Microbiology Possible

07/15/2014
Read about Angelina Fanny Hesse, an unsung heroine of microbiology who helped make the isolation of bacteria possible in this Popular Science blog post by Christina Agapakis: "In the earliest days of microbiology, scientists were stumped about how to isolate bacteria. That is, until the family cook—a woman named Angelina—changed ...

Smallpox Virus Found In Unsecured NIH Lab

07/09/2014
Scientists cleaning out an old laboratory on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md., last week came across a startling discovery: vials labeled "variola" — in other words, smallpox. Under international convention, there are supposed to be only two stashes of this deadly virus: one at the federal Centers ...

CDC: 75 Scientists Possibly Exposed to Anthrax

06/20/2014
As many as 75 scientists working in government laboratories may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday. The scientists are being offered treatment to prevent infection. The potential exposure occurred after researchers working in a high-level biosecurity laboratory at the agency's ...

Foldscope: Origami-Based Paper Microscope

06/20/2014
PLOS ONE authors Cybulski, Clements and Prakash describe an ultra-low-cost origami-based approach for large-scale manufacturing of microscopes, specifically demonstrating brightfield, darkfield, and fluorescence microscopes. Merging principles of optical design with origami enables high-volume fabrication of microscopes from 2D media. Flexure mechanisms created via folding enable a flat compact design. Structural ...

MERS Virus Widespread in Saudi Arabian Camels (News Release)

02/25/2014
The coronavirus responsible for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is prevalent in camels throughout Saudi Arabia and has been around for at least 20 years, according to a study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. “Our study shows the MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) ...

Flu deaths in North Carolina rise to 64

02/20/2014
North Carolina could be looking at a record year for flu deaths, or at the very least a near record year. North Carolina health officials released new flu numbers Friday, saying seven more people have died in the last week. That brings the total number of deaths from flu-related complications ...

Death toll from H1N1 rises as strain returns, with ‘young invincibles’ most affected

02/19/2014
The H1N1 virus responsible for the 2009 global pandemic is back. State health officials from across the country say the resurgence is resulting in a dramatic rise in flu deaths in young and middle-aged adults and in children this season. While the reported death tolls so far are only a fraction ...

Bacteriophage T4 (video)

02/18/2014
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 ...

We Are Not Alone: How the Human "Planet" Is Colonized (video)

02/18/2014
The gut microbiome is an emerging field that has been linked to many diseases and conditions affecting each and everyone of us from metabolism to potential neurological diseases. Via - YourekaScience on YouTube

The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life

02/18/2014
Modern archeologists, excavating ancient Egyptian tombs, have often found something unexpected amongst the tombs’ artifacts: pots of honey, thousands of years old, and yet still preserved. Through millennia, the archeologists discover, the food remains unspoiled, an unmistakable testament to the eternal shelf-life of honey. There are a few other examples of ...

Microbial biogeography of wine grapes is conditioned by cultivar, vintage, and climate

02/18/2014
Wine grapes present a unique biogeography model, wherein microbial biodiversity patterns across viticultural zones not only answer questions of dispersal and community maintenance, they are also an inherent component of the quality, consumer acceptance, and economic appreciation of a culturally important food product. On their journey from the vineyard to ...

BART rider with measles potentially exposed thousands in San Francisco

02/14/2014
Public health officials issued a warning Thursday that thousands of Bay Area residents were potentially exposed to measles last week when a UC Berkeley student with the virus attended classes in Berkeley and rode on BART. The student, a Contra Costa County resident whose name was not released, was confirmed to ...

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

02/07/2014
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, seeking new flavors and textures. In turn, some microbiologists are helping chefs ...

Epsilon toxin may trigger multiple sclerosis, research finds

01/29/2014
Multiple sclerosis (MS), a central nervous system disease that often leads to paralysis and vision problems, affects approximately 2.3 million people worldwide and has no cure. Though no one knows what triggers MS, researchers have long suspected that a combination of genetic and environmental factors influence a person’s risk of ...

Innocence by Viral Tagging - Finalist in Ocean 180 Video Challenge

01/09/2014
Viruses are the most abundant biological entities on the planet with approximately 1030 in the world’s oceans at any time. As such, they play a central role in global nutrient cycling. Despite their ecological importance, little is known about how viruses interact with their hosts due to the difficulty in ...

How a microscopic team alters the course of carbon in the Atlantic ocean - Finalist in Ocean 180 Video Challenge

01/09/2014
The Amazon river is the largest river in the world. It drains the entire Amazon rainforest, sending leftover nutrients, detritus, and minerals from the South American jungle out into the tropical Atlantic ocean. This runoff forms a freshwater plume, hundreds of miles across, that profoundly affects the ocean underneath it. ...

Chemistry: A festive ferment

01/02/2014
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 ...

Here's to Microbes Near and Far (to the tune of Hark the Herald Angels Sing) - Happy Holidays from the American Society for Microbiology

12/23/2013
Here's to Microbes Near and Far (to the tune of Hark the Herald Angels Sing) - Happy Holidays from the American Society for Microbiology

Calling All Scientists! Show Us Your Science! - The ASM Global Video Challenge

12/20/2013
How is your microbiology improving the world? Show us in a short video and you could win big! ASM is asking our members to create a 30-90 second video that illustrates the impact of their science on the world. Members both in the U.S. and around the world ...

Antimicrobial resistance: a global health issue (Video)

11/18/2013
How can antibiotics be better used? How can the development of resistance to antibiotics be avoided? What are the consequences of their ill-considered usage for humans and also for animals? These were some of the topics that the organizers of ICPIC 2013, the International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control, ...

Rosalind Franklin vs. Watson & Crick - Science History Rap Battle

11/18/2013
Rosalind Franklin vs. Watson & Crick - Science History Rap Battle

Clay Can Kill Some Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (video)

10/22/2013
Researchers have found that some clay can kill powerful bacteria like e-coli and even Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, which can be resistant to many antibiotics.

Under the Microscope and the new science blog network by PopSci

10/14/2013
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 ...

Salmonella Outbreak Out of Control

10/10/2013
As the government shutdown lurches on, the Centers for Disease Control struggle to curb a West Coast salmonella outbreak.    

Oral bacteria resulting from poor dental hygiene shows a potential association with Alzheimer’s disease

10/06/2013
Researchers examined samples from the brains of patients with and without dementia and found lipopolysaccharide, a component of Porphyromonas gingivalis, an oral bacterium, in four out of 10 Alzheimer’s disease brain samples. “This clearly shows that there is an association between oral bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease, but not causal association,” says ...

Stability of MERS Under Different Environmental Conditions (research)

10/06/2013
The stability of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was determined at 20°C – 40% relative humidity (RH); 30°C – 30% RH and 30°C – 80% RH. MERS-CoV was more stable at low temperature/low humidity conditions and could still be recovered after 48 hours. During aerosolisation of MERS-CoV, no decrease ...

Notre Dame researchers uncover keys to antibiotic resistance in MRSA (press release)

10/06/2013
University of Notre Dame researchers Shahriar Mobashery and Mayland Chang and their collaborators in Spain have published research results this week that show how methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) regulates the critical crosslinking of its cell wall in the face of beta-lactam antibiotics. The work, published in the Proceedings of the National ...

Fecal transplant pill knocks out recurrent C. diff infection, study shows (Press Release)

10/06/2013
SAN FRANCISCO – Swallowing pills containing a concentrate of fecal bacteria successfully stops recurrent bouts of debilitating Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection by rebalancing the bacteria in the gut, suggests a study being presented at the IDWeek 2013™ meeting today. Infection from C. diff bacteria is such a concern that the ...

Rutgers Scientists Discover Molecules that Show Promise for New Anti-Flu Medicines

10/06/2013
A new way to attack flu viruses is taking shape in laboratories at Rutgers University, where scientists have identified chemical agents that block the virus’s ability to replicate itself in cell culture. These novel compounds show promise for a new class of antiviral medicines to fight much-feared pandemic influenzas such as ...

New Alien Life Claim Far from Convincing, Scientists Say

09/24/2013
A new study that claims to present evidence of alien life is being met with a healthy dose of skepticism in the scientific community. On July 31, a team of British researchers sent a balloon into the stratosphere over England, where it collected samples at an altitude range of 14 miles ...

Auto-Brewery Syndrome: Apparently, You Can Make Beer In Your Gut #funfriday

09/20/2013
A 61-year-old man stumbled into a Texas emergency room complaining of dizziness. Nurses ran a Breathalyzer test. The man's blood alcohol concentration was a whopping 0.37 percent, or almost five times the legal limit for driving in Texas. There was just one hitch: The man said that he hadn't touched a ...

How MALDI-ToF is Changing Clinical Microbiology - ICAAC 2013

09/12/2013
Lasers are the new DNA. It is called matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization–time of flight (MALDI-TOF) and it uses mass spectrometry to quickly test for hundreds of different pathogens in a small sample using a single automated device. MALDI-TOF is increasingly being used in clinical microbiology laboratories for rapid bacterial ...

High Dose Therapy for Influenza Drug - ICAAC 2013

09/12/2013
Critically ill patients with the pandemic H1N1 influenza who received triple the standard dose of the influenza drug oseltamivir were 7 times more likely to completely clear the virus from their system in 5 days than those who received the standard dose. This discussion addresses the healthcare implications of ...

Pertussis on Rise in U.S. Elderly - ICAAC 2013

09/12/2013
Pertussis, a respiratory illness commonly known as whooping cough, is a very contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. Since the early 1980s, there has been an overall trend of an increase in reported pertussis cases. In this video participants discuss the results of a new ...

The Role of Vitamin D Supplements in Preventing and Treating Disease - ICAAC 2013

09/11/2013
There is much interest in the role of nutrients and micronutrients in the support of host defense against infections. However, there is controversy in the ability of supplements to help prevent or treat infections. Speakers discuss research on the role of vitamin D supplements to prevent and/or treat recurrent ear ...

The Role of the Microbiome in Infection Control - ICAAC 2013

09/11/2013
The disruption of the human microbiome through use of antimicrobials is a topic of growing interest among healthcare epidemiologists, not only because it is a major risk factor for C. difficile infection (CDI), but also because it could be a driving force behind the introduction and proliferation of multidrug-resistant organisms ...

Shingles Vaccine Coverage Low in Elderly Americans - ICAAC 2013

09/11/2013
Almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles during their lifetime. Despite the approval and recommendation by the FDA of a shingles vaccine for adults over 50, only 16% of American seniors over 60 are vaccinated. Vaccinations are even lower for those aged ...

Human Interferon Kills Resistant H7N9 Influenza - ICAAC 2013

09/11/2013
During the April 2013 avian influenza A (H7N9) outbreak, more than 130 human infections with H7N9 were reported. Most patients had severe respiratory illness and 44 people have died. Studies suggest that the H7N9 virus has developed resistance to oseltamivir. A human interferon already in use for treatment of genital ...

ICAAC to Feature Higher Cure Rate Options for Hepatitis C

09/11/2013
New therapeutic regimens are in the works to permanently curb many hepatitis C infections. Delegates attending the 53rd Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) will be privy to the latest, cutting-edge information. "There will be a symposium on what every infectious disease physician should know about treating hepatitis C," ...

2013 ICAAC Overview Briefing

09/10/2013
Members of the ICAAC Program Committee present highlights by day of the ICAAC meeting and discuss sessions of particular interest. Host: Michael Schmidt, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC Participants: Craig E. Rubens, Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute, Seattle, WA Robin Patel, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN

ICAAC 2013 C.difficile Update with Kelly Daniels and Philip Chung

09/10/2013
Patients getting medical care can catch serious infections called healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). While most types of HAIs are declining, one -- caused by the bacterium Clostridium difficile --continues to grow. C. difficile causes diarrhea linked to 14,000 American deaths each year. Participants in this video discuss epidemiological studies showing that ...

Scientists Engineer Strain of MERS Coronavirus for Use in a Vaccine

09/10/2013
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, rMERS-CoV-ΔE, has a mutation in ...

10 Supermarket Health Dangers - MSN Healthy Living

09/06/2013
This Week in Microbiology co-host Michael Schmidt is featured on msn.com's Healthy Living in a slideshow about potential health issues at the supermarket: Placing fresh produce on the checkout belt invites germs to have a field day. Packages of poultry, ground meat, fresh fish and even filet mignon and sushi-grade ...

Programmed Cell Death Activates Latent Herpesviruses

09/05/2013
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 the Journal of Virology. Human herpesviruses (HHV) are ...

Why Microbiology? ASM Members Share their Stories

08/19/2013
Members of the American Society for Microbiology share their stories of how they discovered microbiology. To learn more about becoming a member visit http://www.asm.org/advance.

A Whiff of Taxonomy – Archaeoglobus fulgidus

08/19/2013
Pick an archaeon, any archaeon, and you will find it has a story to tell. Not all archaea are exotic but plenty of them are. These stalwarts live in environments we humans call extreme, where they carry out what to us seem extreme types of metabolic conversions. Most have come ...

MRSA Strain in Humans Originally Came from Cattle

08/14/2013
A strain of bacteria that causes skin and soft tissue infections in humans originally came from cattle, according to a study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The researchers who conducted the genetic analysis of strains of Staphylococcus aureus known as ...

American Academy of Microbiology's new FAQ: West Nile Virus, July 2013

08/02/2013
Where does the virus come from? How is it spread? Can we predict when and where outbreaks will occur? What factors determine how sick a person will become if they are infected with West Nile virus? To help answer the many questions people have about this multi-faceted virus, the American Academy ...

Social amoebae travel with a posse: Tiny single-celled organisms have amazingly complicated social lives

07/31/2013
In 2011, Nature announced that scientists had discovered a single-celled organism that is a primitive farmer. The organism, a social amoeba called Dictyostelium discoideum, picks up edible bacteria, carries them to new locations and harvests them like crops. D. discoideum enjoyed a brief spell in the media spotlight, billed as the ...

HPV Vaccine Is Credited in Fall of Teenagers’ Infection Rate

06/20/2013
The prevalence of dangerous strains of the human papillomavirus — the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and a principal cause of cervical cancer — has dropped by half among teenage girls in recent years, a striking measure of success for a vaccine against the virus that ...

The Secret and the Solution: Michael Schmidt, Ph.D., on the Antimicrobial Properties of Copper at TEDxCharleston

06/20/2013
Michael Schimdt, Ph.D., Professor and Vice Chairman of Microbiology and Immunology, Director, Office of Special Programs, Medical University of South Carolina, gives a TEDx talk in Charleston, SC, about the antimicrobial properties of copper and how this mineral may significantly reduce hospital acquired infections.

More MERS virus deaths in Saudi Arabia

06/18/2013
Four more people have died from the MERS virus in Saudi Arabia, bringing the death toll from the SARS-like virus in the kingdom to 32, the health ministry has said. A statement on the ministry's website said on Monday two people had died in the western city of Taif and the ...

The Microbiome of the Sky: Role for Microbes in Cloud Formation?

05/23/2013
Whether the microorganisms routinely inhabit the upper troposphere -- perhaps living on carbon compounds also found there -- or whether they were simply lofted there from the Earth's surface isn't yet known. Airborne microbes are of interest to atmospheric scientists, because they could play a role in forming ice that ...

Map of H7N9 fatalities and confirmed infections in China

05/06/2013
Shanghai Daily has a web page set up that shows the geographic distribution of H7N9 infections and fatalities in China. There is also a news feed, information on symptoms and a photo gallery. Click "source" to view.

Copper Surfaces Reduce the Rate of Healthcare-Acquired Infections in the ICU (Press Release)

04/09/2013
Placement of copper objects in intensive care unit (ICU) hospital rooms reduced the number of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) in patients by more than half, according to a new study published in the May issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, ...

New bird flu virus adds to China health fears (Video)

04/05/2013
Jane Lanhee Lee reports on a new spate of bird flu cases in China that has alarmed citizens grappling with earlier livestock-related health scares and reticent authorities. (Click source to watch)

China culls birds as flu deaths mount; airline shares fall

04/05/2013
Chinese authorities slaughtered over 20,000 birds at a poultry market in Shanghai on Friday as the death toll from a new strain of bird flu mounted to six, spreading concern overseas and sparking a sell-off in airline shares in Europe and Hong Kong. The local government in Shanghai said the ...

Baby's first microbiology book!

04/04/2013
Microbiologist parents of newborns or expecting microbiologists now have a way to indoctrinate their wee little ones with an exciting new book for infants entitled "Baby's First Microbiology Book." Help baby learn about all the important little creatures! The pictures are: a microscope, bacteria colony isolation, an amoeba, a bacteriophage, ...

China readies to fight new bird flu; Japan, Hong Kong on guard

04/04/2013
China said it was mobilizing resources nationwide to combat a new strain of deadly bird flu that has killed four people, as Japan and Hong Kong stepped up vigilance against the virus and Vietnam banned imports of Chinese poultry. The H7N9 bird flu strain does not appear to be transmitted ...

Symbiotic Bacteria Program Daily Rhythms in Squid Using Light and Chemicals

04/02/2013
Glowing bacteria inside squids use light and chemical signals to control circadian-like rhythms in the animals, according to a study to be published on April 2 in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The Hawaiian bobtail squid, Euprymna scolopes, houses a colony of Vibrio fischeri ...

Read any ASM Press eBook Free for a Week!

04/01/2013
The American Society for Microbiology is celebrating Read an eBook Week* from April 1st to April 5th, 2013. During this time, they are offering full access to many of their titles and you can read your favorite eBooks for free at the ASM Press eBookstore. (Click "source" above for the ...

This Week in Microbiology #53 - Live in Manchester at the SGM 2013 Spring Conference #sgmman (video)

03/27/2013
Vincent Racaniello and co-host Laura Piddock, Ph.D., with guests Paul Williams, Ph.D., Kalin Vetsigian, Ph.D., and David Harper, Ph.D.

Galveston National Laboratory missing deadly Venezuelan virus

03/26/2013
The Galveston National Laboratory lost one of five vials containing a deadly Venezuelan virus, according to the University of Texas Medical Branch, which owns the $174 million facility designed with the strictest security measures to hold the deadliest viruses in the country. Like Ebola, the missing Guanarito virus causes hemorrhagic fever, ...

The Peter Wildy Prize for Microbiology Education 2013 - David Bhella, Ph.D.

03/25/2013
David Bhella, Ph.D., MRC Centre for Virus Research, accepts the Peter Wildy Prize for Microbiology Education, awarded annually by the Society for General Microbiology for an outstanding contribution to microbiology education.

Are Algae-based Biofuels a Realistic Alternative to Petroleum?

03/20/2013
Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have found that nearly 14 percent of land in the continental United States, or roughly the combined area of Texas and New Mexico, could be used for converting algae to transportation fuels. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy estimated that for algae fuel ...

Engineering adenoviruses for gene therapy

03/19/2013
This is a movie by David Bella, Ph.D., at the University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research showing the results of an analysis of Adenovirus binding to blood coagulation factor X, performed in collaboration with Professor Andrew H Baker in the University of Glasgow. The animation was created using Maya ...

Scientists map genome that causes Dutch Elm Disease

03/18/2013
Researchers from the University of Toronto and SickKids Research Institute announced today that they have successfully mapped the genes in the fungus that causes Dutch Elm Disease. The researchers believe this is the first time the 30 million DNA letters for the fungus Ophiostoma ulmi have been mapped. The findings, ...

The cost of drugs for a dead disease

03/15/2013
The US government has taken delivery of the first drug said to cure smallpox. It was developed under a government plan to buy biodefence drugs that would otherwise stall in development for lack of a market. The country plans to buy enough to treat two million people, for $410 million. On ...

Next-Generation Site-Directed Transgenesis in the Malaria Vector Mosquito Anopheles gambiae: Self-Docking Strains Expressing Germline-Specific phiC31 Integrase

03/14/2013
Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes have a devastating impact on global health and the situation is complicated due to difficulties with both existing control measures and the impact of climate change. Genetically modified mosquitoes that are refractory to disease transmission are seen as having great potential in the delivery of novel ...

Craig Venter close to creating synthetic life

03/14/2013
For the first time we are close to creating artificial life from scratch. So says Craig Venter, founder of the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland, and famed for creating the first cell with a synthetic genome. "We think we're close, but we've not submitted a paper yet," he said ...

Averting the antibiotics apocalypse now

03/14/2013
There is still time to ward off medical disaster - but we need to think two steps ahead, not one IF YOU'RE reading this article, antibiotics have probably saved your life – and not once but several times. A rotten tooth, a knee operation, a brush with pneumonia; any number of ...

Human Nature Sinks HIV Prevention Trial

03/14/2013
A large-scale study of a biomedical intervention that potentially offers novel options for women to protect themselves from HIV infection has, to the surprise of many researchers, failed. But the results say more about the participants’ behavior than the effectiveness of the products being tested. At the 20th Conference on Retroviruses ...

Mars Was a Suitable Environment for Life

03/14/2013
The first analysis of powder samples drilled out from the inside of once water-soaked rock shows Mars was a suitable place for microbial life to evolve, scientists with NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity mission said Tuesday. Among the chemicals discovered inside the rock, called “John Klein,” were sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus ...

Bacterial colonies lend whole new meaning to "smartphone culture"

03/08/2013
A relatively straightforward classroom experiment produces fascinating images by students at the University of Surrey when they imprinted their smartphone onto a bacterial growth medium.

Deadly Bacteria That Resist Strongest Drugs Are Spreading

03/08/2013
Deadly infections with bacteria that resist even the strongest antibiotics are on the rise in hospitals in the United States, and there is only a “limited window of opportunity” to halt their spread, health officials warned Tuesday. The bacteria, normally found in the gut, have acquired a lethal trait: they ...

Ocean Temperatures Provide Early-Warning System for Malaria

03/08/2013
Temperatures on the surface of the tropical South Atlantic Ocean in July can predict the severity of malaria outbreaks in northwestern India that begin to peak four months later, Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have discovered. The correlation they have found between ocean temperatures and distant monsoons that worsen malaria epidemics ...

Using Routine Surveillance Data to Estimate the Epidemic Potential of Emerging Zoonoses: Application to the Emergence of US Swine Origin Influenza A H3N2v Virus

03/08/2013
A simple new method better assesses the risks posed by emerging zoonotic viruses (those transmissible from animals to humans), according to a study published in PLOS Medicine this week. Dr. Simon Cauchemez and colleagues from Imperial College London in the UK and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in ...

Study finds maternal diet may predict respiratory syncytial virus severity

03/08/2013
An important predictor of the severity of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants may be what their mothers ate during pregnancy. Fernando Polack, M.D., Cesar Milstein Professor of Pediatrics, is lead author of an article in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine that finds the most serious ...

Ant Agriculture: Smithsonian Scientist Sunshine Van Bael

03/08/2013
Community ecologist Sunshine Van Bael of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama details her work and role in understanding the world's first known farmers leafcutter ants, plant-insect-fungal interactions, endophytic fungi, and their dynamic relationships with the surrounding environment.

Leaf-cutting ants prefer low-fungi leaves

03/08/2013
In the February issue of New Phytologist, Tulane University biologists examine why leaf-cutting ants target some plants and avoid others, concluding that high levels of friendly fungi in the leaves of some plants protect them from destruction by ants. Leaf-cutting ants are major defoliators, inflicting billions of dollars of damage to ...

Virus-host co-evolution under a modified nuclear genetic code

03/08/2013
For what may be the first time, researchers have discovered a virus inside a host with a non-standard nuclear genetic code — one that differs from the standard genetic code that almost all living things use to produce proteins. “The finding is significant because it shows that these viruses can overcome ...

UNMC Develops Library for Researchers of Staph Infections

03/08/2013
Through the creation of a library of more than 2,000 mutant strains of the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, the University of Nebraska Medical Center has provided an important tool for scientists around the world seeking answers for how to better deal with staph infections. Developed over the past four years, the library ...

Studio 360 - Reconstructing Viruses (podcast)

03/08/2013
Vincent Racaniello of Columbia University did groundbreaking research on reconstructing the DNA of viruses (sort of like microbial Jurassic Park). The method was used to re-create the spectacularly lethal influenza behind the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, which killed between 50 and 100 million people. Why re-create such a monster? "Influenza ...

Video Offers Glimpse of Biosafety Level 4 Lab

03/07/2013
Security concerns at laboratories doing research on infectious diseases mean that most of us will never get a look at the inner workings of such labs, the most secure designated as Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4). But because its BSL-4 lab is not yet operational, the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories ...

Anthrax in Minnesota? The Laboratory Response Network Springs Into Action

03/07/2013
"Picture a small rural hospital in northern Minnesota. A man walks into the emergency room late in the afternoon complaining of flu-like symptoms. He’s admitted and at first seems stable, but rapidly deteriorates. As he is transported by helicopter to a larger hospital for advanced treatment, his condition ...

Infectious Disease Expert Anne Rimoin on Monkeypox (video)

03/04/2013
UCLA infectious disease expert Anne Rimoin talks about the alarming recent rise in monkeypox in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Stash of Stem Cells Found in a Human

03/04/2013
The parasites that cause schistosomiasis, one of the most common parasitic infections in the world, are notoriously long-lived. Researchers have now found stem cells inside the parasite that can regenerate worn-down organs, which may help explain how they can live for years or even decades inside their host. Schistosomiasis is acquired ...

Resurrection of 3-billion-year-old antibiotic-resistance proteins

03/04/2013
Scientists are reporting “laboratory resurrections” of several 2-3-billion-year-old proteins that are ancient ancestors of the enzymes that enable today’s antibiotic-resistant bacteria to shrug off huge doses of penicillins, cephalosporins and other modern drugs. The achievement, reported in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, opens the door to a scientific ...

Seeing Through HIV's Disguises

03/04/2013
Studying HIV-1, the most common and infectious HIV subtype, Johns Hopkins scientists have identified 25 human proteins “stolen” by the virus that may be critical to its ability to infect new cells. HIV-1 viruses capture many human proteins from the cells they infect but the researchers believe these 25 proteins ...

'Fat worms’ inch scientists toward better biofuel production

03/04/2013
Fat worms confirm that researchers from Michigan State University have successfully engineered a plant with oily leaves ­– a feat that could enhance biofuel production as well as lead to improved animal feeds. The results, published in the current issue of The Plant Cell, the journal of the American Society ...

Dengue may rise in Florida if rival mosquitoes don’t mate

03/04/2013
Florida dengue cases may rise in the near future due to female yellow fever mosquitoes becoming savvy about their false-flag suitors, leading to increased yellow fever mosquito populations. When male Asian tiger mosquitoes successfully deceive yellow fever females, their matings are fruitless – the two species can’t produce offspring together, ...

Melting permafrost could double amount of greenhouse gas

03/04/2013
For the past decade, much of the focus in the Arctic has centered on the rate at which ice melts and its ecological impact. Now, as Arctic ice continues to melt, carbon that has been stored in the frozen tundra for thousands of years is creeping up to the surface ...

Study may explain why some people get pimples

03/04/2013
The bacteria that cause acne live on everyone’s skin, yet one in five people is lucky enough to develop only an occasional pimple over a lifetime. What’s the secret? In a boon for teenagers everywhere, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the University of California at ...

Pet rats as a source of hantavirus in England and Wales

03/04/2013
Researchers report the detection of a strain of Seoul hantavirus (SEOV) in pet rats in England and Wales. The discovery followed an investigation of a case of haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in Wales. Hantavirus RNA was detected via real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and classic RT-PCR in pet ...

Rapid emergence and antigenic diversification of the norovirus 2012 Sydney variant in Denmark, October to December, 2012

03/04/2013
The norovirus (NoV) season in Denmark in late 2012 was characterised by an increase in the number of NoV infections caused mainly by the 2012 Sydney variant, but also by the 2009 New Orleans variant. Analysis of approximately 85% of the capsid gene from 10 Sydney 2012 and 9 New ...

Early bird registration is now open for all attendees of ICAAC 2013

03/04/2013
Registration is now open for all attendees of ICAAC 2013. ICAAC 2013 attendees will represent nearly 100 countries, and the common language is science! Join the world's most renowned scientists as they discuss the state of infection control and prevention on a global scale. This year’s program will include the ...

CDC bioterror labs cited for security flaws in audits

02/26/2013
Laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been repeatedly cited in private government audits for failing to properly secure potential bioterror agents such as anthrax and plague, and not training employees who work with them, according to "restricted" government watchdog reports obtained by USA TODAY. "These weaknesses could ...

Why Sourdough Bread Resists Mold (Press Release)

02/22/2013
Sourdough bread resists mold, unlike conventionally leavened bread. Now Michael Gaenzle and colleagues of the University of Alberta, Edmonton, show why. During sourdough production, bacteria convert the linoleic acid in bread flour to a compound that has powerful antifungal activity. The research, which could improve the taste of bread, is ...

If the Yeast Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy: The Microbiology of Beer - New Report from the American Academy of Microbiology #beer #microbiology

02/08/2013
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 ...

Men More Likely to Commit Research Misconduct than Female Counterparts #mBio #science

01/22/2013
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 ...

In Flu Season, Use a Mask. But Which One?

01/16/2013
Face masks help prevent people from getting the flu. But how much protection do they provide? You might think the answer to this question would be well established. It’s not. In fact, there is considerable uncertainty over how well face masks guard against influenza when people use them outside of hospitals and ...

Nikon's Small World 2012 - Sonderia sp. (a ciliate that preys upon various algae, diatoms, and cyanobacteria) (400x)

11/20/2012
Nikon's Small World 2012 Photomicrography Competition Dr. Diana Lipscomb George Washington University Department of Biological Sciences Washington, District of Columbia, USA Subject Matter: Sonderia sp. (a ciliate that preys upon various algae, diatoms, and cyanobacteria) (400x) Technique: Nomarski Interference Contrast
11/20/2012
The virus that is causing alarm among global public health authorities after it killed a man in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia earlier this year and is now linked to two other cases of disease is a novel type of coronavirus most closely related to viruses found in bats, according to a ...

Registration is now open for ASM's General Meeting 2013 in Denver #ASMGM

11/16/2012
Did you know that the Denver Museum of Nature & Science has 1.4 million artifacts and specimen that are used every day in scientific studies and educational programs? That the area between Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins is often called the "Napa Valley of Beer," where some of the best ...

Scientific American editor Fred Guterl discusses viruses and the H5N1 controversy on Jon Stewart's Daily Show

11/12/2012
In this clip from Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, guest Fred Guterl, award-winning journalist and executive editor of Scientific American, discusses his new book, "The Fate of the Species,"and touches on viruses, influenza, scientific research, and the recent H5N1 controversy over the publishing of sensitive scientific papers.    

Dr. Craig Rubens Appointed Chair of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) (News Release)

11/06/2012
Craig E. Rubens, MD, PhD, has been named Chair of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC), marking the first time a pediatric infectious disease specialist has been appointed to the position. ICAAC is the world's premier meeting on infectious diseases and antimicrobial agents, organized by the American ...

The Excitement of Clinical Microbiology

11/05/2012
Clinical microbiologists uncover new and important pathogens, perform the role of sentinels to alert of possible upcoming epidemics, provide statistical and clinical information regarding the pathogens currently on the scene, and spur demands on research to create novel diagnostic tools. In fact, the development of such tools is taking place ...

Combination of Gulf Oil and Dispersant Spell Potential Trouble for Gut Microbes

10/24/2012
A study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, on Tuesday, October 23, examined whether crude oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the dispersant used on it, or a combination of the two might affect the microbes of the ...

Event - Synthetic Biology: Life both as you know it ... and as you don’t -Tues. Oct. 23 @busboysandpoets DC

10/22/2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 6:30 – 8:30 pm Busboys and Poets, 5th and K St., NW, Washington, DC No one can synthesize life from scratch using off-the-shelf ingredients, at least not yet. But the scientific community has been devising ever more powerful ways to intervene in the genetic and molecular mechanism from ...

Return of Influenza - A "Microbes After Hours" Series

10/10/2012
Fall is on the horizon, bringing with it freshly-sharpened pencils, vibrantly-colored leaves, and of course - the annual influenza season. In this video you will learn about the microbiology of this fascinating virus and why vaccination not only protects ourselves but higher-risk individuals all around us. Guest speakers include... Dr. Jeff Taubenberger, ...

Large bacterial population colonized land 2.75 billion years ago

09/27/2012
There is evidence that some microbial life had migrated from the Earth’s oceans to land by 2.75 billion years ago, though many scientists believe such land-based life was limited because the ozone layer that shields against ultraviolet radiation did not form until hundreds of millions years later. But new research ...

Building a Bat Cave to Battle a Killer

09/25/2012
Researchers from the Nature Conservancy have feared that white nose syndrome, a devastating fungal disease that kills hibernating bats by the millions, would come to Bellamy Cave, Tennessee. Last winter it did. The disease has no treatment and no cure. More than five million bats have died. In response, they ...

Cases of West Nile virus set record, deaths soar

08/29/2012
A total of 1,590 U.S. cases of West Nile virus, including 66 deaths, have been reported through late August this year, the highest human toll reported since the mosquito-borne disease was first detected in the country in 1999, health officials said on Wednesday. The toll is rising quickly and "we ...

Genome Detectives Solve a Hospital’s Deadly Outbreak

08/24/2012
The ambulance sped up to the red brick federal research hospital on June 13, 2011, and paramedics rushed a gravely ill 43-year-old woman straight to intensive care. She had a rare lung disease and was gasping for breath. And, just hours before, the hospital learned she had been infected with ...
08/24/2012
New research appearing in the August issue of The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry adds to the growing work linking an infection caused by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite to suicide attempts. Michigan State University’s Lena Brundin was one of the lead researchers on the team. About 10-20 percent of people in the ...

Viruses with integrated gene switch (press release)

08/24/2012
Scientists of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have developed “RNA switches” which allow them to specifically turn on and off genes in viruses. This will help to enhance regulation of gene therapy and viral therapy of cancer. Numerous viruses are used in the service of science today. They serve as ...

Danger in the blood: U-M scientists show how antibiotic-resisting bacterial infections may form (Press Release)

08/24/2012
New research may help explain why hundreds of thousands of Americans a year get sick – and tens of thousands die – after bacteria get into their blood. It also suggests why some of those bloodstream infections resist treatment with even the most powerful antibiotics. In a new paper in the ...

Sanctuary chimps show high rates of drug-resistant staph

08/24/2012
Chimpanzees from African sanctuaries carry drug-resistant, human-associated strains of the bacteria Staphlyococcus aureus, a pathogen that the infected chimpanzees could spread to endangered wild ape populations if they were reintroduced to their natural habitat, a new study shows. The study by veterinarians, microbiologists and ecologists was the first to apply the ...

Iowa State, Ames Lab researchers study the structure of drug resistance in tuberculosis (Press Release)

08/24/2012
Edward Yu took note of the facts – nearly 2 million deaths each year, 9 million infected each year, developments of multidrug-resistant, extensively drug-resistant and now totally drug-resistant strains – and decided to shift his research focus to tuberculosis. Yu, an Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researcher, has described in ...

Study Suggests Early Exposure to Antibiotics May Impact Development, Obesity (Press Release)

08/24/2012
Researchers at NYU School of Medicine have made a novel discovery that could have widespread clinical implications, potentially affecting everything from nutrient metabolism to obesity in children. Since the 1950’s, low dose antibiotics have been widely used as growth promoters in the agricultural industry. For decades, livestock growers have ...

Cholera infects 13,000 in Sierra Leone, national emergency declared

08/24/2012
An outbreak of cholera in West Africa has infected more than 13,000 people and killed at least 258 people in Sierra Leone and Guinea, authorities said as they appealed for international assistance. Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma has declared the outbreak there an "emergency issue," and has set up a ...

Emerging Gastrointestinal Pathogen Linked With Human Fecal Contamination

08/24/2012
A gastrointestinal pathogen associated with fecal contamination was present in 97 of 129 water samples taken from four beaches on the Lake Erie coast of Ohio according to research published in the August issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology (click source to download a .pdf of the journal article). Substantial numbers ...

New Diagnostic Fast and Effective at Finding TB in Elephants: Benefits for Pachyderms and Public Health

08/24/2012
A serological test is highly accurate at finding tuberculosis infection in elephants, and can determine such infection years before culture, according to a study in the August Clinical and Vaccine Immunology (click source to download the .pdf of the journal article). The issue is critical not only for elephants, which ...

New Evidence for Polyomavirus BK Role in Prostate Cancer

08/24/2012
Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer morbidity and the third greatest cause of cancer death among men in developed countries. A major question in cancer research has been whether virus infection plays a role in cancers of the genitourinary tract. Now a team of Swiss investigators has new ...

Boost for Efforts to Prevent Microbial Stowaways on Interplanetary Spacecraft

08/24/2012
Efforts to expunge micro-organisms from spacecraft assembly cleanrooms, and the spacecraft themselves, inadvertently select for the organisms that are often the most fit to survive long journeys in space. This has the risk of thwarting the goal of avoiding contaminating other celestial bodies, as well as samples brought back to ...

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Designated “Milestones in Microbiology’ Site

08/24/2012
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has been named a Milestones in Microbiology site by the American Society for Microbiology. This ASM program recognizes institutions and the scientists who worked there that have made significant contributions toward advancing the science of microbiology. A ceremony unveiling the plaque that will mark the site ...
08/16/2012
The impact of influenza on work absenteeism is poorly documented. Researchers used data from the national registry and Norway Post AS (>14,000 employees) to explore sickness absence patterns from 2005/06 through 2009/10 in Norway. Annually, an estimated 2.868% (mean 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.405–4.820%) of the working population obtained sick ...

MicroRNAs and Retroviral Integrity

08/13/2012
Jamie Henzy, a postdoctoral researcher at Boston College, has authored a post on Small Things Considered that explores the shady world of the deltaretrovirus genus. "Among retroviruses, the deltaretrovirus genus is something of a shady bunch, its members lurking in the shadows, causing trouble in the form of persistent infections that ...

The Rise of Genomic Superspreaders

07/31/2012
One hundred million years ago the earth’s climate was much warmer than today and vast inland seas stretched across entire continents. The land was dominated by charismatic megafauna that would one day serve as inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World. This period is commonly referred to ...

HIV and TB at the White House (photo)

07/25/2012
Photo taken by Joshua Yospyn for WJLA TV at the We Can End AIDS march in Washington, D.C.

ASM's State of the Society 2012 Address by Dr. David Hooper

07/24/2012
On Monday, June 18, 2012, then ASM President Dr. David Hooper gave the annual State of the Society Address to attendees at the 2012 ASM General Meeting in San Francisco, California, outlining the achievements of the Society over the past year. Click below to watch the archived video of ...

Cordyceps: attack of the killer fungi

07/24/2012
Sir David Attenborough and the Planet Earth team discover the weird world of the Cordyceps; killer fungi that invades the body of an insect to grow and diminish the insect population. Fascinating animal and wildlife video from the BBC epic natural world masterpiece 'Planet Earth'.

Saving the World with Microbes - A Summer Happy Hour Series at ASM HQ - July 19, 2012

07/12/2012
Did you know that your body is home to 10 times more microbes than human cells? Join us at ASM Headquarters on Thursday, July 19, 2012, from 6-8 PM to learn about the human microbiome and its fascinating practical applications. Come mingle with like-minded enthusiasts and curious citizens over FREE ...

Oddly Microbial: 86 Million Year-Old Deep Seabed Mystery Cells

07/03/2012
Life in a high-pressured environment with practically nothing to eat might be ok for high-fashion models, but it’s an unlikely lifestyle choice for a single cell whose usual overriding goal is to become two cells. Yet the largest living ecosystem on Earth—the deep biosphere—is comprised of microbes so energy starved ...

Taliban bans Pakistan polio vaccinations over drone strikes

06/28/2012
A Taliban commander in Pakistan’s tribal belt has banned a vaccination campaign against child polio in protest over frequent United States drone attacks there. Hafiz Gul Bahadur said that the U.S.-funded vaccinations for tens of thousands of children would be outlawed until drone attacks stopped. He also said the polio campaign ...

NEJM: The Burden of Disease and the Changing Task of Medicine

06/28/2012
At first glance, the inaugural 1812 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery, and the Collateral Branches of Science seems reassuringly familiar: a review of angina pectoris, articles on infant diarrhea and burns. The apparent similarity to today's Journal, however, obscures a fundamental discontinuity (1812a, b, c; ...

A Few Thoughts About the 2012 San Francisco ASM General Meeting by Elio Schaechter

06/28/2012
I recently returned from the ASM yearly general meeting in San Francisco. It happens to be 60 years, no less, since I attended my first such event, that one in Chicago. In those days, many members attended a giant banquet as part of the event, I well remember. As a ...

Eating Volatile Garbage: Bacteria for Bioremediation

06/28/2012
There is much in the way of microbial activity that is taking place in one of the world’s most poisonous dumps, which turns out to be cleaning up the place. Take the 150-foot-high garbage dump in Colombia, South America. Soon it may have life as a public park thanks to ...

How clean is your hotel room?

06/28/2012
When you've collapsed in a hotel bed at the end of a day of vacationing, the last thing you want to worry about is whether a previous guest left germs behind. But germs are invisible to the naked eye, so how do hotel housekeepers — who have an average of ...

Fermented Fashion via @wabibitotweets @phylogenomics

06/27/2012
The Micro'be' project by contemporary textile artist and lecturer Donna Franklin, and scientist Gary Cass, explores fashion and technology's newest frontier: garments made from the bacterial fermentation of wine and beer. The project's eureka moment came about through a vat of Australian red wine that had become contaminated with microbes ...

ASM Live - Antibiotic Exposure, The Microbiome and Obesity

06/19/2012
A number of variables can cause signficant changes in the human microbiome early in life including birth method and antibiotic exposure. Understanding these shifts is important because new research suggests that shifts in the microbiome of infants could make them more prone to gain weight as adults. Participants will discuss ...

Special Session on Human Microbiome Livestreaming Free Online from ASM Annual Meeting

06/18/2012
A newly added session at the 2012 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology will focus on the latest data release by the NIH Human Microbiome Project (HMP). The HMP has been a five-year endeavor to produce community resources to support the human microbiome field. These activities included characterization of ...

I can haz ASM talks

06/16/2012
An I Can Haz Cheezburger meme for ASM's General Meeting in San Francisco created by artist Michele Banks.

@carlzimmer 's guide to zombie parasite journalism

06/05/2012
Science journalist and writer Carl Zimmer has a humorous post on how some journalists are attempting to tie the recent spate of cannibal attacks in the news to Toxoplasma gondii or other various parasites and microbes, and dispels the myths with some basic fact checking. "In the past few weeks, there’s ...

The Bacterial Resistome is Both Ancient and Surprising

05/18/2012
One of the many interesting controversies that microbiologists can ponder today is whether the alarming proliferation of antibiotic-resistant strains is primarily a consequence of the widespread use of antibiotics in humans and in animal husbandry. An examination of bacteria isolated from terrestrial animals in the Galapagos, a remote location with ...

Bacteria Coloring Packet (K-12)

05/18/2012
Here's a nifty resource for young people from the Lenape Regional High School District in New Jersey. It's a bacteria coloring exercise in which young people can learn about the different shapes and forms bacteria take. Click "source" to download the .pdf file.

Knight Science Journalism Tracker review of TWiM Episode 32 with Rosie Redfield

05/17/2012
"Take a listen to four very savvy and plain-talking biologists chatting on their business at an inside-the-academy site called This Week in Microbiology, and more specifically at episode TWiM 32. There host and Columbia U. faculty member Vincent Racaniello and two colleagues talk of arsenic and Mono Lake with a ...

Microbiology Today article on This Week in Virology at the Society for General Microbiology (UK) meeting in Dublin

05/15/2012
The Society for General Microbiology (UK) publication Microbiology Today has a two page feature by Paul Duprex, Ph.D., Boston University, on Vincent Racaniello, Ph.D., Columbia University, and his popular podcast This Week in Virology. The article discusses Racaniello's use of new media to spread the science of virology to a ...

Microbes & Microbrews - Thurs. May 17 at ASM 6-8 p.m. 1752 N St. NW, DC

05/15/2012
From “green” beer brewing practices to new innovations in food sustainability and energy production, come learn and taste the unique application of microbiology and fermentation. Sip local brews, mingle with like-minded enthusiasts, and connect with ASM at our headquarters. May 17, 2012 | 6:00-8:00pm ASM Headquarters, 1752 N Street NW, ...

Virus causes animal die-off along the coast of Peru

05/07/2012
A dying pelican crawls away from the surf to die on the beach of Paita, Peru on May 2, 2012. According to Peruvian vice minister of Environment, Gabriel Quijandria, the cause of death of thousands of fish, sea birds and diverse animal wildlife that has been washing ashore in the ...

What Happened to Our Friendly Enterococci?

05/04/2012
Enterococci had been generally regarded as benign commensals, a part of our healthy intestinal microbiota. They were even invited in, being used as probiotics. But then, in the late 1970s, the first multiple drug-resistant strains appeared, and vancomycin-resistant strains followed in 1981. In recent decades, they have taken center stage ...

The Latest on the Doomsday Virus (NYT Editorial)

04/23/2012
We can worry less that a newly created bird flu virus might kill tens or hundreds of millions of people if it escaped from the laboratory. But there is still some residual danger. And we remain appalled at the slipshod way in which this research was authorized despite its potential ...

Michelin chef David Chang calls microbes the unsung hero of flavor

04/23/2012
Microbiology is not something that we might associate with food, but according to New York chef David Chang, it’s the unsung hero of flavor. The Michelin chef, who recently visited Australia for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, spoke in detail about his personal discovery of microbes — invisible organisms ...

You and Your Ten Thousand Trillion Microbes

04/20/2012
For every human cell in your body, there are hundreds or thousands of bacterial cells. So who is hosting whom? Even though our on-board microbial hordes—known also as our microbiome—sometimes threaten and deprive us of our health and our lives, they are central to our survival and our daily well ...

National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week is April 22-28

04/17/2012
ASM is a supporter of National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week and is providing three simple suggestions to enhance your Lab Week experience. Inform friends/family about tests you perform - visit Labtests Online where you can find information on microbiology tests and others! Click here for FREE displays that can serve as ...

Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Bareilly Infections Associated with Spicy Tuna Rolls

04/16/2012
Collaborative investigation efforts of state, local, and federal public health agencies indicate that a frozen raw yellowfin tuna product, known as Nakaochi Scrape, from Moon Marine USA Corporation is the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Bareilly infections. Nakaochi Scrape is tuna backmeat that is scraped from the bones ...

Goat milk holds malaria vaccine

04/13/2012
The latest episode of the Animal Science Podcast from the American Society of Animal Science interviews researcher Mark Westhusin at Texas A&M University which recently announced the birth of a genetically modified goat that produces a malaria vaccine in its milk. This goat could help people in developing countries get ...

U.S. Tightens Rules on Antibiotics Use for Livestock

04/12/2012
Farmers and ranchers will for the first time need a prescription from a veterinarian before using antibiotics in farm animals, in hopes that more judicious use of the drugs will reduce the tens of thousands of human deaths that result each year from the drugs’ overuse. The Food and Drug Administration ...

Controversial H5N1 research papers OK to publish, says U.S biosecurity panel

04/03/2012
Two controversial papers on bird flu will be published by scientific journals this year after the go-ahead was given by a U.S biosecurity panel. The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) took a stand over the papers last year out of concerns that details of the studies - which induced ...

The Royal Society in London H5N1 Research Symposium to be Webcast Live to Public, Tuesday April 3 at 9:00 a.m. BST (4:00 a.m. EDT)

04/02/2012
The Royal Society in London will host an international symposium this week to address research issues surrounding H5N1 avian influenza research. Sponsored in part by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the two-day meeting, April 3-4, will feature key influenza researchers and will be webcast to the public in ...

Fouchier anticipates resuming H5N1 studies soon

03/29/2012
The lead researcher of one of the controversial H5N1 avian influenza transmission studies in ferrets said today that he hopes scientists can resume work on the studies in about 2 weeks, after key groups have discussed the issues. Dutch researcher Ron Fouchier, PhD, of Erasmus University, said the voluntary 60-day moratorium ...

Educating the World about Microbes

03/27/2012
Vincent Racaniello accepts the Peter Wildy Prize for Microbiology Education, awarded annually by the Society for General Microbiology for an outstanding contribution to microbiology education. Filmed at the Dublin Convention Centre in Dublin, Ireland.

SGM 2012 Julian Davies "Microbes, Molecules & Me"

03/26/2012
Julian Davies, University of British Columbia, discusses the future of antibiotics in his Society for General Microbiology Prize Medal Lecture at the Society for General Microbiology 2012 Spring Conference in Dublin, Ireland.

Adult Vaccines: A Grown Up Thing to Do #health #vaccines

03/14/2012
Since vaccines have been so successful at controlling diseases like smallpox and polio in the United States, we often take our relatively epidemic-free world for granted. But less than a lifetime ago, these diseases and others were still real threats to health. Despite vaccines’ successes, many people do not know ...

NSABB Members React to Request for Second Look at H5N1 Flu Studies

03/06/2012
Members of a U.S. government biosecurity advisory board are offering a range of reactions to the news that they are being asked to take a second look at two controversial flu studies. Some have not previously spoken publicly about the issue, which has sparked a global debate about biosecurity versus ...

Bird flu research: U.S. panel may take another look

03/01/2012
Laboratory-engineered strains of H5N1 influenza, also known as bird flu, aren’t as dangerous as some have been led to believe, said a scientist involved in the controversial research Wednesday. The researcher, virologist Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, has been at the center of an ongoing debate ...

Genetically Altered H5N1 Virus Not as Dangerous as Believed, Its Maker Asserts

03/01/2012
The scientist who made a deadly bird flu virus transmissible in mammals, touching off public fears of a pandemic, said Wednesday that the virus he created was neither as contagious nor as dangerous as people had been led to believe. His new revelations have prompted the United States government to ...

Photos from the ASMBiodefense 2012 H5N1 Research Discussion

02/29/2012
Moderated by the Chair of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), Paul Keim, Ph.D., this session at the ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting included discussions of the NSABB’s recommendations for the publication of the controversial H5N1 research. Presentations included: NSABB Recommendations Michael T. Osterholm, Ph.D., MPH University of Minnesota ...

Video from the H5N1 Research Discussion at ASMBiodefense

02/29/2012
Video from this morning's discussion of NSABB’s publication recommendations for the NIH-funded research on the transmissibility of H5N1 at ASMBiodefense conference. function iFrameHeight() { var h = 0; if ( !document.all ) { h = document.getElementById('blockrandom').contentDocument.height; document.getElementById('blockrandom').style.height = h + 60 + 'px'; } else if( document.all ) { h = document.frames('blockrandom').document.body.scrollHeight; document.all.blockrandom.style.height = h + 20 + ...

New influenza A virus found in bats

02/29/2012
Influenza A virus reservoirs in animals have provided novel genetic elements leading to the emergence of global pandemics in humans. Most influenza A viruses circulate in waterfowl, but those that infect mammalian hosts are thought to pose the greatest risk for zoonotic spread to humans and the generation of pandemic ...

Live-stream of the H5N1 Research Discussion at ASMBiodefense on Weds., Feb 29, at 7:15 a.m. ET

02/27/2012
Moderated by the Chair of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), Paul Keim, Ph.D., this newly added session at the ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting will include discussions of the NSABB’s recommendations for the publication of the controversial H5N1 research. This session will also provide an ...

Open hospital windows to cut risk of bacterial infection

02/23/2012
A microbiologist says hospital managers should take note of what Florence Nightingale said a century and a half ago - that open windows were the hallmark of a healthy ward. Jack Gilbert, who works at Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois, in ...

Congress members threatened with biological attack

02/23/2012
(Reuters) - Several members of the Congress received mail threatening a biological attack and containing a suspicious powder later found to be harmless as law enforcement officials warned on Wednesday that more letters could be on their way. A number of media organizations and TV shows, including the New York Times ...

Malaria & War- The U.S. Antimalarial Program in World War II

02/22/2012
Leo B. Slater, a historian with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, discusses the U.S. Antimalarial Program in World War II. Note: Requires Real Player Click "source" to view the video.

WHO: Public health, influenza experts agree H5N1 research critical, but extend delay (Press Release)

02/18/2012
A small group of global public health and influenza experts at a WHO-convened meeting reached consensus on two urgent issues related to the newly created H5N1 influenza viruses: extending the temporary moratorium on research with new laboratory-modified H5N1 viruses and recognition that research on naturally-occurring H5N1 influenza virus must continue ...

Scientists weigh terror threat against public health in publishing dilemma

02/18/2012
There needs to be an international body involving scientists and security experts to provide advice on how to share, and when to hold back, the publication of research that could aide terrorists, says Bruce Alberts, editor-in-chief of Science magazine. Dr. Alberts, whose journal has been delaying publication of a paper on ...

Portrait: Richard Lenski

02/17/2012
Richard Lenski, Hannah Distinguished Professor, Michigan State University, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

WHO: Controversial H5N1 studies to stay secret for now

02/17/2012
Speaking after a high-level meeting of flu experts and U.S. security officials in Geneva, a WHO official said an agreement had been reached in principle to keep details of the controversial work secret until deeper risk analyses have been carried out. "There is a preference from a public health perspective for ...

WHO meeting calls for mutant-flu research to be published ‘in full.’

02/17/2012
A two-day meeting of 22 experts convened in Geneva by the World Health Organization which ended this afternoon has concluded that two controversial flu studies should be published in full. The research - which created ferret-transmissible strains of avian H5N1 flu virus – will be published after a delay of ...

Cameco's Cigar Lake Saskatchewan mine dealing with outbreak of nasty norovirus

02/17/2012
A northern Saskatchewan mine is dealing with an outbreak of norovirus. At least three workers at Cameco's Cigar Lake mine are confirmed to have the virus and another 100 workers are showing symptoms. The illness broke out a week ago at the mine site when workers started showing symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting ...

As WHO meeting tries to solve flu studies dispute, the journal Science says it will publish

02/17/2012
The editor of the journal Science is suggesting he may publish in full a controversial bird flu study the U.S. government has asked him to put out in abbreviated fashion only. Dr. Bruce Alberts says unless progress can be made on figuring out how to share the details of the study ...

Science: Default Position Is to Publish H5N1 Research Quickly in Full Form

02/17/2012
The editor of a leading scientific journal has said he is prepared to publish full details of controversial research into the bird flu virus, unless progress is made on how to circulate details of the findings to scientists. The World Health Organization is expected to announce later its view of how ...

Questions About Bird Flu Research Swirl Around Private WHO Meeting

02/17/2012
A closed-door meeting to discuss controversial bird flu research is drawing to a close at the World Health Organization in Geneva, and the WHO plans to publicly report on what happened once it's officially over. Click "source" for more.

Nature News Blog: Avian flu controversy comes to roost at WHO

02/17/2012
"Almost two dozen experts kicked off a two-day international meeting this morning at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, in a bid to find ways to move forward in the controversy over two studies that have created strains of the H5N1 avian flu virus that are transmissible in ferrets. ...

Hot Water Bath Eliminates Pathogens on Cantaloupe

02/14/2012
"The 2011 outbreak of Listeria monocytogenesis in cantaloupe sparked a heightened level of interest in efforts to make cantaloupe safer, with fruit and produce trade associations developing safety guidelines and California cantaloupe growers pushing to set safety goals. Bassam Annous, Ph.D., a microbiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, might just ...

H5N1 research may not aid in the development of vaccines

02/14/2012
"Now that laboratory studies have yielded a glimpse of H5N1 flu viruses that might spread rapidly in humans and cause a devastating pandemic, vaccine makers will be better prepared if one develops. Or will they? It is an appealing argument, and one that some scientists have made in recent weeks as ...

The Three Faces of Thiomargarita

02/14/2012
Merry Youle of Small Things Considered has authored a post that looks at Thiomargarita spp. "Non-motile Thiomargarita was first discovered in 1999 off the Namibian coast, thus was named T. namibiensis. Its cells are large spheres, arranged in chains, each chain enclosed in a mucous sheath. Average cell diameter is 180 ...

The H5N1 Debate: Interviews with panelists from the New York Academy of Sciences

02/14/2012
Nature video captures the essense of the H5N1 debate over the potential publication of two research studies that explore the airborne transmission of the virus between ferrets.

The synergy between microbiology and photography (Video)

02/14/2012
Pablo Rojas' lecture on Microbiology, "Progressive synergism between photography and microbiology — an aesthetic approach," at "Science Slam" in Berlin.

Implications unclear as ocean microbe balance changes

02/13/2012
As the oceans warm, the microbes and plankton that live in them are set to be affected drastically - but scientists say they have no idea whether the changes will fuel climate change or work to counter it. Click "source" to read more.

Notes from the New York Academy of Sciences Dual Use Research: H5N1 Influenza Virus and Beyond panel

02/03/2012
Science writer Carl Zimmer has posted his notes from last night's New York Academy of Sciences "Dual Use Research: H5N1 Influenza Virus and Beyond" panel discussion on his blog The Loom. Zimmer's notes and observations reveal a real split in the science community over whether research on the airborne transmissibility ...

Killer bird flu? What's behind the controversy over bird flu research

01/31/2012
Trine Tsouderos, Chicago Tribune reporter, has published a Q&A with several leading virologists on the controversy surrounding the potential impact of full publication of two studies on the airborne transmissibility of H5N1. "Media reports about the controversy have been marked by frightening language, including the oft-repeated claim that the virus ...

Why research on transmissible H5N1 needs to continue if pandemics are to be prevented

01/31/2012
Yoshihiro Kawaoka, at the University of Tokyo and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has authored a paper published in Nature that explains why the results from his research team on the transmissibility of H5N1 between ferrets should be published and openly accessible. Click "Source" to read the full article.

NSABB explains its recommendations on the communication of experimental work on H5N1 influenza

01/31/2012
Nature has published an article authored by the members National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity that explains its recommendations to restrict communication of scientific results contained in two recent papers on the airborne transmissibility of H5N1 between ferrets. Click source to read the article in Nature.

Scientist dismisses US group's fear that creation of airborne H5N1 virus could inspire bio-terrorism

01/31/2012
One of the scientists at the centre of the controversy over the creation a highly dangerous form of bird flu which could cause a devastating human pandemic has denounced attempts by the US Government to censor the research over fears that the findings might be misused by bioterrorists. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, ...

Recommendation to censor bird flu research driven by fears of terrorism

01/31/2012
Citing fears of an “unimaginable catastrophe,” a government-appointed board on Tuesday explained why it recently recommended censoring details of new research on deadly H5N1, or avian, influenza. “Our concern is that publishing these experiments in detail would provide information to some person, organization, or government that would help them to develop ...

ASM General Meeting 2012: Your Topics, Your Votes, Your Choice

01/25/2012
There are only 7 days left to submit your scientific presentation topic for ASM's General Meeting 2012 in San Francisco, June 16-19, and then vote and comment on your colleagues’ ideas. The people who submit the top 5 entries will receive a travel subsidy of $800 (or $1200 for international ...

Art & Science: The Normal Flora Project

01/23/2012
Artist Anna Dumitriu's exhibition entitled The Normal Flora Project features live bacteria intertwined with articles of cloth, from a lab coat patterned with bacteria and mold to a dress patterned with pigments from environmental bacteria. Her site features many interesting projects that blur the boundaries between art and science. If ...

Microbial Movers - A Small Things Considered Post

01/23/2012
Elio Schaechter of Small Things Considered has authored an interesting post today about the motility of bacteria, specifically Paenibacillus, although he does highlight several other strains that swarm, glide or twitch. "Microbes get around. They can be carried by the wind, by insects, or by water currents, sometimes across large distances, ...

Watch as unicellular yeast evolve into snowflake-like clusters

01/20/2012
In as little as 100 generations, yeast selected to settle more quickly through a test tube evolved into multicellular, snowflake-like clusters, according to a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Over the course of the experiment, the clusters evolved to be larger, produce multicellular progeny, and ...
01/20/2012
John D. Kraemer, JD, MPH, assistant professor of health systems administration at Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies, and Lawrence O. Gostin, the Linda D. and Timothy J. O’Neill Professor of Global Health Law and faculty director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at ...

Precocious Walker (Video)

01/19/2012
Here's a great video published by Science News which shows a newborn bacterial cell stand up, walk away from its sister cell, and then detache from the surface. Credit: Courtesy of Gerard Wong, University of California, Los Angeles, Bioengineering, California NanoSystems Institute. PRECOCIOUS WALKER from Science News on Vimeo.

Pushing the Thermodynamic Envelope into the Proteomic Edge

01/17/2012
Tracey McDole, a PhD student in the lab of Dr. Forest Rohwer, San Diego State University, has authored a post on Small Things Considered that looks at recent research published in PNAS that questions the physical limits to cell behavior. "The word marginal means to be at the outer or ...

ASM launches a new clinical microbiology portal

01/13/2012
ASM has launched a new web portal, http://clinmicro.asm.org, a one-stop site with a variety of information needed for the day-to-day work of diagnostic microbiologists and immunologists. The Clinical Microbiology portal brings together all of ASM’s clinical and external relevant content. • It has practical information, such as interpreting cultures and identifying organisms, ...

Compound halts foodborne bugs

01/12/2012
In a year when cantaloupe tainted with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes killed 30 people, Cornell University researchers’ discovery of a compound that controls this deadly bacteria—and possibly others—is great news. The compound, fluoro-phenyl-styrene-sulfonamide (FPSS), is safe for mammals but interrupts a mechanism in Listeria that controls genes that are expressed when ...

Bacteria in the gut of autistic children different from non-autistic children

01/10/2012
The underlying reason autism is often associated with gastrointestinal problems is an unknown, but new results to be published in the online journal mBio® on January 10 reveal that the guts of autistic children differ from other children in at least one important way: many children with autism harbor a ...

ASMCUE 2012 Registration is Now Open

01/10/2012
The registration site for the 19th Annual ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators, June 14-17, 2012, at the San Mateo Marriott in San Mateo, California, is now open. Register early and save $100 - discounted registration deadline is March 16. Now in its ninteenth year, ASMCUE gathers over 300 microbiology and biology ...

It's Raining Viruses

01/10/2012
It’s true! Each year it rains viruses, more than a trillion of them per acre over thousands of forested acres in the USA. This is the work of the airborne arm of the USDA Forest Service, part of their efforts to reduce the devastation to hardwood forests caused by the ...

As a biological weapon, H5N1 is for the birds (Opinion)

01/10/2012
Reuters columnist Peter Christian Hall believes the possibility that H5N1 could be effectively weaponized is remote and there is more harm than good in withholding data from two research papers that outline the methods to create an aerosolized strain of avian flu in ferrets. "Amid the furor over the U.S. ...

Science Friday: Debate Persists Over Publishing Bird Flu Studies (Live at 2pm ET)

01/06/2012
Ira Flatow of Science Friday will host a panel discussion on the issues surrounding a federal advisory board that has urged scientific journals not to publish the research from two labs that have developed an airborne bird flu virus (H5N1). Virologist Vincent Racaniello and Biosecurity expert D.A. Henderson will talk ...

Chronicle of Higher Education: Most Blogged in 2011 - The Most Important Disease You Probably Never Heard Of

01/05/2012
Of the top 10 most blogged articles in 2011 from the Chronicle of Higher Education, one article is on Johne’s disease, a contagious, chronic and sometimes fatal infection that primarily affects the small intestine of cows, sheep and other ruminants. It is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis. ...

Old folk remedy revived: How tansy may be a treatment for herpes (Press Release)

01/04/2012
For centuries tansy has been used as a folk remedy, but now scientists from Britain and Spain believe the plant may have medical benefits after all, as a treatment for herpes. The team's findings, published in Phytotherapy Research, are the result of joint work between two teams to established scientific ...

Big Picture Science: Going Viral (SETI Podcast/Radio Program)

12/14/2011
The term “bird flu” is a misnomer, scientists say, because almost all human influenza originates in our feathered friends. How it lands in you and spreads is another matter … Hear what it takes for a virus to go global, from a virus hunter who plans to stop epidemics in their ...

What is Dual Use Research? (Video)

12/02/2011
Learn more about the issue of dual use research in the life sciences by watching the following educational video produced by the NIH.

Making Viruses the Natural Way

12/02/2011
Science journalist and author Carl Zimmer has a post on his blog The Loom that reflects on recent H5N1 (bird flu) research that has raised alarms in the science community over publishing results of experiments that explore dual use microorganisms (research that yields information or technologies with the potential to ...

Great Microbiologists (A stop motion video made with Legos)

11/23/2011
A great video made with legos about the history of microbiology.

Paleomicrobiology - A Pestis from the Past

11/08/2011
A new post on Small Things Considered by S. Marvin Friedman, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biological Sciences at Hunter College of CUNY in New York City, discuses a recent paper in Nature, "A draft genome of Yersinia pestis from victims of the Black Death," that suggests comparisons of ...

The Microbial Weltanschauung

10/28/2011
The figure for the number of prokaryotic cells on the planet, roughly 5x1030, is considerably greater than that of the estimated number of stars in the firmaments (3x1023). These two numbers have one thing in common: they both grew hugely and rather suddenly in recent human history. Click "source" for ...

CDC Panel Endorses HPV Vaccine for Boys of 11

10/26/2011
Boys and young men should be vaccinated against human papillomavirus, or HPV, to protect against anal and throat cancers that can result from sexual activity, a federal advisory committee said Tuesday. The recommendation by the panel, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is ...

Bacteria Living Without Phages?

10/21/2011
Are there environments where there are abundant bacteria and no phages? Sounds like one of our Talmudic Questions, but this one has a specific answer, and that answer is Yes. That environment was found within a cystic fibrosis (CF) lung. This story comes from a pair of papers recently published by ...

Mosquito lab handles "world's most dangerous animals"

10/20/2011
Reuters has published a feature about Stefan Kappe, a researcher at Seattle's BioMed, a non-profit research institute, and his work on malaria parasite mosquito stages. "He keeps them in warm, comfortable bug dorms, feeds them on meals of human blood with the occasional sugar water snack and lives in awe of ...

Worms from Hell lecture at the Smithsonian (Picture)

10/19/2011
(From left to right) NASA astrobiologist Danny Glavin, science writer Marc Kaufman, and geomicrobiologist and Princeton University professor Tullis Onstott, take questions from the audience at last night's Smithsonian-sponsored evening lecture entitled "Worms from Hell" that focused on the latest research from the deepest underground caves in South Africa and ...

Genome Wide Manipulation of the Bacterial Chromosome in Vivo

10/11/2011
On the Small Things Considered blog, Michael Schmidt, Professor and Vice Chairman of Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina, reviews a recent paper entitled "Precise Manipulation of Chromosomes in Vivo Enables Genome-Wide Codon Replacement" by Church and colleagues that was published in Science and asks will ...

Tuberculosis bacterium's outer cell wall disarms the body's defense to remain infectious

10/06/2011
The bacterium that causes tuberculosis has a unique molecule on its outer cell surface that blocks a key part of the body’s defense. New research suggests this represents a novel mechanism in the microbe’s evolving efforts to remain hidden from the human immune system. Researchers found that the TB bacterium has ...

Reindeers with Rabies (Norway)

10/06/2011
Eurosurveillance reports that between 16 September and 5 October 2011 rabies was diagnosed in two arctic foxes and eight reindeer in the Svalbard archipelago, in Norway. Reindeer hunting is a popular activity that annually involves up to 300 people, including children. The rabies outbreak in the Svalbard archipelago has demonstrated that ...

Clinical Trials for Beginners

10/06/2011
Judy Stone, MD, an infectious disease specialist experienced in conducting clinical research, is the author of an upcoming series of blog posts about the ABC's of clinical trials. In the first post she tackles the origin of clinical trials in which she highlights the history of many famous microbe hunters.

Beetle's beer bottle sex wins Ig Nobel Prize

09/30/2011
A little off topic for MW but fun nonetheless. Perhaps it's a good thing the science of microbiology wasn't represented this year :) "That's right, certain Australian beetles will try to copulate with discarded beer bottles, but they have to be of the right type - brown ones with bobbly bits ...

The arsenic-life affair - challenges of scientific discourse in a new media age

09/28/2011
Tom Clynes has written a thorough article about Felisa Wolfe-Simon, the scientist who published a hotly debated paper on the discovery of a microbe that could survive on arsenic in place of phosphorus, one of the elements considered essential for all life. In the article Clynes looks at all sides ...

A bug in a bug in a bug

09/27/2011
Via Small Things Considered - Click "source" for more. "Rattling around inside my head for some time has been the reported discovery that there are bacteria that live within other bacteria. To me, this is an honest-to-goodness gee-whiz piece of microbial lore. Made me wonder why the story had not been ...

NSF Launches Science360 Radio for Web, iPhone and Android

09/27/2011
The National Science Foundation has just launched Science360 Radio, a website and app for smart phones and iDevices, that streams science-focused audio content. (Disclaimer: All of MicrobeWorld's podcasts are included.) There are over 100 shows featured and the app is free. While this much content to choose from is great, the ...

Trine Tsouderos on This Week in Virology: When do you fact-check article content with sources?

09/22/2011
The PLoS blog "Take as Directed" has started an interesting discussion based on science journalism and fact checking that was generated by the popular science podcast This Week in Virology that was streamed live at ASM's International Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in Chicago. During the podcast, Trine Tsouderos, ...

New Vaccine Technologies: Needle-free Vaccines #ICAAC (Video)

09/18/2011
Needle-based vaccine injections require highly trained health workers and an optimally performing system for effective mass vaccination campaigns. The universal fear of needle sticks is an indicator of the need of convenient and viable alternative modes of delivery. New technologies are making needle-free cutaneous (applied to the skin) vaccines against ...

Clostridium difficile: Emerging Issues and Treatments #ICAAC (Video)

09/18/2011
Clostridium difficile infection is an important cause of intestinal disease, primarily affecting hospitalized patients exposed to antibiotics. Infection has been associated with prolonged hospital stays and excess healthcare expenditures.Recent changes in epidemiology of this disease show a rise in community-acquired cases in people outside the hospital settings without traditional risk ...

ICAAC 2011 Press Conference – Opening Briefing

09/18/2011
Members of the ICAAC Program Committee give an overview of the ICAAC meeting and discuss sessions of particular interest.

New Antibiotics in the Pipeline

09/18/2011
ICAAC is traditionally a venue for presenting data on new drugs and new drug combinations. Program Committee member Karen Bush, David Shlaes, MD, PhD, Anti-Infectives Consulting, Stonington, CT, and J. Kevin Judice, Ph.D., CEO, Achaogen, present an overview of new drugs and clinical trial data being presented at this year's ...

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Linked to Seagulls in Miami Beach

09/18/2011
Extended spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBL's) are enzymes that enable bacteria to resist multiple antibiotics. In the past few years ESBL-producing enteric bacteria (such as E. coli) have become an increasingly common cause of community acquired infections worldwide. The source of these organisms in the community still remains unclear; however, recent reports ...

Tiny snow-makers

09/07/2011
The Judges' Choice for The Scientist magazine's 2011 Labby Multimedia Awards is this cute video on how microbes are essential for snow formation. {vimeo}25092129{/vimeo}

What Microbe Are You? An Activity Designed for Our Youngest Scientist

09/06/2011
This online “personality quiz” helps young learners understand the unconventional concept that most micro-organisms are beneficial; only a fraction are harmful. This activity matches the quiz-taker with the microbe that most closely reflects his or her personality. At the end of the quiz, students are assigned to their microbial matches, ...

How do Darwin's principles of descent with modification and natural selection stack up to microbial evolution?

09/06/2011
It has been over 150 years since the publication of On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin’s landmark book based on his observations of animals in the Galapagos Islands. The two core principles he described in his work, descent with modification and natural selection, have helped us understand life’s tremendous ...

Microbial Genomics and Infectious Diseases

08/12/2011
Would you like to read a concise and well-written review about how genomics has influenced our understanding of infectious diseases? Click "source" above for a satisfying account by David Relman, one of the leading contributors to this field. After summarizing the dizzying accelerating pace at which complete genome sequences are being ...

The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) announces the availability of two new resources designed to support pneumococcal disease prevention efforts

07/20/2011
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID)has announced the availability of two new resources designed to support pneumococcal disease prevention efforts on NFID’s website, Adultvaccination.org: • a professional practice toolkit for healthcare professionals (HCPs) The toolkit includes ready-to-use and customizable resources ...

Submit your session proposals for the 10th ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting

07/18/2011
The ASM Biodefense Program Committee for 2012 is soliciting nominations for symposia, focus sessions, and roundtable discussions for the next year’s meeting. The 10th Annual ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting will be held in Washington, DC, February 26-29. The scientific program is driven by the participants and this is ...

Contagion - This summer's new action thriller movie

07/18/2011
Laurie Garrett, MicrobeWorld Twitter follower and author of "Betrayal of Trust" and "The Coming Plague", recently @ replied us to let us know that she was involved in the making of a new Warner Bros. movie entitled "Contagion" that's set for release on September 9, 2011. According to IMDB the ...

Trouble in the Fourth Domain?

07/14/2011
Carl Zimmer at Discover Blogs has an interesting follow up on two studies he wrote about in March that suggested there may be some evidence in newly found viruses for a fourth branch on the tree of life. In this piece he highlights a new study by Tom Williams, Martin ...

Terry Hazen on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

07/14/2011
Terry Hazen, a microbial ecologist with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, discusses the role of microbes in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Viruses that Infect Parasites that Infect Us: The Matryoshka Dolls of Human Pathogens

07/11/2011
"We’re all too familiar with the viruses that can infect us, from the common cold to yellow fever virus to the endogenous retroviruses that make up a chunk of our genome. Many of us are also acquainted with parasites, such as tape worms or Giardia, that like to set up ...

Lyme borreliosis in Europe

07/11/2011
Despite improvements in prevention, diagnosis and treatment, Lyme borreliosis (LB) is still the most common arthropod-borne disease in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, with risk of infection associated with occupation (e.g. forestry work) and certain outdoor recreational activities (e.g. mushroom collecting). In Europe, LB is caused by infection with ...

New gonorrhea strain resists all antibiotics

07/11/2011
For several years, public health officials have been concerned that gonorrhea, one of the most prevalent STDs in the world, might become resistant to the last widely available antibiotics used to treat it, a class of drugs called cephalosporins. Now, it has. In the space of one week, infectious disease specialists ...

E. coli: A Risk for 3 More Years From Who Knows Where

07/11/2011
"The latest news from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the EU’s CDC, suggests that the massive outbreak of E. coli O104 is declining. The number of new cases being discovered has fallen, and the most recent onset of illness among confirmed cases was June 27. The ...

Smallpox vaccine - photos of immunization site

07/11/2011
Click source to view photos of the development of a smallpox immunization lesion on a listener of This Week in Virology's arm.

Food chain at risk of being poisoned by terrorist groups

07/11/2011
In Britain, manufacturers and retailers have been told that their sector is vulnerable to attacks by ideologically and politically motivated groups that may seek to cause widespread casualties and disruption by poisoning food supplies. The warning from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure [CPNI], which operates as part of ...

AmicBase: Database of Antimicrobials

07/11/2011
Detailed antibiotic inhibitory data of licensed drugs on the major markets of Europe, Japan and USA is now available in one database on the internet. The database is named AmicBase Drugs-Online 2011 and is published for information and educational purposes. This service is free. Click source to view it. In AmicBase ...

Dissection of the Burkholderia intracellular life cycle using a photothermal nanoblade

07/06/2011
Using genetic dissection and photothermal nanoblade delivery, a recent paper published in PNAS by Jeff F. Miller, MD., Chair, Microbiology, Immunology, & Molecular Genetics, UCLA, and others, presents data that suggest that the primary means for intercellular spread of Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia thailandensis involves cell fusion, as opposed to ...

News Release: Not all tests are created equal: Identifying C. diff in hospital labs

07/05/2011
A study from the microbiology lab at the Lifespan hospitals has found that some lab tests are much more accurate in identifying Clostridium difficile Toxin (C. diff) infection (CDI), which causes diarrhea. The findings indicate that a molecular method detects up to 50 percent more cases of C. diff than ...

Mosquitos Grow Resistant to Common Insecticide

07/05/2011
"Key weapons in the fight against malaria, pyrethroid insecticides, are losing their edge. Over the past decade, billions of dollars have been spent on distributing long-lasting pyrethroid-treated bed nets and on indoor spraying. Focused in Africa, where most malaria deaths occur, these efforts have greatly reduced the disease's toll. But ...

Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Altona and Salmonella Johannesburg Infections Linked to Chicks and Ducklings

07/05/2011
CDC is collaborating with public health and agriculture officials in many states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) to investigate two outbreaks. The first is an outbreak of human Salmonella Altona infections, and the second is an outbreak of human Salmonella Johannesburg infections. Both ...

11 dengue patients die in Cambodia in last 6 months

07/05/2011
Cambodia reported that as many as 1,793 severe cases of hemorrhagic dengue fever were hospitalized and 11 of them have died since early this year. In a report filed by Kantha Bopha Children's Hospitals, up to June 20, there were 1,793 severe cases of dengue fever, and 547 of them were ...

Hendra virus goes undetected for two weeks, 23 people at risk

07/05/2011
"Biosecurity authorities in Australia fear the deadly Hendra virus may have been spreading from a southeast Queensland property for two weeks before it was finally detected at the weekend. Biosecurity Queensland has quarantined the property at Mount Alford, 50km southwest of Brisbane, marking the third confirmed outbreak of the bat-borne disease ...

How We Tell The Good Bacteria From The Bad

07/05/2011
Recently, Yale’s Richard Flavell led a team of researchers into the most talked about and yet one of the least understood of microbial environments—the human gut. Rather than present the usual metagenomic characterization of the microbial population, he teamed up with Jeff Gordon at Washington University in Saint Louis and ...

Epidemiology and social media: conference fail

06/24/2011
Tara C. Smith, an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, has an interesting blog post out about communicating science in 2011 based on her experience at the North American Congress of Epidemiology in Montreal this week. "The reality is that scientists don't have ...

Vegetables discarded, mulched over E. coli fears in Europe

06/09/2011
Click source to view some great images of crops being destroyed as the result of E. coli prevention steps in Europe.

Tons of cucumbers discarded over E. coli fears

06/07/2011
Click source to view images of workers throwing away cucumbers to be destroyed at an agriculture facility near Bucharest on Monday, June 6, as sales collapsed in Romania's markets due to the fear of E. coli contamination.

A Clever Bug That is Difficile to Control

06/07/2011
New infectious diseases emerge with worrisome frequency. Some accompany natural events such as changes in climate, while others surface with human help. Of great importance among the latter are the infections caused by Clostridium difficile (casually called C. diff). The prevalence of these infections is related to the use of ...

The 2011 ASM General Meeting iPhone and iPod Touch App is now available in the App Store

05/14/2011
The official app for the ASM GM 2011 is now in the iTunes store and it's free. If you are attending the meeting in New Orleans, or even if you're not, grab the app and let us know what you think. The app is for the iPhone and iPod Touch. ...

Same Fungus, Different Strains: A Comparative Genomics Approach for Improved “Green” Chemical Production

05/13/2011
Fungi play key roles in nature and are valued for their great importance in industry. Consider citric acid, a key additive in several foods and pharmaceuticals produced on a large-scale basis for decades with the help of the filamentous fungus Aspergillus niger. While A. niger is an integral player in ...

Why we need to start unraveling the Teleome

05/13/2011
Here's an interesting and somewhat amusing blog post that was published on Forbes that attempts to make a case for funding the teleome, "the ultimate catalog of an animal’s what-it-does-es." Snippet: "Imagine that you find some mysterious device under your bed. What’s your next thought? It’s to wonder what the device ...

When Microbial Conversations Get Physical

05/13/2011
"In a recent Opinion piece in Trends in Microbiology, Gemma Reguera invites us to think outside the box. The box in question harbors the notion that communication between microbes is chemical, and only chemical. Here, the author cuts through the confines of this perspective to point out that microbial communication ...

Armadillos May Spread Leprosy

05/02/2011
People infected with leprosy in the United States often have the same previously unknown strain of the microbe Mycobacterium leprae that is also carried by armadillos. Though it’s been known for decades that armadillos can harbor leprosy, also called Hansen’s disease, the discovery of the overlapping strain strengthens the long-held ...

Banana blight threatens food security

05/02/2011
A disease affecting banana plants has spread to five provinces of Burundi, raising concern among agricultural officials, who fear the disease could hit the country's food security.

Washing with Contaminated Soap Increases Bacteria on Hands

05/02/2011
People who wash their hands with contaminated soap from bulk-soap-refillable dispensers can increase the number of disease-causing microbes on their hands and may play a role in transmission of bacteria in public settings according to research published in the May issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. “Hand washing with ...

Unexpected fungus decimates Australia's pistachio crop

05/02/2011
Australia's pistachio farmers were expecting a bumper crop this year, but a fungus has decimated the harvest. Curiously, it had infected the nuts only rarely until now. Is a genetic mutation or a spate of bad weather to blame? Click source for more.

Hijacked Antiviral Protein Subverts Energy Production to Aid Viral Infection

05/02/2011
Viruses are notorious for entering cells, taking over their internal machinery, and turning them into virus manufacturing centers. But new research by Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Peter Cresswell reveals how human cytomegalovirus takes this gambit one step further, turning a protein that host cells use to protect themselves against ...

Pediatric flu vaccination: Understanding low acceptance rates could help increase coverage

05/02/2011
A study of H1N1 and seasonal influenza vaccination in a sample of black and Hispanic children in Atlanta found a low rate of vaccine acceptance among parents and caregivers. Only 36 percent of parents and caregivers indicated they would immunize children against H1N1, and 22 percent indicated their children received ...

Obesity in pregnancy hinders women's ability to fight infection

05/02/2011
Pregnant women who are obese are less able to fight infections than lean women, which could affect their baby's health after birth and later in life, according to research to be presented Sunday, May 1, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Denver.

Higher HIV risk in black gay men linked to partner choice, risk perception

05/02/2011
Young black men who have sex with men (MSM) get infected with HIV nearly five times more often than MSM from other races, even though they don't have more unprotected sex. The discrepancy has long mystified public health experts but a new study by investigators at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere now ...

Kids with HIV Growing Up Well, Living Longer

05/02/2011
Once facing an almost certain death sentence, most children born with HIV are now faring well into adolescence and adulthood, according to a newly published study co-authored by Tulane infectious diseases expert Dr. Russell Van Dyke. The study was published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. “About two thirds ...

Exploring the role of the Internet in influencing anti-vaccination decisions

05/02/2011
This paper provides a psychological perspective on the possible effect of the Internet on the decision against vaccination. The reported importance of the Internet in health decisions is still low, but rising; especially the amount of interactive use of the Internet is increasing, e.g. due to the use of social ...

Use of adjuvants in H1N1 vaccine is cited as main reason for low vaccination rates for health care workers in Germany

05/02/2011
"The emergence of the influenza A(H1N1)2009 virus provided a major challenge to health services around the world. However, vaccination rates for the public and for healthcare workers (HCWs) have remained low. We performed a study to review the reasons put forward by HCWs to refuse immunisation with the pandemic vaccine ...

Are Bacteria Ready for the Runway?

05/02/2011
Designer Suzanne Lee uses bacteria to grow a jacket.

Investigation Announcement: Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Typhimurium Infections Associated with Exposure to Clinical and Teaching Microbiology Laboratories

04/29/2011
CDC is collaborating with public health officials in many states to investigate a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections associated with exposure to clinical and teaching microbiology laboratories. Investigators are using DNA analysis of Salmonella bacteria obtained through diagnostic testing to identify cases of illness that may be part of ...

ICAAC Abstract Submission Deadline - Friday, May 6, 2011

04/28/2011
The ICAAC Program Committee invites you to submit your abstract for consideration to be presented at the 51st ICAAC, the premier conference on antimicrobial agents and infectious diseases, being held this September in Chicago. ICAAC's abstract program provides a unique opportunity for you to share your work with the ...

Using a 'chemical alphabet' to translate a poem into a sequence of Deinococcus radiodurans

04/26/2011
Many artists seek to attain immortality through their art, but few would expect their work to outlast the human race and live on for billions of years. As Canadian poet Christian Bök has realised, it all comes down to the durability of your materials. Bök has written a poem, "The ...

Immunization Week 2011

04/25/2011
In 2011, for the first time, countries across the WHO regions of Africa, Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe and the Western Pacific are taking part in simultaneous immunization weeks. This unprecedented collaborated effort between the regions is building public and professional awareness of the value of immunization as well as saving ...

Gigantic New SuperOrganism with 'Social Intelligence' is Devouring the Titanic

04/20/2011
"In 2000, Roy Cullimore, a microbial ecologist and Charles Pellegrino, scientist and author of Ghosts of the Titanic discovered that the Titanic --which sank in the Atlantic Ocean 97 years ago -- was being devoured by a monster microbial industrial complex of extremophiles as alien we might expect to find ...

Amerithrax double-take: Did the FBI finger the wrong person?

04/14/2011
"It had been the most expensive, and arguably the toughest, case in FBI history ... but the facts showed that Army biodefense researcher Bruce Ivins was the person responsible for killing five people and sickening 17 others in those frightening weeks after 9/11. It was Ivins, they were now certain, ...

Cyanobacteria: Growing a Green Future Around the Clock

04/12/2011
Spencer Diamond and Britt Flaherty, PhD students at UCSD, Spencer in the Susan Golden Laboratory and Britt in the James Golden Laboratory, author a post on Small Things Considered about the green potential for cyanobacteria. "With such famous bacteria as Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis hogging the stage, it can ...
04/01/2011
In a forest of tubes eight metres high in eastern Spain scientists hope they have found the fuel of tomorrow: bio-oil produced with algae mixed with carbon dioxide from a factory. The project, which is still experimental, has been developed over the past five years by Spanish and French researchers at ...

Study suggests alternative treatment for bacteria in oysters

03/21/2011
A joint study by local oyster growers and researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science shows that moving farmed oysters into saltier waters just prior to harvest nearly eliminates the presence of a bacterium that can sicken humans. The findings—reported by VIMS professors Kim Reece and Howard Kator, and local ...

Microbes Rule the World - USA Science and Engineering Festival

03/21/2011
The blog for the USA Science and Engineering Festival has a post about the importance of microbes and the expanding roles of microbiologists, plus it features two MicrobeWorld videos. Snippet: "The average science student knows that microbiology is the study of bacteria and other microorganisms, especially those that cause disease ...

Lab Tests Online - a resource site for patients, caregivers and medical professionals

03/18/2011
Lab Tests Online has been designed to help you, as a patient or family caregiver, to better understand the many clinical lab tests that are part of routine care as well as diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of conditions and diseases. If you are a medical professional, this ...

Targeting an Achilles' Heel of Plasmodium

03/15/2011
The huge health problem of malaria is exacerbated by the alarming ability of this protozoan to rapidly develop resistance to chemotherapeutic agents. Thus, new antimalarials are desperately needed to bring this deadly disease under control. In order to identify new drug targets, Istvan and coworkers analyzed P. falciparum mutants resistant to ...

Genetically engineered fungus may reduce malaria infections

03/01/2011
New findings by a University of Maryland-led team of scientists indicate that a genetically engineered fungus carrying genes for a human anti-malarial antibody or a scorpion anti-malarial toxin could be a highly effective, specific and environmentally friendly tool for combating malaria, at a time when the effectiveness of current pesticides ...

Ongoing outbreak of measles in Oslo, Norway

03/01/2011
Between 19 January and 17 February 2011, 10 cases of measles (eight laboratory-confirmed and two probable) were reported in Oslo with the majority of cases in a mainly unvaccinated immigrant community. Of these, two cases were identified outside the immigrant community, in Norwegian children.

UCD Microbiology: Streaking

02/22/2011
How to streak an agar plate. A how-to video produced by University College Dublin for National Digital Learning Resources, a service designed to support greater collaboration in developing and sharing of digital teaching resources and associated teaching experience across all subject disciplines and communities. {vimeo}20246194{/vimeo}

Candida's Unstable Chromosomes & Unorthodox Sex

02/22/2011
Dean Dawson, Associate Member of the Cell Cycle and Cancer Biology Research Program at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, has authored a post on Small Things Considered which explores Candida's chromosomal instability and unorthodox reproduction process. "Who hasn't heard of Candida? It’s one of the most common fungal pathogens of humans. ...

ASM at the AAAS Meeting in Washington, D.C.

02/20/2011
Staff members Garth, Lindsay and Jim at the American Society for Microbiology booth at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington, D.C. If you happen to be at the meeting today, please stop by and introduce yourself.

Science Comedian Brian Malow at #AAAS

02/19/2011
Brian Malow at the Social Media Soiree party during the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington, D.C. Malow was featured in one of the first MicrobeWorld Video episodes about 3 years ago. Cut and paste this link - http://bit.ly/gTniHl - into your address bar to hear some of ...

This Week in Microbiology - Behind the Scenes with Stan Maloy at #AAAS

02/19/2011
Stan Maloy of the American Society for Microbiology participates in the first episode of This Week in Microbiology live from the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington, D.C. This Week in Microbiology will officially launch next week. Other guests for the first episode include Michael Schmidt and ...

A novel subgroup of mosquitoes encourages scientists to rethink the fight against malaria

02/15/2011
A new genetically distinct subgroup of mosquitoes has been identified in sub-Saharan Africa that displays different behaviors and has a higher susceptibility to the malaria parasite than the traditionally-studied type. The finding, published online today (February 3) in Science, may provide a clue as to why malaria eradication in the dry ...

The Great Epidemic - American Chestnut Blight

02/15/2011
Merry Youle of Small Things Considered has a new post about the history of American chestnut blight and the scientific efforts to restock North America with these stately giants through the introduction of biological control agents or with more traditional plant breeding techniques. Click source for more.

Leprosy, Plague and Other Visitors to New York

02/10/2011
When New York City’s health department revealed last weekend that three people had contracted cholera, it was a reminder that the city is not just a world capital of arts, business and the like — but also of exotic diseases. If a disease has cropped up in the world, there is ...

Abstract submission for #ICAAC in Chicago Sept. 17-20 is now open

02/10/2011
The ICAAC Program Committee and the American Society for Microbiology invite you to submit your abstract for consideration for the 51st Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) being held September 17-20, 2011 in Chicago. Registration, housing, and the new 51st ICAAC website will open on March 14, 2011. Click ...

Group A streptococcal infections during the seasonal influenza outbreak 2010/11 in South East England

02/10/2011
On 10 January 2011, the United Kingdom (UK) Chief Medical Officer issued a statement advising primary and secondary care doctors to remain vigilant to the possibility of severe bacterial co-infection in patients with influenza [1], because preliminary data indicated an increase in bacterial diseases known to cause co-infection with influenza. Streptococcus ...
02/08/2011
Elio Schaechter and Mark Martin of Small Things Considered asked friends and colleagues to point to papers published in 2010 that tickled their fancy. Excerpt: Margaret McFall-Ngai - I'd vote for the paper on Drosophila microbes affecting the fly's mating behavior. The story from Eugene Rosenberg's lab came out in PNAS ...

Could a smallpox vaccination scar ruin swimsuit season? Paul Offit on the Colbert Report

02/04/2011
Paul A. Offit, M.D., a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases and an expert on vaccines, immunology, and virology, appears on a recent episode of Comedy Central's Colbert Report. Offit is the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine that has been credited with saving hundreds of lives every day. He is the Maurice ...

Of Terms in Biology: Colloids

02/04/2011
Colloid may not be a common term in biology these days, but in the early 20th century, colloids were believed to hold the key to the secrets of life. So what is a colloid? According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica it is any substance consisting of particles substantially larger than atoms ...

Twitter in Bioinformatics

01/25/2011
This is a good demo on how to use the Twitter client TweetDeck to monitor real time information about bioinformatics (or any field for that matter).

Antigen Switching in Malaria - A Classroom Activity

01/25/2011
High school students and their teachers participate in a simple activity to demonstrate the interaction between the var antigens malaria parasites display and the patient's immune system.

National Academy of Sciences Honors Microbiologists for Major Scientific Contributions

01/24/2011
Three members of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) are among the 13 scientists that will be honored by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) with awards recognizing extraordinary scientific achievement in the field of microbiology: 1. Bonnie L. Bassler, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Squibb Professor in ...

Some Like it Hot

01/24/2011
A guest post on Small Things Considered by S. Marvin Friedman, Professor Emeritus, Department of Biological Sciences, Hunter College of CUNY, New York City, reviews the various mechanisms thermophiles and hyperthermophiles may use to proliferate at extreme temperatures. Friedman wonders whether the basic questions regarding extreme thermal stability of proteins ...

Hemorrhagic fever claims 3 lives in western India

01/24/2011
An Ebola-like hemorrhagic fever has killed three people in western India and dozens of doctors will screen a community of about 16,000 people in efforts to contain the disease, a state health minister said this past Wednesday. India's National Institute of Virology later confirmed that the three died of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic ...

Haiti Cholera vaccine plan splits experts

01/19/2011
Last week, as Haiti remembered the 230,000 people killed in the disaster, officials of international health agencies fine-tuned their recommendations for moving forwards with a large-scale cholera-vaccination programme. It is a controversial idea that, just months ago, with little vaccine available and the epidemic spreading rapidly, was shunned as impractical ...

Smallpox should be saved

01/19/2011
In anticipation of a May 2011vote in which the World Health Assembly (the decision-making body of the World Health Organization) will decide on whether to set a date for the destruction of America and Russia's stockpile of smallpox virus, the journal Nature argues that some of these collections should ...

Slime Mold Agriculture

01/19/2011
For the first time, researchers have discovered that some slime molds can carry, seed, and harvest a crop of their bacterial diet, researchers from the University in Houston, Texas, report in this week's issue of Nature. "While collecting D. discoideum fruiting bodies in the wild, Debra Brock of Rice University in ...

Using lasers to detect and monitor E. coli

01/18/2011
A simple, automated method of tracking E. coli uses a laser to detect and monitor the microbe in potentially contaminated bodies of water or waterways. The technique described this month in the International Journal of Computational Biology and Drug Design could reduce the incidence of waterborne disease outbreaks. Bin Chen of ...

The Fungus Detective - Robert Blanchette goes to extremes to solve microscopic mysteries

01/18/2011
A profile of Robert Blanchette, professor of plant pathology at the University of Minnesota, and his interesting work on fungi and the degradation archaeological wood.

Precious Metals

01/04/2011
Moselio Schaechter of the Small Things Considered blog reviews the results of a recent paper "Microbial metalloproteomes are largely uncharacterized" from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Georgia, Athens, and ponders its implications. Snippet: "Now that news of the arsenic-eating bacteria has saturated cyberspace, the airwaves, ...

Bonnie Bassler on ASM's upcoming General Meeting in New Orleans for 2011

01/03/2011
For information about the American Society for Microbiology's General Meeting visit http://gm.asm.org/

Lactococcus lactis - from brie to biofuel

12/02/2010
According to researchers from Concordia University, Montréal, Québec, Wisconsin's favorite microbe, Lactococcus lactis, could aid in the production of biofuels by helping break down plant matter. Scientists discovered that the scaffolding proteins on the surface of the microbe can be metabolically engineered to produce a variety of commodity chemicals including lactic ...

The Hawaiian Bobtail Squid

11/29/2010
The Hawaiian bobtail squid and its resident bacteria, Vibrio fischeri, have a powerful and still somewhat mysterious symbiotic relationship. The luminescent bacteria populate a small pouch on the squid’s underside called the light organ, and provide a sort of “Klingon cloaking device.” They produce light at night to offset the ...

Opisthocomus hoazin - The Flying Cow

11/29/2010
Moselio Schaechter of Small Things Considered has authored a post about the work of Maria Dominguez-Bello of the University of Puerto Rico who has been studying Opisthocomus hoazin, a unique bird who is known to carry out a pre-gastric (ruminal) fermentation. Dominguez-Bello has been investigating the microbiome of the bird's ...

Erythromycin A produced in E. coli for first time

11/24/2010
Researchers at Tufts University School of Engineering have reported the first successful production of the antibiotic erythromycin A, and two variations, using E. coli as the production host. The work, published in the November 24, 2010, issue of Chemistry and Biology, offers a more cost-effective way to make both erythromycin A ...

Deciphering how CD4 T cells die during HIV infection

11/24/2010
Scientists at Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology have solved a long-standing mystery about HIV infection–namely how HIV promotes the death of CD4 T cells. It is the loss of this critical subset of immune cells that leads to the development of AIDS. Most immune cells that die during HIV ...

Haiti - Cholera Epidemic : Last assessment, 23,377 cases, 1,344 deaths, cholera gains the South

11/24/2010
The epidemic in Haiti could easily get worse despite efforts to control it, say the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization (PAHO). Dr. Scott Dowell infectious disease specialist said "with regard to the eradication of cholera in Haiti, we have little hope at this point, we ...

Satellite tracking suggests wild birds may spread H5N1 in Asia

11/24/2010
Satellite tracking of wild birds in Asia suggests they may be spreading H5N1 avian influenza from India or Tibet to Mongolia when they fly north in the spring, according to a recent report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The Nov 16 issue of FAO AIDE News, the ...

Meningitis vaccine to be distributed through Africa

11/24/2010
Thousands of deaths could be saved every year when the first vaccine produced specifically for Africa is rolled out in Burkina Faso on 6 December. MenAfriVac will be offered to 12.5 million people aged 1 to 29 in the country to protect against meningitis A, the variation of the Neisseria meningitidis ...

Conan the Bacterium could survive a million years on Mars

11/24/2010
It was already nicknamed "Conan the Bacterium" for its ability to withstand radiation. Now it seems Deinococcus radiodurans could, in theory, survive dormant on Mars for over a million years. Lewis Dartnell at University College London and colleagues froze the bugs to -79 °C, the average temperature at Mars's mid-latitudes. Then ...

Warming Climate Boosts Malaria in Kenya

11/24/2010
In the highlands of East Africa, malaria transmission has skyrocketed over recent decades. New research suggests rising temperatures are at least partly to blame. A mathematical model of malaria transmission developed by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists showed that warming could explain a significant part of the increase in malaria ...

Expanding tuberculosis control in China

11/24/2010
China had an estimated 1.3 million new cases of tuberculosis (TB) in 2008, of which 112,000 were multi-drug resistant (MDR-TB). Over the period 2001, TB was the second largest cause of death among China's 39 notifiable communicable diseases. In a Policy Forum, published in this week's PLoS Medicine, Zhong-wei Jia ...

Bioscience researchers defeating potato blight

11/24/2010
Researchers funded by the BBSRC Crop Science Initiative have made a discovery that could instigate a paradigm shift in breeding resistance to late blight (Phytophthora infestans) - a devastating disease of potatoes and tomatoes costing the industry £5-6Bn a year worldwide. By studying the interactions between P. infestans and potato ...

Novel Biosensor Could Enable Rapid, Point-of-Care Virus Detection

11/24/2010
Traditional virus diagnostic tools such as ELISA and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) remain strong diagnostic options, but they require significant infrastructure and sample preparation time. Now a team of researchers led by Boston University Assistant Professors Hatice Altug (ECE) and John Connor (Microbiology, BUSM) has introduced a novel biosensor that ...

Antiretroviral Drugs May Prevent HIV Infections

11/24/2010
HIV-negative gay and bisexual men can lower their likelihood of acquiring the AIDS virus by taking an antiretroviral drug mix, concludes a study in which healthy men received either the medication or a placebo. The finding, published online November 23 in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that a ...

The Secret Life of a Microbiologist - Rachel Collins

11/24/2010
Who would have ever thought that a microbiologist would also be a professional wrestler? Rachel Collins is not one to mess with in the series "The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers" produced by PBS. What's your secret life?

TWiV Co-host Dickson Despommier's TEDx Talk on Vertical Farming

11/23/2010
Dickson Despommier talks about Vertical Farming: A 21st century hunger and conservation solution that promises, "urban renewal, sustainable production of a safe and varied food supply (year-round crop production), and the eventual repair of ecosystems that have been sacrificed for horizontal farming." Dickson Despommier is the Emeritus Professor of Public Health ...

The deepest layer of ocean crust has bacteria with a remarkable range of capabilities

11/23/2010
The first study to ever explore biological activity in the deepest layer of ocean crust has found bacteria with a remarkable range of capabilities, including eating hydrocarbons and natural gas, and “fixing” or storing carbon. Click here to find out more! The research, just published in the journal PLoS One, showed that ...

Science/Art Project - In Living Color: Bacterial Pigments

11/23/2010
A video created by students from Stanford University and a faculty member of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in support of their paper "In Living Color: Bacterial Pigments as an Untapped Resource in the Classroom and Beyond" published in PLoS Biology hopes to inspire others to ...

STD? There's an app for that

11/23/2010
Your mobile phone could soon tell you whether or not you have a sexually transmitted disease. Doctors in the United Kingdom are developing the app. It will allow you to submit a sample of saliva or urine to a microchip. Plug it into your computer or smart phone and you get ...

Microbiology Goes Digital

11/23/2010
It's nice to be recognized :) Melanie D. G. Kaplan, a contributing editor for CBS SmartPlanet.com, has written a piece for ASM's Microbe magazine that gives an overarching view on where the science of microbiology is at in the Web 2.0 space. Several well known microbiologists and science social media enthusiasts are ...

Physical Virology

11/23/2010
A post by Manuel Sánchez, host of the Spanish blog, Curiosidades de al Microbiologia, on an article entitled "Physical Virology " that appeared in Nature Phyisics, discuses the ideas and potential of a new discipline that studies viruses from a physical perspective. "Viruses are able to spontaneously assemble into icosahedra that ...

Using E. coli to crowd source cancer fighting nanobots

11/18/2010
Maria Gregori and Ignacio Llatser at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain, envision a future in which nanobots in the body sense tumour cells and release anticancer drugs to fight them. But one machine can't defeat a tumour single-handedly; it needs some way of telling the others to ...

Statins may activate the bacterial killing properties of white blood cells

11/18/2010
Widely prescribed for their cholesterol-lowering properties, recent clinical research indicates that statins can produce a second, significant health benefit: lowering the risk of severe bacterial infections such as pneumonia and sepsis. A new explanation for these findings has been discovered by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School ...

Italian scientists make progress against kiwifruit vine canker

11/18/2010
Italian researchers who have been battling kiwifruit vine canker for years say they are making significant progress in developing a careful strategy for curbing the Pseudomonas syringe pv. actinidiae (PSA) bacteria now hitting vines on orchards throughout New Zealand. The researchers used copper-based sprays to suppress bacteria, sometimes a spray of ...

ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators 2011 Preliminary Program

11/18/2010
ASM has released the 2011 ASMCUE preliminary program at www.asmcue.org. ASMCUE will be held June 2-5, 2011, on the The Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus in Baltimore, Maryland. You can view the sessions and speakers by clicking "source" above. Abstracts for these presentations are linked on the Program Highlights page. Keep ...

Bacteriophages Eyed as Antibiotic Alternatives

11/17/2010
In the battle against antibiotic resistance in animal agriculture, researchers from Washington and New York states are hoping to help pave the way for U.S. approval of a promising biological therapy that has the potential to not only treat sick cows, but also save human lives threatened by infectious diseases ...

The Animators of Life

11/17/2010
Building on decades of research and mountains of data, scientists and animators are now recreating in vivid and jaw-dropping detail the complex inner machinery of living cells. Click "source" to view this amazing video.

E. coli cattle vaccine promising

11/17/2010
The fight to make food safer continues at a microscopic level with locally produced beef yielding encouraging early data about the effectiveness of a vaccination against dangerous E. coli bacteria. International food marketer Cargill announced Monday the initial results of a trial for the new vaccine, a test involving 85,000 cattle ...

LEDs kill hospital superbugs

11/17/2010
A lighting system that kills bacteria, including superbugs such as MRSA and C difficile, has completed trials at a Glasgow hospital. The LED technology, which can be used alongside or instead of traditional lighting, continually disinfects the air and exposed surfaces with certain violet wavelengths of visible light. A two-year trial at ...

Siblings Strike Again

11/16/2010
Bacteria capable of sporulation go out of their way to grow rather than sporulate. They will therefore try to obtain needed nutrients, even at the cost of killing their neighbors. When starved for nutrients, cells of Bacillus subtilis engage in cannibalism, that is they lyse their siblings and use the ...

Mundo de los Microbios - Podcasting in Puerto Rico

11/15/2010
Gary Toranzos, host of MicrobeWorld's Mundo de los Microbios, and all his gear recording a podcast at the University of Puerto Rico.

Dick Despommier at TEDxMidAtlantic

11/15/2010
Dick Despommier, co-host of This Week in Virology and host of This Week in Parasitism speaking about vertical farming at TEDxMidAtlantic 2010 in Washington, D.C.

Of Terms in Biology: Bacterial Ploidy

11/15/2010
Ploidy is not a term that has much currency in bacteriology, but it does make an appearance once in a while. Ploidy, as per the dictionary, is the number of chromosomes per cell. It’s a term widely used for cells that are generally uninucleated, such as our gametes and our ...

Ask a Biologist: Bringing Science to the Public

11/15/2010
In the early days of the Internet, before Google-powered searches retrieved information on even the most arcane subjects with a single keystroke, inquiring minds sought the advice of experts directly. A critical online intermediary between seekers and experts was the “Ask a (fill in the blank)” website. “Ask a” sites ...

How the immune system destroys viruses in cells

11/02/2010
Scientists at Cambridge University believe that the immune system's main assault on viruses takes place inside infected cells, not outside as previously thought. Click source to view the video.

Small Things Considered blog now on the Kindle

11/02/2010
Small Things Considered, the microbe blog, is now available for subscription on Amazon's Kindle. Small Things Considered is co-authored by Moselio Schaechter, an actively retired microbiologist, currently living in San Diego, California. Schaechter spent most of his research career working on growth physiology and bacterial cell organization. The other author, ...

Tales of Death

11/02/2010
Merry Youle of Small Things Considered looks at several bacteria that have borrowed "tail-like particles" from phages and fashioned from it a targeted bacterial killer for their own use. Snippet: "These efficient killers are indeed related to phage. One gene cluster in the P. aeruginosa PAO1 genome includes about 10 genes that ...

Pictures from the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C.

10/28/2010
Click source to view a set of select pictures from the American Society for Microbiology's presence at the 2010 USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C.

MicrobeWorld at the 2010 USA Science and Engineering Festival

10/27/2010
This past weekend the USA Science and Engineering Festival came to Washington, D.C. The American Society for Microbiology and MicrobeWorld were present with our own booth in which we offered several microbe-related activities for attendees of all ages. In this picture, Barbara Hyde, director of communications for the American Society ...

Medicaid Reimbursement and Childhood Flu Vaccination Rates Linked

10/19/2010
A state-by-state analysis of vaccination data over three flu seasons contends that the number of poor children receiving the annual flu shot could be increased by up to one percentage point for every additional dollar provided to doctors to administer the vaccine. “There is a strong correlation between flu vaccination and ...

Eat safer: Novel technology detects unknown food pathogens

10/19/2010
Researchers from the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and the Bindley Bioscience Center at Purdue University have developed a novel approach to automated detection and classification of harmful bacteria in food. The investigators have designed and implemented a sophisticated statistical approach that allows computers to improve ...

iGerms - Touchscreens may be dirtier than toilets

10/19/2010
Findings in a recent study from the Journal of Applied Microbiology show that viruses can easily be transferred from nonporous glass surfaces, like those on smart phones, right to your fingers. Dr. Jennifer Ashton showed Harry Smith some ways to clean your touchscreen mobile devices.

Dirt And Germs: Are they good for children?

10/19/2010
Author of Why Dirt Is Good, Mary Ruebush says that a lack of germs and over-washing may be linked to the formation of severe illnesses such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis in children. Via CBS news.

A sporadic undertaking by Small Things Considered

10/19/2010
This is the third annual Week of the Fungi on Small Things Considered, a sporadic undertaking (please excuse the pun). "Sooner or later, but usually sooner, anyone dealing with fungi will have to deal with the issue of spore dispersal. Many fungi, mushrooms included, are a spore’s way of spreading spores ...
10/14/2010
Xenotropic murine leukemia virus–related virus (XMRV) has been the subject of many studies since its discovery in 2006, but conflicting reports have created an unclear picture of XMRV's role in human disease. In three recent studies published in the November 15 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available ...

Study of planarian hormones may aid in understanding parasitic flatworms

10/14/2010
A study of peptide hormones in the brain of a seemingly primitive flatworm reveals the surprising complexity of its nervous system and opens up a new approach for combating a major parasitic disease, researchers report. The planarian flatworm, Schmidtea mediterranea, is perhaps best known for its prodigious powers of regeneration. Cut ...

NIH studies influence revision of WHO guidelines for treating HIV-infected women, infants

10/14/2010
Two studies appearing in the October 14, 2010 New England Journal of Medicine and funded by the National Institutes of Health helped influence the World Health Organization (WHO) to change its guidelines this year for the treatment of HIV infection in certain women and children. The recently updated guidelines ...

Genomic comparison of ocean microbes reveals East-West divide in populations

10/14/2010
Much as an anthropologist can study populations of people to learn about their physical attributes, their environs and social structures, some marine microbiologists read the genome of microbes to glean information about the microbes themselves, their environments and lifestyles. Using a relatively new methodology called comparative population genomics, these scientists compare ...

Malaysia will use genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue

10/14/2010
Malaysia could be the first country in Asia to use genetically modified mosquitoes to battle a rise in dengue fever, government authorities said Monday.

Bioluminescence helps organisms to breed, feed and evade predators

10/14/2010
Bioluminescence is as widespread as it is wild and mysterious. Jack-o'-lantern mushrooms, flashlight fish and fireflies are among the multitude of organisms that bioluminesce. Scientists are still finding previously unknown examples of the phenomenon, especially at sea, where bioluminescent species are particularly varied and abundant. In parts of the ocean, ...

Of Terms in Biology: Monophyletic, Paraphyletic...

10/14/2010
Psi Wavefunction, an undergraduate in the Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, and the host of the blog Skeptic Wonder: Protists, Memes and Random Musings, has authored a guest post on Small Things Considered that looks at some confusing terminology associated with phylogenies: "Reading phylogenies is a skill that can ...

Eben Bayer: Are Mushrooms the New Plastic?

10/12/2010
Product designer Eben Bayer reveals his recipe for a new, fungus-based packaging material that protects fragile stuff like furniture, plasma screens -- and the environment.

Cheap Exports: The Economics of Protein Production

10/12/2010
Daniel Smith, a graduate student in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, has a post on the Small Things Considered blog related to his recent paper, Economical Evolution: Microbes Reduce the Synthetic Cost of Extracellular Proteins, that was published in ASM's open source ...

Volcano fuels massive phytoplankton bloom

10/11/2010
Advocates for seeding regions of the ocean with iron to combat global warming should be interested in a new study published today in Geophysical Research Letters. A Canada-US team led by University of Victoria oceanographer Dr. Roberta Hamme describes how the 2008 eruption of the Kasatochi volcano in the Aleutian ...

Killer disease decimates UK frog populations

10/11/2010
Common frog (Rana temporaria) populations across the UK are suffering dramatic population crashes due to infection from the emerging disease Ranavirus, reveals research published in the Zoological Society of London's (ZSL) journal Animal Conservation. Using data collected from the public by the Frog Mortality Project and Froglife, scientists from ZSL found ...

Life-saving in the bacterial world: how Campylobacter rely on Pseudomonas to infect humans

10/11/2010
The bacterium Campylobacter jejuni is a major cause of food poisoning in humans. It is normally transmitted from contaminted chicken meat, as it is frequently found in the intestines of chickens, where it apparently does not result in any symptoms. Campylobacter jejuni is well adapted to life ...

Bt corn fights borers at home, nearby

10/11/2010
Corn that's been genetically engineered to resist attacking borers produces a "halo effect" that provides huge benefits to other corn planted nearby, a new study finds. Since the borers that attack the genetically modified crops die, there are fewer of them to go after the non-modified version. Given that the corn ...

Galapagos Water Quality (Video)

10/11/2010
Researchers travel the beautiful San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos Archipelago studying the water quality and the impact that humans and animals have had on it. Video by Pat Davison. Click source to view.

Taiwan reports first case of NDM-1

10/11/2010
Taiwan's disease control bureau has said that it detected the bacteria, carrying the New Delhi metallo-lactamase-1 (NDM-1) gene, in a wounded Taiwan cameraman just back from India. The cameraman was shot and wounded last month in India, and he was found carrying an antibiotics-resistant bacteria containing NDM-1 in his intestines after ...

Probiotics may help Indian children fight diarrhea

10/11/2010
India has the highest number of child deaths, under the age of five. Nearly all were preventable, if basic hygiene practices were followed. But since sanitation facilities are lacking in many parts of the country, scientists are looking at alternative ways to combat diseases in children - including the use of ...

China's Hospitals Preparing NDM-1 Bacteria Treatment

10/11/2010
China's Ministry of Health on Saturday issued guidelines urging full preparations at medical institutions nationwide for treating the multi-drug resistant NDM-1 bacteria. According to the guidelines, it is likely that the bacteria is mainly transmitted through close contact, with key vulnerable groups being patients with serious illnesses, those chronically taking antibiotics ...

New book argues for more antibiotics research

10/11/2010
With antibiotic-resistant bacteria killing more Americans every year in U.S. hospitals than died during the decade-long Vietnam War, David M. Shlaes says it's time for federal regulators to rethink policies that have encouraged major companies to abandon antibacterials research. And the 62-year-old Shlaes, a drug-industry consultant and former vice president for ...

Researchers Determine the Genetic Blueprint of the Lyme Disease Microbe

10/11/2010
Researchers Dr. Steven E. Schutzer of UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School and Dr. Claire M. Fraser-Liggett of the Institute for Genome Sciences, University of Maryland, and their collaborators have made a major achievement toward better understanding Lyme disease, by determining the complete genetic structures of 13 strains of the bacteria that ...

Staph aureus altered to embed foreign molecules

10/11/2010
Scientists have managed to alter the cell wall of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria to "trick" them into accepting small molecules and embedding them. The development could lead to ways of combating staph infections that can cause pneumonia and a wide range of skin infections. A dangerous antibiotic-resistant form of the bacteria, called ...

Deadly bacteria's foothold spurs study

10/08/2010
News that a hard-to-treat, potentially lethal germ had landed on US shores from India spawned sensational headlines last month about the emergence of a “superbug’’ capable of outwitting the best antibiotics available. So far, just three cases of this NDM-1 bacterium have been identified in the United States — including ...

Bacteria can exacerbate asthma symptoms even if they aren't infected with a virus

10/08/2010
Doctors have long known that viral infections can bring about asthma attacks and the shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing associated with them. But while viral infections cannot be treated, scientists at the Danish Paediatric Asthma Centre at the University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen University Hospital have discovered that treatable ...

Utilizing bacteria to biomonitor the state of oil fields

10/08/2010
Geert van der Kraan, Department of Biotechnology, Delft University of technology, believes the ups and downs of the bacteria in an oil field provide a useful source of information for keeping tabs on the state of the oil field itself. In theory, this process known as 'biomonitoring' can increase the ...

B.C. government puts Listeria report under wraps

10/08/2010
The B.C. government defends its decision to withhold a report on Listeria bacteria found in smoked salmon in the province. Click source to watch the video.
10/04/2010
Scientists, who are set to launch a mission to search for bacteria, believe they could be close to discovering alien life forms much closer to home - on the outer fringes of Earth's atmosphere. British scientists, working with the European Space Agency, would launch a balloon carrying instruments to search the ...

Michigan's Eastern equine encephalitis outbreak worst in 30 years

10/04/2010
More cases of Eastern equine encephalitis have been reported in horses in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Agriculture told the Kalamazoo Gazette that through Thursday there have been 130 cases this year. Officials have called this year's outbreak the worst in 30 years.

Study suggests voluntary HIV screening should be implemented on a population-wide basis in France

10/04/2010
In France, roughly 40,000 HIV-infected persons are unaware of their HIV infection. Although previous studies have evaluated the cost-effectiveness of routine HIV screening in the United States, differences in both the epidemiology of infection and HIV testing behaviors warrant a setting-specific analysis for France. Methods/Principal Findings We estimated the life expectancy (LE), ...

Interview with Françoise Barré-Sinoussi on Sex, Stigma and Women in Science

09/30/2010
Nature video has produced a piece in which physicist Markita Landry talks with Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, the French virologist who received a Nobel Prize in 2008 for identifying HIV as the cause of AIDS. They discuss the impact of the stigma associated with sexual-related diseases and the experience of being a ...

Coriolus versicolor

09/29/2010
Several "Turkey Tails" on a fallen tree in Hyattsville, MD.

In Thailand Hand Foot Mouth disease more rampant this season

09/29/2010
The Ministry of Public Health has ordered provincial public health offices to monitor the spread of Hand-Foot-Mouth (HFM) disease after over 10,000 patients have been infected so far this year. According to Deputy Public Health Minister Dr Phansiri Kullanartsiri, a change from the rainy season to the winter, has provided a ...

Fungi synchronize spore ejections to create their own air stream

09/29/2010
A good breeze is just what a fungus needs to spread its seed, but what if the weather doesn't oblige? It turns out some species generate their own jets of air, increasing how far their spores travel more than 30-fold. Apothecial fungi have cup-shaped fruiting bodies lined with spore-bearing cells called ...

Sneaking Spies Into A Cell's Nucleus

09/29/2010
Duke University bioengineers have not only figured out a way to sneak molecular spies through the walls of individual cells, they can now slip them into the command center -- or nucleus -- of those cells, where they can report back important information or drop off payloads. Using silver nanoparticles ...

Protected by Ice, RNA Could Generate, Evolve Into Life

09/28/2010
Abstract - A crucial transition in the origin of life was the emergence of an informational polymer capable of self-replication and its compartmentalization within protocellular structures. We show that the physicochemical properties of ice, a simple medium widespread on a temperate early Earth, could have mediated this transition prior to ...

Careers after Biological Sciences - James Lonnen

09/28/2010
Dr. James Lonnen is the Commercial Laboratory Director in the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Leicester. He studied Biological Sciences (Microbiology), one of a suite of Biological Sciences degrees available at the University of Leicester, and graduated in 2000. In this short video James talks ...

Dance your Ph.D. 2010 - Mechanism of Integration of NBU1, a Bacterioides Mobilizable Transposon

09/28/2010
Here's the second place winner in Science Now's "Dance Your PhD 2010" worldwide dance competition. The microbiology of the bowels has never been danced so gracefully.

Saving Young Lives in Zambia

09/28/2010
Anti-malarial drugs are being used inappropriately for sick children in Zambia -- a problem that can be addressed by arming community health workers with a simple rapid-diagnostic test and a supply of antibiotics, a study led by researchers at Boston University School of Public Health has found. Listen to Kojo Yeboah-Antwi, ...

A mat of microbes 'as big as Greece' off the coast of Chile

09/28/2010
Moselio Schaechter of the Small Things Considered blog discusses one of the largest biomass entities in the oceans that was explored as part of the decade-long Census of Marine Life, a global network of researchers in more than 80 nations engaged in a scientific initiative to assess and explain the ...

Inside the Mind's Eye: Communicating Science in a New Media Era

09/24/2010
Blogs, podcasts, and other new media outlets have changed the way people get their news. Immediate access to information presents new opportunities as well as challenges for science communication. Join Carl Zimmer, science writer for the New York Times and host of MicrobeWorld's Meet the Scientist podcast, at the Marian ...

ASM is looking for input from medical microbiologist to propose sessions for 2011 General Meeting

09/23/2010
When the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) holds the 111th General Meeting in May 2011, participants will experience a redesigned conference with science and scientists at the forefront. A major change for the medical microbiology community is the introduction of the Medical Microbiology Track within the meeting: + Potential for more than ...

Seasonal flu vaccine lowers risk of first heart attack

09/20/2010
The seasonal flu vaccine is associated with a 19% reduction in the rate of first heart attack and early vaccination in the fall further increases the benefits, found a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). As heart attacks increase significantly in winter when pneumonia and flu are prevalent, it ...

HIV-like virus that infects monkeys is thousands of years older than previously thought

09/20/2010
The HIV-like virus that infects monkeys is thousands of years older than previously thought, according to a new study led by researchers from Tulane University.
 Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), which is the ancestor to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is between 32,000 and 75,000 years old and may even be ...

Mushrooms of North Carolina

09/20/2010
Mushrooms from the Smoky Mountains National Park.

Food Microbiology at the University of Guelph

09/20/2010
A student profile of food microbiologist Sylvie at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

How to Gram Stain with Nik Stasulli

09/20/2010
Nik Stasulli, graduate student in the Microbiology department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, demonstrates his gram staining technique using coplin jars.

ASU receives 2-year, $5.3 million DARPA award to safeguard soldiers from infectious diseases

09/20/2010
Scientists at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University have received a 2-year, $5.3 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to protect warfighters in the event of exposure to infectious diseases during deployment. Dr. Stephen Albert Johnston and his colleagues at the Biodesign Institute have taken on ...

Antibiotics may severely disrupt the balance of microbes living in the gut

09/20/2010
Antibiotics may severely disrupt the balance of microbes living in the gut, with unforeseen health consequences, U.S. researchers reported Monday. An intimate study of three women given ciprofloxacin showed the drug suppressed entire populations of beneficial bacteria, and at least one woman took months to recover. The study, published in the Proceedings ...

Bacteria Gobbling Natural Gas in the Gulf - PBS interviews David Valentine

09/20/2010
While attention in the Gulf has mostly focused on oil, the explosion and spill also released tremendous amounts of natural gas. David Valentine, a microbial geochemistry professor at UC Santa Barbara, and his research team, have been studying the behavior and distribution of these natural gases, their impacts on the ...

Life Beyond It's Planet of Origin

09/20/2010
Rocco Mancinelli, an astrobiologist from the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, discusses how research has taken the first step to understanding how organisms survive and evolve outside of planet earth.

Sequencing the Split-gill Mushroom: Beyond Breaking Biomass

09/20/2010
DOE JGI's Igor Grigoriev and University of Utrecht's Han Wosten discuss the split-gill mushroom, a wood-degrading fungus whose genome was published online July 11, 2010 in Nature Biotechnology.

Good Writing Beats Bad Writing, Most Any Day

09/20/2010
Moselio Schaechter of the Small Things Considered blog declares scientific writing is improving and highlights several articles in the 2010 issue of the Annual Review of Microbiology to illustrate his point. "Just when some people believe that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, here I am, ready ...

Weird Bugs, Weird Places: The Microbial Risks of Taking a Shower #ICAAC

09/14/2010
Live press conference from ICAAC in Boston featuring: * Mark Krockenberger, University of Syndey, New South Wales, Australia * Daniel Frank, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States * Paul Johnson, Austin Health, Melbourne, Australia

Is the Era of Bacterial Culture Ending? #ICAAC

09/14/2010
As technology continues to move forward, fast DNA-based tests can offer diagnosis in hours compared to the days it can take for a bacterial culture to grow, often with the same level of certainty. Still, cultures remain the definitive gold-standard for confirming diagnosis. Have we finally reached the ...

Community-associated MRSA: Why is it spreading so quickly? #ICAAC

09/14/2010
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was discovered in 1960. Over the following 40 years, MRSA was a problem confined largely to the health-care setting. In the late 1990s, the first United States reports of community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) infections appeared. At present, several reports suggest that CA-MRSA may be replacing the hospital-associated ...

A Role for Statins in Infectious Disease? #ICAAC

09/13/2010
Statins are well-known as a class of drugs that are used to help lower cholesterol but recent evidence suggests they might be good for more than your heart. They may play a role in preventing and treating certain bacterial infections including pneumonia and sepsis. Presenters at ICAAC discuss ...

ICAAC 2010 - Opening Briefing

09/13/2010
Members of the ICAAC Program Committee give an overview of the ICAAC meeting and discuss sessions of particular interest. Lunch will follow. * M. Lindsay Grayson, Austin Hospital/Austin Health, Melbourne, Australia * Craig Rubens, Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center, Seattle, WA ...

Emerging Issues in Infectious Disease #ICAAC

09/13/2010
Participants in this session at ICAAC discuss the latest issues appearing on the horizon for infectious disease researchers including the changing epidemiology of drug resistance in Salmonella and the possibility that chronic fatigue syndrome could be associated with a retroviral infection. * Myra McClure, Imperial College London, ...

2010 Handwashing Survey Results #ICAAC

09/13/2010
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 American Cleaning Institute® (formerly The Soap and Detergent Association), 85% of adults washed their hands in public restrooms, compared with 77% in ...

NDM-1: The New Superbugs #ICAAC

09/13/2010
New Dehli metallo-beta-lactamase-1 (NDM-1) is an enzyme that makes bacteria resistant to a broad range of beta-lactam antibiotics. These include the antibiotics of the carbapenem family, which are a mainstay for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. According the the United Kingdom’s health protection agency, most bacteria carrying the ...

Antimicrobial-Resistant Pathogens: An Emerging Pediatric Threat #ICAAC 2010

09/12/2010
Antibiotic resistance has become an increasing cause for concern around the globe, but it poses a unique set of problems for infections in children. Researchers present the latest information on antibiotic-resistant infections of concern to pediatricians including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), other extended-spectrum beta lactamase-producing (ESBL) bacteria (so-called superbugs) ...

ICAAC 2010 - What Big Pharma Wants and What Biotech Can Offer

09/12/2010
As larger pharmaceutical companies have reduced focus on discovery and early development of antibacterials, smaller biotech companies have taken on a larger role in these earliest stages of antibacterial development, later licensing or selling the compound to the pharmaceutical company to complete development. Although this model has helped to partially ...

ICAAC 2010 - Overview Briefing

09/12/2010
Members of the ICAAC Program Committee will give an overview of the ICAAC meeting and discuss sessions of particular interest. Lunch will follow. * M. Lindsay Grayson, Austin Hospital/Austin Health, Melbourne, Australia * Craig Rubens, Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center, Seattle, WA ...

Plasmalogens Have Evolved Twice

08/31/2010
Howard Goldfine, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has authored a new post on Small Things Considered that looks at the interesting evolution of plasmalogens from anaerobes to plant and animal cells. "Plasmalogens appeared early, but did not survive in aerotolerant and aerobic bacteria. Why not? ...

Murine leukemia virus found in in 86 percent of chronic fatigue patients

08/28/2010
Researchers have linked a second type of mouse virus to a baffling condition called chronic fatigue syndrome, but said their findings do not yet prove that any virus causes the symptoms. They found evidence of murine leukemia virus, which causes cancer in mice, in 86 percent of chronic fatigue patients they ...

Vaccine cuts child cases of bacterial pneumonia in UK, says study

08/28/2010
The number of children admitted to English hospitals with bacterial pneumonia decreased by a fifth in the two years following the introduction of a vaccine to combat the disease, according to a new study published today in the journal Thorax. In September 2006, a vaccine known as PCV7 was introduced into ...

Oregano supplement reduces methane emissions in cows and improves milk production

08/28/2010
"Cow belches, a major source of greenhouse gases, could be decreased by an unusual feed supplement developed by a Penn State dairy scientist. In a series of laboratory experiments and a live animal test, an oregano-based supplement not only decreased methane emissions in dairy cows by 40 percent, but also improved ...

First West Nile virus infections confirmed in humans in Greece

08/28/2010
Between early July and 22 August 2010, 81 cases of West Nile neuroinvasive disease were reported in the region of Central Macedonia, northern Greece. The median age of cases was 70 years. Encephalitis, meningoencephalitis or aseptic meningitis occurred mainly in patients aged 50 years or older. This is the first ...

Salmonella strain blamed in outbreak is confirmed at 2 Iowa farms

08/28/2010
According to the Food and Drug Administration, laboratory tests have confirmed that two Iowa egg companies are contaminated with the same strain of salmonella blamed for a national outbreak of illness, which continues to claim victims and has sickened at least 1,500 people.

Helicobacter Pylori: Bacteria Cause Cancer.

08/27/2010
Dr. Nina Salama, microbiologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Affiliate Associate Professor of Microbiology at the University of Washington discusses Helicobacter pylori, a bacterira that lives in the human stomach and causes chronic disease (peptic ulcer and gastric cancer). {youtube}k1CypA021lQ{/youtube} Via PBS Affiliate KCTS 9

Building Community through Public Toilets

08/27/2010
The Global Water Challenge (GWC) is a coalition of leading organizations in the water and sanitation sector. In this video GWC finalist David Kuria of Ecotact Limited, a Kenyan company dedicated to bringing public toilets to an area where there were only two for 60,000 people, discusses the need for ...

Ants found to use multiple antibiotics as weed killers

08/26/2010
Scientists at the University of East Anglia, have shown that fungus-farming ants are using multiple antibiotics as weed killers to maintain their fungus gardens. Research led by Dr Matt Hutchings and published in the journal BMC Biology shows that ants use the antibiotics to inhibit the growth of unwanted fungi and ...

Researchers have developed a new bioreactor that can enhance algae growth

08/26/2010
Syracuse University’s Radhakrishna Sureshkumar, professor and chair of biomedical and chemical engineering in the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science, and SU chemical engineering Ph.D. student Satvik Wani have discovered a method to make algae grow faster by manipulating light particles through the use of nanobiotechnology. By creating ...

Submit a session proposal for 9th ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting

08/25/2010
The 2011 ASM Biodefense Meeting (http://www.asmbiodefense.org/) at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, on Feb 6-9, 2011, will focus on basic and applied research, policy issues, and education related to biodefense and emerging infectious diseases. Meeting participants represent a blend of scientists and policy makers from academia, government, and the ...

The Story of Louis Pasteur (1935)

08/24/2010
William Dieterle's 1935 film about Louis Pasteur who scientifically disproved the spontaneous generation hypothesis and among many other things greatly influenced the introduction and use of antisepsis in medicine. You can watch the rest of the parts 2-6 on YouTube.

DNA Sequencing Reveals Complex Microbial Quid Pro Quo for Managing Carbon and Waste Streams

08/24/2010
DOE JGI researchers report the first metagenome analysis of a microbial community grown in an anaerobic methanogenic (methane producing) bioreactor. The microbial community is syntrophic, i.e., certain organisms live off the byproducts of others.

Norwegians may have an edge against future H1N1 outbreaks

08/24/2010
By autumn 2009, almost half of the population of Norway had been vaccinated against the pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus. Many had also been infected by the virus during the summer and autumn outbreaks. The majority of those who were vaccinated or were infected are expected to have developed immunity ...

Ancient microbes breathed life into ocean 'deserts'

08/24/2010
In a paper published by Nature Geoscience online, Arizona State University researchers Brian Kendall and Ariel Anbar, et al., show that "oxygen oases" in the surface ocean were sites of significant oxygen production long before the breathing gas began to accumulate in the atmosphere.

HIV may hide in the brain

08/24/2010
Studies of the spinal fluid of patients given anti-HIV drugs have resulted in new findings suggesting that the brain can act as a hiding place for the HIV virus. Around 10% of patients showed traces of the virus in their spinal fluid but not in their blood – a larger ...

Mice spread plague in prairie dog towns

08/24/2010
Prairie dogs, once abundant in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains, have been decimated in recent decades by plague – a virulent bacterial disease spread by fleas. Plague outbreaks periodically sweep through large prairie dog towns with thousands of inhabitants, killing virtually the entire population within months. Other prairie dogs move ...

Michigan State University develops two lines of pest-resistant soybeans

08/24/2010
Two lines of pest-resistant soybean painstakingly developed by a Michigan State University scientist promise healthier harvests for growers and a little green for the university too. “Sparta – the Soybean Aphid Shield” is the new trade name for genetics developed by Dechun Wang. The associate professor of crop and soil science ...

Scientist IDs genes that may make biofuel production more economical

08/24/2010
A University of Illinois metabolic engineer has taken the first step toward the more efficient and economical production of biofuels by developing a strain of yeast with increased alcohol tolerance. Biofuels are produced through microbial fermentation of biomass crops, which yield the alcohol-based fuels ethanol and iso-butanol if yeast is used ...

HIV cure could be all in the 'mix'

08/24/2010
Current HIV treatments do not eradicate HIV from host cells but rather inhibit virus replication and delay the onset of AIDS. However, a new research published in BioMed Central's open access journal, AIDS Research & Therapy describes an innovative approach to eliminate HIV in host by targeted killing of ...

Study to Examine New Treatment for West Nile Virus

08/24/2010
Neurological and infectious disease experts at Rush University Medical Center are testing a new drug therapy for the treatment of individuals with West Nile fever or suspected central nervous system infection due to the West Nile virus. Rush is the only site in the Midwest enrolling patients into the $50 ...

Study says alcohol-based hand rubs can improve business productivity

08/24/2010
The placement of alcohol-based hand disinfectants in businesses can reduce illness and absenteeism amongst the work force. A study published in the open access journal, BMC Infectious Diseases, has found that incidences of absenteeism in public administrations due to the common cold, fever and cough are significantly reduced when alcohol-based ...

'Zombie ants' controlled by parasitic fungus for 48m years

08/19/2010
The oldest evidence of a fungus that turns ants into zombies and makes them stagger to their death has been uncovered by scientists. The gruesome hallmark of the fungus's handiwork was found on the leaves of plants that grew in Messel, near Darmstadt in Germany, 48m years ago. The finding shows that ...

White nose syndrome could kill off U.S. Northeast's little brown bats in 20 years

08/18/2010
A brief article in Scientific American by writer John Platt looks at the dim future for little brown bats who are at risk of becoming extinct due to white nose syndrome. "As we have previously reported, 95 percent of Vermont's bats have been killed by the deadly fungal infection known ...

Polio: A Conquered Disease Still Clings to Life

08/18/2010
Despite a known preventative, polio still maims and cripples 1,000 people annually. Poliomyelitis—a viral disease that wreaks havoc on motor neurons, often paralyzing sufferers for life—was supposed to be banished from the planet a long time ago. When Jonas Salk unveiled his famed vaccine to the world in 1955, and Albert ...

Medicare Coverage Drives Antibiotic Use among Elderly

08/18/2010
Now that older people have prescription drug coverage from Medicare, they are using more antibiotics, a new study from the University of Pittsburgh has found. That may not sound surprising. But the authors of the study say it could be worrisome. Among the drugs being taken more often, the researchers pointed out, ...

Despite vaccination, Pertussis is making a comeback

08/18/2010
"In recent years, pertussis has made an alarming comeback — even among adolescents and adults who were vaccinated as children. Highly contagious, spread by coughs and sneezes, pertussis is now epidemic in California, with 2,774 confirmed cases in 2010 — a sevenfold increase from last year, putting the state on track ...

Old Malaria Drug Blamed for Resistance Gets a New Reputation

08/18/2010
An inexpensive drug currently used to treat and prevent malaria in pregnant women—sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, or “SP” for short—could reduce malaria infection in infants by 30 percent, recent studies have shown. But health officials in the developing world have held off on recommending SP’s widespread use because of concerns that offering it ...

Scientists develop new drug treatment for malaria

08/18/2010
Researchers from the University of Liverpool and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine have produced a new drug to treat malaria. Click "source" to view the video.

Reminding healthcare staff to remove catheters reduces infections by half

08/18/2010
Urinary catheters are often left in place longer than needed, and new research shows that reminder systems that encourage hospital staff to remove catheters promptly can reduce the rate of catheter-associated urinary tract infections by 52 percent. The review and meta-analysis was published July 30 in the journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases. ...

This Wormy World

08/18/2010
Maps showing the distribution and prevalence of worm infections in every African country are the first of a series of Global Atlas of Helminth Infections which provide a unique, open-access, free information resource vital for planning and implementing deworming programs. It is estimated that more than 400 million children worldwide are ...

MRSA policies differ among hospitals, study shows

08/18/2010
Hospitals vary in how they detect and treat drug-resistant staph infections, but most follow national guideline recommendations, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Researchers sent a 61-item questionnaire to pharmacy directors at 263 acute-care hospitals in the U.S. to learn of their policies and practices regarding methicillin-resistant ...

ISU researchers discover cause of immune system avoidance of certain pathogens

08/18/2010
A special set of sugars found on some disease-causing pathogens helps those pathogens fight the body's natural defenses as well as vaccines, say two Iowa State University researchers. This discovery may be a first step in understanding a disease family that includes tuberculosis for which there are currently no good vaccines ...

Protein assembly is far less frantic than previously thought

08/18/2010
The apparently random self-assembly of molecular threads into the proteins that make the body work is far less frantic than previously thought, Michigan State University scientists say. That discovery could be a key to help unlock the nature of some diseases. How proteins spontaneously “fold” from wiggling chains of amino acids ...

Healthwatch: PRHC Microbiology Lab

08/17/2010
A behind the scenes look at the Microbiology Lab at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre, staffed by highly trained medical laboratory technologists and laboratory technicians.

New superbug resistant to strongest antibiotics found in Canada

08/17/2010
A new bacteria that has emerged in India — dubbed NDM-1 and which is resistant to even the strongest antibiotics — is quickly spreading worldwide, British researchers say in a report published in the medical journal The Lancet. Click "source " to watch the video.

What is Open Access Publishing in Scientific Research?

08/17/2010
A slide-cast by Jonathan Eisen, Professor at UC Davis and Academic Editor in Chief of PLoS Biology, about open access publishing given at the Clinical and Translational Science Center at UC Davis (http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/ctsc).

A Brief Introduction to Genetics

08/17/2010
A Brief Introduction to Genetics is a short documentary film created using motion graphics as the main visual component. It is a film that explores the history of genetics & genomics and the underlying concepts that provide the foundational knowledge that today's research is built upon. The film describes the ...

Invitation - A quick tour through the field of genomics

08/17/2010
A quick animation about genomics, from simple to complex

Superbug, Be Gone

08/17/2010
A short documentary by Daniel Vasquez about a new strategy of combating antibiotic resistance.

Malaysia coordinates bacteria surveillance for superbug

08/16/2010
The Malaysian Institute of Medical Research (IMR) is coordinating bacteria surveillance for the New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1) gene, which makes bacteria resistant to almost all antibiotics and thus turning them into “Superbugs”. Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said the surveillance is performed by a network of hospital-based microbiology ...

Louisiana's agriculture department recalls sausage

08/16/2010
Louisiana's agriculture department says Veron Foods LLC of Prairieville is recalling 250 tons of ready-to-eat sausage and hog's head cheese because of possible contamination by bacteria. The Department of Agriculture and Forestry says investigation of an illness revealed a sample contaminated with Listeria bacteria, which can cause an uncommon but potentially ...

Nickel imitates the action of bacteria

08/16/2010
Nickel allergy is the most common contact allergy in the western world, with people affected reacting to costume jewellery, coins and even medical implants. Now we know why: it seems nickel imitates the action of bacteria. Matthias Goebeler at the University of Giessen in Germany and his colleagues looked at cells ...

Are banknotes contaminated with dangerous levels of bacteria?

08/16/2010
Apparently not, according to food microbiologist at the University of Ballarat Dr Frank Vriesekoop. The urban legend has been shattered by a global research team led by Dr Vriesekoop after one of his students asked him about sanitation in food outlets and the handling of money. Similar results in Australia and New ...

High Temps Play Role in Spreading Arkansas Rice Disease

08/16/2010
Hot nights are accelerating panicle blight, a seed-borne bacterial rice disease that can cut yields by up to 60 bushels per acre. The rod-shaped bacteria responsible for panicle blight destroy or rot the developing rice grains, resulting in what’s known as kernel blanking, or partial blanking. “This year in June and July, ...

Researchers develop MRSA-killing paint

08/16/2010
Building on an enzyme found in nature, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created a nanoscale coating for surgical equipment, hospital walls, and other surfaces which safely eradicates methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the bacteria responsible for antibiotic resistant infections. "We're building on nature," said Jonathan S. Dordick, the Howard P. ...

New Drug-Resistant 'Superbug' Claims First Life

08/16/2010
A new drug-resistant "superbug" that originated in South Asia has claimed the life of a Belgian man. It’s the first reported death from bacteria with the New Delhi metallo-lactamase-1 gene,Agence France-Presses reported. The gene, which is found in a number of different bacteria, produces an enzyme that renders even ...

NIH launches effort to define markers of human immune responses

08/13/2010
A new nationwide research initiative has been launched to define changes in the human immune system, using human and not animal studies, in response to infection or to vaccination. Six U. S.-based Human Immune Phenotyping Centers will receive a total of $100 million over five years to conduct this research. Funding ...

Popping Cells Surprise Living Circuits Creators

08/13/2010
Under the microscope, the bacteria start dividing normally, two cells become four and then eight and so on. But then individual cells begin "popping," like circus balloons being struck by darts. This phenomenon, which surprised the Duke University bioengineers who captured it on video, turns out to be an example of ...

'Fearless' aphids ignore warnings, get eaten by ladybugs

08/13/2010
If your building has 10 false fire alarms one morning, it is human nature to ignore it when it goes off for the 11th time. Similarly, when aphids are raised on plants genetically engineered to emit a compound that warns surrounding aphids of a predator, they become accustomed to the chemical ...

Human cells copy DNA—and RNA, too

08/13/2010
Researchers have confirmed a long-held but unproven hypothesis that mammalian cells are capable of synthesizing RNA by copying RNA molecules directly. The team used single-molecule sequencing technology, which has detected and quantified novel small RNAs in human cells that represent entirely new classes of the gene-translating molecules. Findings were reported in ...

Small pharmacies are more likely to dispense antibiotics without a medical prescription than large pharmacies in Catalonia, Spain

08/13/2010
The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between pharmacy size and the likelihood of obtaining antibiotics without medical prescription at a pharmacy. In 2008 in Catalonia, two actors presented three different cases in a randomised sample of pharmacies and asked pharmacists for an antibiotic. Pharmacies were considered ...

The end of the pandemic – what will be the pattern of influenza in the 2010-11 European winter and beyond?

08/13/2010
A recent editorial at www.eurosurveillance.org by A. Nicol and M. Sprenger considers the possible pattern for influenza in Europe this winter and beyond. "On 10 August 2010 Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), announced that the world has moved into the post-pandemic period [1]. Following the advice ...

Recalled salad product is distributed across 13 states

08/13/2010
Wisconsin is among 13 states where possibly-contaminated Fresh Express salad products were distributed. The Salinas, California-based company is voluntarily recalling 2,825 cases of Veggie Lovers Salad because of a possible health risk from the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The recalled salad mix has a product code of I208 and a use-by date ...

Health officials warn of vibrio in Chesapeake Bay

08/13/2010
Maryland health officials say people may be getting sick from eating raw oysters and other shellfish from the Chesapeake Bay. The culprit is vibrio, a naturally occurring bacteria that's more prevalent in the bay during hot weather. The state health department says there have been 24 cases of vibrio infection this year.

Unique Bacteria Hold Clues Of Life On Other Planets

08/13/2010
Bacteria discovered in an oxygen-starved area of Argentina could demonstrate how life could exist on Mars or other planets, according to a Wednesday article by Reuters reporter Kylie Stott. A team that included National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) microbiologist Maria Eugenia Farias discovered the unique strands of bacteria--called "polyextremophiles" ...

Linking India to superbug unfair and wrong, says India

08/13/2010
India Thursday termed as unfair and wrong linking a multiple drug-resistant superbug detected in Britain to India saying a number of such bacteria have also been reported from other countries. Health experts said it was politically motivated as Western doctors were alarmed at the prospect of losing business to India's ...

Biofilms Over Troubled Waters

08/13/2010
Mark O. Martin, ASM member, associate blogger for Small Things Considered, and Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, has authored a new post on the Small Things Considered blog that explores what might be happening to the "vanishing" oil slicks in the Gulf ...

Sari cloth a simple sustainable protector from cholera

08/12/2010
Bangladeshi villagers use sari cloth to filter water and help prevent disease. A study previously conducted by scientists of the University of Maryland, USA, demonstrated that the cotton cloth was able to reduce cholera incidents by 48%. Follow-up research five years later ascertained that more than 30% of the women ...

Cloning Bush Medicine

08/12/2010
Some call him the Microscopic Medicine Man. Professor Brett Neilan from The University of New South Wales, is a microbiologist who thinks he's found the secret behind some of the world's most successful "bush" medicines - and how to save them for the future.

Monsters Inside Me: Trichanella Spiralis

08/12/2010
Found inside undercooked wild game and pork, Trichanella spiralis is a parasitic worm that can cut through human muscles and tissue.

Microbes To The Rescue: The fate of spilled oil in the Gulf rests with the hydrocarbon-digesting microorganisms colonizing underwater plumes

08/12/2010
The environmental impact of millions of gallons of oil still in the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon incident may depend on microscopic helpers: Bacteria that consume oil and other hydrocarbons and could break down the spilled crude, making it disappear, as highlighted in the current issue of Chemical ...

When the End Is the Story - Human Herpesvirus six (HHV-6)

08/10/2010
Sometimes, discovery in biology is about discerning rules and sometimes it is about pursuing exceptions. In this spirit, Human Herpesvirus six (HHV-6), the etiologic agent of the common childhood illness roseola infantum, is shaping up to be an intriguing exception. A recent post on Small Things Considered by Welkin Johnson, Assistant ...

Antibiotic arsenal not being restocked

08/09/2010
We have come to expect that modern medicine can cure just about any infection. But bacteria are finding ways to evade, one by one, the drugs in our arsenal, and that arsenal is not being replenished with new antibiotics. Drug companies are abandoning the antibacterial business, citing high development costs, low ...

Las Vegas area hospitals resist reporting the increasing numbers of patients who acquire bacteria infections

08/09/2010
Las Vegas hospital officials say they are doing enough to protect patients from becoming infected with deadly bacteria. But hospitals are failing according to an investigative story in the Las Vegas Sun. The paper spent two years investigating hospital safety in Las Vegas, including analysis of hospital billing records on file with ...

Hard rain makes many rivers unfit for humans, tests show

08/09/2010
Swimming in the rivers that feed the Chesapeake Bay after a hard rain could be hazardous to your health according to a key finding of a water quality experiment conducted last month by reporters at the University of Maryland working for News21, a national consortium of journalism schools. The team took ...

Ready-to-eat salads, new pathogens fuel rise in contaminated produce in US and Canada

08/09/2010
The popularity of ready-to-eat salad mixes and the sudden emergence of a little known strain of E. coli bacteria have dramatically increased the risk of food-borne contamination and illness in Canada and the U.S. If you think there are more cases of tainted vegetables than previously, you aren't crazy, according to ...

Dengue deaths increase as BTI bacteria from Cuba is delayed

08/09/2010
Sri Lanka’s health department is in a fix over the delay in the import of the first consignment of BTI bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis) from Cuba as the number of deaths due to dengue has risen to 149 Friday. Meanwhile, the health ministry has failed to get a positive ...

Fuel could be created from thin air using an enzyme from a common soil bacterium

08/09/2010
Azotobacter vinelandii, a microbe found around the roots of various food plants, creates an enzyme - vanadium nitrogenase - which in nature produces ammonia from nitrogen gas. But now it has been shown that it can also create propane, the fuel commonly used in camping gas stoves, out of carbon ...

Fold.it, the protein folding game, taps worldwide audience to solve difficult puzzles

08/07/2010
A cooperative online game that puts volunteer “gamers” to work folding proteins has attracted 50,000 players whose “distributed thinking” has, in some cases, proven more powerful than computers in predicting the three-dimensional structure of proteins. Extension of these efforts could one day pay off in the design of new proteins ...

Researchers Unlock Secret of Rabies Transmission in Bats

08/07/2010
Most infectious diseases infect multiple host species, but to date, efforts to quantify the frequency and outcome of cross-species transmission (CST) of these diseases have been severely limited. This lack of information represents a major gap in knowledge of how diseases emerge, and from which species they will emerge. A paper ...

Tattooing linked to higher risk of hepatitis C

08/07/2010
Youth, prison inmates and individuals with multiple tattoos that cover large parts of their bodies are at higher risk of contracting hepatitis C and other blood-borne diseases, according to a University of British Columbia study. The researchers reviewed and analysed 124 studies from 30 countries, including Canada, Iran, Italy, Brazil and ...

A compact microscope invented at Rice University is proving its potential to impact global health

08/07/2010
A compact, inexpensive microscope operated by a battery is able to diagnose signs of tuberculosis on par with devices that retail for as much as $40,000. The 2.5 pound microscope was developed by Rice University alumnus Andrew Miller, as his senior design project last year. The goal was to make an inexpensive, ...

The impact of the pandemic influenza A(H1N1) 2009 virus on seasonal influenza A viruses in the southern hemisphere

08/07/2010
Data collected over winter 2009 by five World Health Organisation National Influenza Centres in the southern hemisphere were used to examine the circulation of pandemic and seasonal influenza A strains during the first pandemic wave in the southern hemisphere. There is compelling evidence that the pandemic influenza A(H1N1) 2009 virus ...

Oil Spill Cleanup Workers also Include the Microbes

08/05/2010
On Wednesday, a report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said early observations showed that the oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill “is biodegrading quickly,” adding that scientists were working to measure how quickly and how much of the escaped oil the microbial hordes could consume. “Until it is ...

E. coli animation

08/04/2010
Escherichia coli is a Gram negative rod-shaped bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms.

Futures in Biotech 58: Vertical Farms and much more with Dick Despommier

08/04/2010
Marc Pelletier, host of Futures in Biotech, and Vincent Racaniello, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology & host of This Week in Virology, host of This Week in Parasitism, Columbia University, New York, NY, talk with Dickson D. Despommier, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, ...

Genome Signatures Enable Tracking of Algal Complexity

08/04/2010
On the long and difficult road toward a carbon-neutral source of transportation fuels, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is pursuing a diversified approach. This effort involves exploring a range of potential new fuel sources in nature: from plants that may serve as cellulosic feedstocks—fast-growing trees and perennial grasses ...

Photosynthetic algae found inside the cells of a salamander

08/04/2010
Occasionally, researchers stumble across something extraordinary in a system that has been studied for decades. Ryan Kerney of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, did just that while looking closely at a clutch of emerald-green balls--embryos of the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum). He noticed that their bright green color comes ...

NRC report pins down future biosecurity

08/04/2010
Can the disease-causing capabilities of an organism be predicted from its DNA? This was a key question faced by a 13-member committee of the National Research Council (NRC). It was trying determine what it would take to develop a government system that spots bioweapons in the making by screening the ...

Oyster harvest closed in two Hood Canal areas to reduce exposure to bacteria

08/04/2010
Several cases of illness from eating raw oysters and lab detection of bacteria that can make people sick has led state health officials to close two Hood Canal growing areas in Washington state. Lab tests in Hood Canal Six, which runs from Hoodsport south and east to the boat launch area ...

2 Missouri veterans are infected with hepatitis B, 2 are hepatitis C positive

08/04/2010
The Veteran's Administration (VA) today released the latest results of tests taken by dental patients at the John Cochran VA Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. As of Wed 28 Jul 2010, the VA confirms 2 positive results for hepatitis B and 2 positive results for hepatitis C. The data [were] ...

Chikungunya cases on rise in Myanmar, officials say

08/04/2010
Health officials in Myanmar have this year reported a significant increase in cases of Chikungunya, a little-known viral disease with symptoms similar to dengue fever. While rarely fatal, there is no vaccine or cure for Chikungunya and treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms, which can last for several months. In 2010, the ...

Southeastern Massachusetts targets mosquitoes carrying eastern equine encephalitis

08/04/2010
Planes are scheduled to take to the air tomorrow night to begin spraying a swath of Southeastern Massachusetts with pesticide targeted at mosquitoes carrying eastern equine encephalitis, Governor Deval Patrick announced today at a news conference in Lakeville. The planes, which will cover Bristol and Plymouth counties, will spray an insecticide ...

Case of LaCrosse encephalitis reported in Montgomery County, Mississippi's 1st since 2008

08/04/2010
A case of the mosquito-borne illness LaCrosse encephalitis has been reported in Montgomery County, Mississippi. Click Source for more.

Exploring the Deep Sea Methane Vents at Hydrate Ridge

08/04/2010
The NY Times blog Scientists at Work is a modern version of a field journal which reports on the daily progress of scientific expeditions — adventures, misadventures, discoveries, etc. Over the next 12 days, Jeffrey Marlow, a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology, will report on the progress ...

New estimates of the global population at risk of Plasmodium vivax malaria

08/04/2010
A new evidence-based global distribution map of Plasmodium vivax malaria, published August 3 in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, is used to estimate that 2.85 billion people lived at risk of infection with this parasite in 2009. The map, created as part of the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP), ...

Cancer-causing bacterium targets tumor-suppressor protein

08/04/2010
Researchers have discovered a mechanism by which Helicobacter pylori, the only known cancer-causing bacterium, disables a tumor suppressor protein in host cells. The new study, in the journal Oncogene, reports the discovery of a previously unknown mechanism linking H. pylori infection and stomach cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths ...

Army’s Vaccine Plan: Inject Troops With Gas-Propelled, Electro-Charged DNA

08/04/2010
The Army’s got a one-two punch to perfect vaccinations and offer scientists the ability to quickly develop inoculations that stave off new dangers. First, they’ll shoot troops up using a “gene gun,” that’s filled with DNA-based vaccines. Then they’ll follow it up with “short electrical pulses to the delivery site.” The ...

How blocking the 'Programmed Death 1' protein may treat or prevent sepsis and severe infection

08/03/2010
Scientists have made an important discovery that could lead to new drugs that reduce the severity of blood infections leading to sepsis. Research presented in the August 2010 issue of Journal of Leukocyte Biology (http://www.jleukbio.org) shows how interfering with the function of the cell membrane protein called "Programmed Death 1" ...

Doctors not strongly encouraging HPV vaccine to girls of certain age

08/03/2010
The vast majority of pediatricians and family physicians nationally are offering the human papillomavirus (also called HPV) vaccine, though fewer physicians are strongly encouraging it for 11- to 12-year-old girls as recommended by national guidelines, according to a survey in the September issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American ...

HIV Components Drive Bone Breakdown, Even without Active Infection

08/03/2010
Although individuals who are HIV positive can now expect to live longer because of the availability of anti-retroviral drugs, this advance brings on new health challenges. It is estimated that the majority of the HIV-infected population of the United States will be older than 50 by 2015. The intersection of aging ...

Flour Investigated as E. coli Source

08/03/2010
If you test enough flour you can find some contaminated by the potentially deadly pathogen--E. coli O157:H7--but testing probably is not going to do much when it comes to making flour safe to eat. So concluded three speakers--Cargill's Joe Shebuski, Nestlé's Tim Jackson, and ConAgra's Ben Warren--who Monday addressed the International ...

Blue mozzarella bacteria not harmful to humans, said Germany

08/03/2010
The bacteria strain responsible for turning thousands mozzarella cheese blue blue earlier this summer does not pose a human health hazard, said German authorities. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) said the risk from the family of Pseudomonad bacteria that spoiled up to 70,000 mozzarella cheese balls was ...

Making Spider-Strength Materials

08/03/2010
Researchers have been trying to make artificial spider silk--a lightweight, tougher-than-steel material that could have countless industrial applications--for decades. In an important step toward that goal, researchers at Tufts University have created genetically engineered microbes that produce more of the proteins needed to make spider silk than ever before.

High-fiber, low-fat diets cultivate healthier intestinal microbes, study suggests

08/03/2010
African children who eat a high-fiber diet (and the occasional wood-digesting insect) have gut bacteria that help them digest plant fibers and protect them from diarrhea and inflammatory disease, a new study finds. The research may lead to new probiotics that improve the digestive health of Westerners, who were found ...

An Inactive Mine Provides Active Opportunities

08/03/2010
Elio Schaechter of Small Things Considered describes the work by members of Jill Banfield’s lab at Berkeley on a unique set of mine-dwelling microorganisms dubbed ARMAN (for Archaeal Richmond Mine Acidophilic Nanoorganisms). These microbes illustrate many surprising characteristics such as "their genomes straddle major evolutionary divides. Phylogenetically, they fit within ...

DuPont and USDA partner on new tests for E.coli

08/03/2010
DuPont and USDA will be developing a test for the detection of "Big 6" non-O157 shiga toxin-producing E. coli pathogens in food, which in recent years have been identified as agents of food-borne illnesses. The O157:H7 STEC strain of E. coli is already associated with global food contamination outbreaks. In ...

Tropical Fish and Bacterial Mat

08/03/2010
At East Diamante volcano (195 m, 640 ft depth), tropical fish swim above boulders covered with bacterial mat, which indicates the presence of hydrothermal venting. These fish live in the reef community above and are about 15 cm long (6 in).

Phytoplankton Population Drops 40 Percent Since 1950

07/31/2010
The microscopic plants that form the foundation of the ocean's food web are declining, reports a study published July 29 in Nature. The tiny organisms, known as phytoplankton, also gobble up carbon dioxide to produce half the world's oxygen output—equaling that of trees and plants on land. But their numbers have dwindled ...

Added to the Recall List: Millions of Frozen Mice

07/31/2010
Take mice from freezer. Thaw (but not in the microwave, please). Feed to pet snakes. And do not forget to wash your hands. That is the message from public health officials in the wake of salmonella outbreaks that have sickened more than 400 people, many of them snake owners or their ...

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Cowichan Valley Meat Market warn public not to consume pepperoni products

07/31/2010
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Cowichan Valley Meat Market are warning the public not to consume the pepperoni products described below because they may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum. Toxins produced by these bacteria may cause botulism, a life-threatening illness. The following pepperoni products, bearing PKGD. ON (packaged on) ...

Study finds respiratory symptoms more reliable indicator of H1N1, not fever alone

07/31/2010
New research shows that individuals with mild H1N1 infection may go undetected using standard diagnostic criteria, according to a study in the August issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, (APIC). The study concludes that coughing ...

Emerging E. coli strain causes many antimicrobial-resistant infections in US

07/31/2010
The new strain, ST131, was a major cause of serious antimicrobial-resistant E. coli infections in the United States in 2007, researchers found. This strain has been reported in multiple countries and encountered all over the United States. In the study, researchers analyzed resistant E. coli isolates collected during ...

Disinfectants in recreational pools may cause health issues

07/31/2010
Splashing around in a swimming pool on a hot summer day may not be as safe as you think. A recent University of Illinois study links the application of disinfectants in recreational pools to previously published adverse health outcomes such as asthma and bladder cancer. Each year, 339 million visits take ...

Event-based biosurveillance of respiratory disease in Mexico, 2007–2009: Connection to the 2009 influenza A(H1N1) pandemic?

07/31/2010
The emergence of the 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1) virus in North America and its subsequent global spread highlights the public health need for early warning of infectious disease outbreaks. Event-based biosurveillance, based on local- and regional-level Internet media reports, is one approach to early warning as well as to situational ...

Round up of the 2010 International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases

07/31/2010
Click the source link above for a report that outlines selected highlights of presentations that took place at the 2010 International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases (ICEID) [1], held between 11 and 14 July 2010 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia, United States (US). The conference was organized ...

Painting With Penicillin: Alexander Fleming's Germ Art

07/31/2010
In addition to working as a scientist, and well before his discovery of antibiotics, Alexander Fleming painted. He was a member of the Chelsea Arts Club, where he created amateurish watercolors. Less well known is that he also painted in another medium, living organisms. Fleming painted ballerinas, houses, soldiers, mothers ...

Researcher discovers existing drugs can potentially target TB's ability to spread

07/29/2010
Often causing no symptoms in carriers of the disease, worldwide tuberculosis (TB) infects eight to ten million people every year, kills two million, and it is highly contagious as it is spread through coughing and sneezing. "It's a global health disaster waiting to happen, even here in Canada, but this ...

Vaccine scares may do more harm than previously believed to a population's 'herd immunity'

07/29/2010
Public immunization efforts may be much more sensitive than previously realized to small changes in the perceived costs or risks of vaccination, scientists at Harvard University report this week. In some cases, the spread of vaccine avoidance via social networks can make the difference between a minor, localized outbreak and ...

Signaling and quorum sensing video

07/29/2010
Andrew Dopheide has created an animation that illustrates signaling and quorum sensing. "A solitary bacterium cannot form a biofilm by itself - it must wait until a group of bacteria has gathered. With no fingers to count on, how do bacteria know when there are enough others nearby? Bacteria are equipped ...

Super Scientist

07/29/2010
This video by YouTube user Monty4200 documents the work of Oklahoma State University microbiologist Marianna Patrauchan and how it inspired his song "Super Scientist."

An Interview with Moselio Schaechter, Editor-in-Chief of 'The Encyclopedia of Microbiology'

07/29/2010
A discussion with Professor Moselio Schaechter, Distinguished Professor, emeritus at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, about his book the Encyclopedia of Microbiology.

Progress and Promise in HIV/AIDS

07/29/2010
Antiretroviral therapy provides life-saving medicine to HIV-infected people but it is not a cure. Long-term exposure to the drugs and the virus itself shorten a person's life, even if they don't develop AIDS. Two HIV/AIDS Disease Teams led by scientists at UCLA and the City of Hope are focused on ...

Foodsafe video

07/29/2010
Food-handling safety risks at home are more common than you may think. The 4 easy lessons of this Be Foodsafe video are clean, separate, cook and chill.

What is TB? (not TV)

07/29/2010
In this BCCDC produced video children from John Filed Elementary School use posters to explain what they have learned about Tuberculosis (TB) infection and disease and how it can be cured. Gitxsan elders discuss their experience with Tuberculosis in the days of the Sanatoria

El Salvador issues flu epidemic alert

07/29/2010
Health authorities in El Salvador issued a flu epidemic alert, with an average of 14 000 cases a day, exceeding those of dengue fever. Health Minister Maria Isabel Rodriguez told local media that 11 of the 14 departments of the country are the worst affected by respiratory disease. According to Rodriguez, ...

A Global Metabolic Shift Is Linked to Salmonella Multicellular Development

07/29/2010
Bacteria can elaborate complex patterns of development that are dictated by temporally ordered patterns of gene expression, typically under the control of a master regulatory pathway. For some processes, such as biofilm development, regulators that initiate the process have been identified but subsequent phenotypic changes such as stress tolerance do ...

The Global Atlas of Helminth Infection: Mapping the Way Forward in Neglected Tropical Disease Control

07/29/2010
To take full advantage of recent increased financial commitments from some governments, international agencies, and philanthropies, accurate and up-to-date mapping of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) needs to be implemented to help improve the precision of decision-making in NTD control and elimination, says a new editorial, "The Global Atlas of Helminth ...

Spain researchers identify the bacteria arriving daily from the Sahara Desert

07/29/2010
Every day, millions of microorganisms reach Spain from the Sahara Desert and the Sahel region – by flying. Louis Pasteur demonstrated back in 1861 that germs can move through the air, but it was only recently discovered that bacteria, funguses and viruses can travel thousands of kilometers stuck onto dust ...

Microbiology in the Andes: Ancient and Unexpected

07/29/2010
Elio Schaechter of Small Things Considered highlights some of the scientific development that took place centuries ago in Quito, the present-day capital of Ecuador. Snippet: "In 1589 a smallpox epidemic killed 37.5% of Quito’s inhabitants. A description of the disease in a letter by one of the priests makes clear allusion to ...

A Giant Among Giants

07/27/2010
Merry Youle from the Small Things Considered blog ponders the potential size a virus can be: "With such fascinating stories being told by Mimivirus and the other giants, people are now looking for them in more environments. Modified techniques are called for, as those used previously to spot viruses may have ...

Socio-economic inequality and infectious disease - a public health priority

07/09/2010
An editorial in Eurosurveillance looks at social determinants of infectious diseases in the EU: "Vulnerable groups are disproportionately affected by infectious diseases in every European Union (EU) Member State [1]. The level and distribution of wealth within a society plays a significant role in determining vulnerabilities to communicable diseases. A clear ...

Comments on the “Synthetic Cell”

07/09/2010
"The now famous announcement by the Venter group is based on their paper in Science entitled Creation of a Bacterial Cell Controlled by a Chemically Synthesized Genome. We applaud this work for its impressive technical achievement and we acknowledge its future potential. However, we find the term “creation” to be ...

Claire Fraser-Liggett on “Complex microbial communities: We’re not in Kansas anymore”

07/07/2010
Claire Fraser-Liggett, Director of the Institute for Genome Sciences and professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, gives the June 2, 2010 keynote at the "Sequencing, Finishing, Analysis in the Future" meeting in Santa Fe, NM.

H1N1 situation grave in 5 India states

07/07/2010
The swine flu situation continues to be serious in four of India's southern states and the western state of Maharashtra, which have reported 366 of the 370 H1N1 infections in the last week, official figures show. Kerala remains the worst affected state with 222 confirmed reports of swine flu. A rise ...

Deadly Plague Found in Burma

07/07/2010
An unspecified number of Rangoon residents have been diagnosed with plague, a contagious disease primarily transmitted by rodents (mostly rats), according to the Burmese Ministry of Health (MOH) in Naypyidaw. An epidemiologist at MOH who asked to remain anonymous told The Irrawaddy that some people infected with plague were found in ...

The majority of fevers in African children are not caused by malaria

07/07/2010
In 2007, an estimated 656 million fevers occurred in African children aged 0-4 years, with 78 million children of the 183 million attending a public health care facility likely to have been infected with P. falciparum (range 60-103 million), the parasite that causes the most dangerous form of malaria. These ...

Jeffrey Way on producing sugar from cyanobacteria

07/07/2010
Wyss researchers have engineered photosynthetic bacteria to produce simple sugars and lactic acid, an innovation that could lead to new, environmentally friendly methods for producing commodity chemicals in bulk. Because the production methods use photosynthesis -- the process by which living things are assembled using only CO2 and sunlight -- ...

The Sea Slug's Guide to Plastid Adoption

07/07/2010
Having an intimate relationship with photosynthetic microbes is a widespread strategy adopted by numerous unicellular and multicellular organisms. Some eschew a committed relationship, and simply nab the plastids, sequestering them inside vacuoles where they continue to photosynthesize for a while. Previously we reported on a ciliate that captures the ...

Wallabies and bats harbor 'fossil' genes from the most deadly family of human viruses

07/03/2010
Modern marsupials may be popular animals at the zoo and in children's books, but new findings by University at Buffalo biologists reveal that they harbor a "fossil" copy of a gene that codes for filoviruses, which cause Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fevers and are the most lethal viruses known to ...

Sewage raises West Nile virus risk

07/02/2010
Sewage that overflows into urban creeks and streams during periods of heavy rain can promote the spread of West Nile Virus, an Emory study finds. The analysis of six years of data showed that people living near creeks with sewage overflows in lower-income neighborhoods of Southeast Atlanta had a seven times ...

2-Billion-Year-Old Fossils May Be Earliest Known Multicellular Life

07/01/2010
A newly discovered group of 2.1-billion-year-old fossil organisms may be the earliest known example of complex life on Earth. They could help scientists understand not just when higher life forms evolved, but why. The fossils — flat discs almost 5 inches across, with scalloped edges and radial slits — were either ...

The Application of Standards to the NIH Roadmap Human Microbiome Project

07/01/2010
Barbara Methe, Professor in the Departments of Human Genome Medicine and Microbial and Environmental Genomics at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), gives an overview of the Human Microbiome Project at the 9th Genomic Standards Consortium Workshop held at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, MD, on April 28-30, ...

Intelligence Averages Linked To Regional Infectious Disease Burden

07/01/2010
Over the years, people have put forth a lot of theories to explain why intelligence differs, from person to person and even around the world. Health, wealth, schooling, nutrition, and even climate have all come up. Now, researchers at the University of New Mexico suggest that parasites might play a ...

The E.P.A. on Dispersants: Cure Is Not Worse Than the Disease

07/01/2010
Initial tests of Corexit, the oil dispersant that BP is using in the Gulf of Mexico, and of competing products finds that the dispersants range from “practically nontoxic’’ to “slightly toxic,’’ the Environmental Protection Agency says. In a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon, Paul Anastas, the agency’s assistant administrator for ...

Stem-cell therapy may provide new approach to fight infection

07/01/2010
A new study shows that treatment with mesenchymal stem cells can triple survival rates in mice with sepsis, a deadly condition that can occur when an infection spreads throughout the body. The treatment reduced the damaging effects of inflammation and increased the body's ability to clear the infection. Mesenchymal stem ...

Lack of sufficient iron may be a significant factor in controlling massive algae blooms

07/01/2010
Lack of sufficient iron may be a significant factor in controlling massive blooms of Emiliania huxleyi, a globally important species of marine algae or phytoplankton, according to research led by researchers at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton. Emiliania huxleyi is a species of coccolithophore found in oceans all around ...

Listening to Bacteria - Bonnie Bassler

06/30/2010
As Princeton microbiologist Bonnie Bassler assumes the presidency of the American Society of Microbiology, Natalie Angier of Smithsonian Magazine has written up a lengthy biographical piece on Bassler's career as a scientist and her focus on bacterial communication. Here's a snippet from the article: "If you think bacteria, you probably think disease, ...

Missouri VA hospital may have infected 1,800 veterans with HIV, hepatitis

06/30/2010
A Missouri VA hospital is under fire because it may have exposed more than 1,800 veterans to life-threatening diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis has recently mailed letters to 1,812 veterans telling them they could contract hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency ...

Microbiologist Ron Atlas on Bioremediation in the Gulf at #TEDxOilSpill

06/30/2010
Dr. Ron Atlas, a microbiologist at the University of Louisville and past president of the American Society for Microbiology, shares his experience with the Exxon Valdez clean up at the recent TEDx Oil Spill conference in Washington, D.C. Dr. Atlas' presentation starts at 22 min in. (Use the video timeline ...

Honey as an antibiotic: Scientists identify a secret ingredient in honey that kills bacteria

06/30/2010
New research published in the July 2010 print edition of the FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) explains for the first time how honey kills bacteria. Specifically, the research shows that bees make a protein that they add to the honey, called defensin-1, which could one day be used to treat burns and ...

Indoor Mold Growth Is Influenced More by Location Than Building Type

06/30/2010
In the first-ever global survey of indoor fungi scientists report that geography rather than building design and function has the greatest effect on the fungal species likely to be found indoors. The study suggests that the types of mold and other fungi most likely to be found in a dwelling ...

H1N1 deaths increase in India after onset of monsoon

06/30/2010
Swine flu deaths continued their upwards surge since the onset of monsoon with 17 fatalities reported due to the disease in India since June 21, the maximum of which were from Kerala and Maharashtra. Both the states reported seven deaths each while Andhra Pradesh reported two and Uttar Pradesh one, health ...

NYU-Poly Professor Proposes Plan to Optimize Biosurfactants to Aid Gulf Cleanup

06/30/2010
What if cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico wasn’t a matter of choosing between harsh chemical dispersants, labor-intensive skimming and potentially dangerous burns? Dr. Richard Gross, professor of chemical and biological science and Herman F. Mark chair at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly), claims nature has already ...

Algae and Diatoms

06/29/2010
This image by Dr. Arlene Wechezak, Anacortes, Washington, United States, won 10th place in Nikon's 2009 Small World microscopy competition. Nikon's Small World Twitter feed (@NikonSmallWorld) is currently showcasing algae and larvae that are in danger in the Gulf oil spill.

Paul Stamets - 6 ways mushrooms can save the world

06/29/2010
Mycologist Paul Stamets lists 6 ways that the mycelium fungus can help save the world.

TED - 7 oil crisis views, from comic to tragic

06/29/2010
A round up of yesterday's Tedx Oil Spill conference in DC, highlights University of Louisville microbiologist Ron Atlas' experience with using fertilizers to spur the growth of oil-consuming microbes in the Exxon Valdez spill.

Trichanella spiralis

06/29/2010
Click source to view an animated clip about Trichanella spiralis from Animal Planet's Monsters inside Me program.

Measles outbreak in Zambia expanding

06/29/2010
Zambia has recorded one thousand six hundred cases of measles from the time the disease broke out a week ago. The Director of Public Health and Research at the Ministry of Health Victor Mukonka disclosed this in an interview with ZNBC over the weekend.Dr Mukonka however claimed that the disease ...

Despite countless changes, original HIV infection lurks within

06/29/2010
Scientists have been surprised to learn that, despite thousands of changes that viruses like HIV undergo in rapid fashion to evade the body's immune system, the original version that caused the infection is still present in the body months later. The finding, published in the June issue of the Journal of ...

DOE drops $24 million to spur commercialization of algae-based biofuels

06/29/2010
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today the investment of up to $24 million for three research groups to tackle key hurdles in the commercialization of algae-based biofuels. The selections will support the development of a clean, sustainable transportation sector—a goal of the Department's continued effort to spur the ...

Virus 'explorers' probe inner workings of the brain

06/29/2010
Lynn Enquist, a professor in Princeton's Department of Molecular Biology and in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, is leading an effort to use genetically engineered viruses as explorers that travel throughout the nervous system, tracing the connections between neurons and reporting on their activity along the way. "Over the years, the understanding ...

Curbing Domestic Violence Key to Reducing HIV Infection Among South African Women

06/29/2010
Women in South Africa who are victims of domestic violence are more likely to become infected with HIV compared to women who do not experience such behavior, according to a study published June 16, 2010 in The Lancet'‘s Online First. Nearly one in seven new HIV infections could be prevented if ...

Chi - A Fastidious Bacteriophage

06/29/2010
Michael Yarmolinsky, Scientist Emeritus in the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, NIH, explores how the virulent, double-stranded DNA phage called Chi attacks only motile strains of bacteria. Click source for more.

The Exxon Valdez and Bioremediation

06/25/2010
As we hear more and more news about the environmental disaster currently underway in the Gulf, there has been much talk about how microbes can be utilized to biodegrade the oil. In this 7 minute video posted on YouTube we see how scientists successfully implemented a bioremediation plan during the ...

Online registration is now open for the 3rd ASM Conference on Enterococci

06/21/2010
Online registration for the 3rd ASM Conference on Enterococci, July 30 - August 2, 2010, in Portland, Oregon, is now open. Session topics include: *Genomics and Molecular Biology *Pathogenicity *Antibiotic Therapy and Resistance *Bacteriocins *Plasmids and Horizontal Transfer *Epidemiology and Food Connections *Biofilms Principal Organizer: Dr. Don Clewell University of Michigan Co-organizers: Dr. Michael Gilmore Harvard Medical School Dr. Yasuyoshi Ike Gunma University Medical ...

Uncovering Beauty in Proteins to Fight the Pneumococcal Fratricides

06/15/2010
From time to time, we dip into the microbiology blog by César Sánchez, Twisted Bacteria, and, with his permission, "borrow" a post such as this one about pneumonia and pneumococci, fratricide at the cellular level, and a pretty protein. And there's a video too! Snippet: "A few days ago I was happy ...

Gulf oil spill could widen, worsen ‘dead zone’

06/10/2010
While an out-of-control gusher deep in the Gulf of Mexico fouls beaches and chokes marshland habitat, another threat could be growing below the oil-slicked surface. The nation’s worst oil spill could worsen and expand the oxygen-starved region of the Gulf labeled “the dead zone” for its inhospitability to marine life, suggests ...

Highlights from a scientific conference, observed via Twitter - #asmgm

06/08/2010
Science blogger Cesar Sanchez of the site Twisted Bacteria (twistedbacteria.blogspot.com) reviews the American Society for Microbiology's use of social media during their general meeting and also highlights several tweets coming from attendees: "Lots of conferences and meetings on science-related topics are held every year, all over the world. Many of them ...

Seth Berkley: HIV and flu - the vaccine strategy

06/06/2010
Seth Berkley explains how smart advances in vaccine design, production and distribution are bringing us closer than ever to eliminating a host of global threats -- from AIDS to malaria to flu pandemics.

Dr. Kiki's Science Hour with Stan Maloy - The Bugs Among Us

06/06/2010
Synthetic life, oil eating bacteria, and news from the annual American Society of Microbiologists General Meeting in San Diego. Guest: Dr. Stanley Maloy, associate director of the Center for Microbial Sciences and Dean of the College of Science at San Diego State University {mp3remote}http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/twit.cachefly.net/dksh0049.mp3{/mp3remote}

Twitter tag cloud from #ASMGM

06/04/2010
Science blogger Cesar Sanchez of the site Twisted Bacteria (twistedbacteria.blogspot.com) created the above word cloud that was generated from approximately 1200 tweets that appeared on Twitter during the American Society for Microbiology's 2010 General Meeting in San Diego, May 23-27. This image provides a nice overview of the ...

Craig Venter announces synthetic life

06/04/2010
This TED video captures Caig Venter's official announcement that his team created the first fully functioning, reproducing cell controlled by synthetic DNA. He explains how they did it and why the achievement marks the beginning of a new era for science.

Caltech Biologists Provide Molecular Explanation for the Evolution of Tamiflu Resistance

06/03/2010
Biologists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have pinpointed molecular changes that helped allow the global spread of resistance to the antiviral medication Tamiflu (oseltamivir) among strains of the seasonal H1N1 flu virus. The study—led by David Baltimore, Caltech's Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology and recipient of the ...

What's next for synthetic life?

06/03/2010
J. Craig Venter and his colleagues recently announced that they had created the first cell to run on a fully artificial genome. So what's next for this synthetic strain of microscopic Mycoplasma mycoides and the new technology? The "synthetic cell" achievement has been lauded, condemned and undercut, but it has yet ...

Promiscuous Bacteria and Viral Playboys

06/02/2010
Bacteria have been sexually promiscuous, swapping genes with gusto, for a very long time. More than 15% of E. coli's genome has arrived via horizontal gene transfer (HGT), with some 200 installments having turned up since it diverged from Salmonella 100 million years ago. And, as you are probably thinking, ...

Gold nanorods deliver antiviral punch

05/29/2010
Future pandemics of seasonal flu, H1N1 and other drug-resistant viruses may be thwarted by a potent, immune-boosting payload that is effectively delivered to cells by gold nanorods, report scientists at the University at Buffalo and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Via Futurity.org

ASM's Social Media Presence (PowerPoint Presentation) #ASMGM 2010

05/24/2010
Click "source" to download a PowerPoint presentation on ASM's social media presence that I gave at the ASM General Meeting in San Diego on May 24, 2010. The slides highlight ASM's own social media sites and activities as well as where ASM posts information and updates to third party sites, such ...

The Good, the Bad and the Virulent

05/21/2010
These YouTube videos were created by a group of microbiology students in Spring 2010. It is a spoof of the famous Clint Eastwood movie. Part 2 {youtube}UFEKg4EGU7I{/youtube}

US oil spill explained ~ Microbiology & Bacteria

05/21/2010
13-year-old Jonathan Lee asked scientists about the possible after effects from the Gulf oil spill. He wants to learn what could happen and share that information with others in an effort to help with the cleanup.

What is a Pathologist?

05/21/2010
A general video from the The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia featuring microbiologist Sally Roberts.

Bioinformatics Insight (Video)

05/21/2010
Introduction to bioinformatics with Dr. Steve Jones, Head, Bioinformatics, Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer Agency.

Everyone Rowing in the Same Direction

05/21/2010
Is there such a thing as an obligatorily multicellular prokaryote? Merry Youle of the Small Things Considered blog reviews a recent paper published in the May issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology that announces the finding of a new subgroup within magnetotactic multicellular prokaryotes. "These new critters have a similar ...

Venter announces first functional bacterial cells controlled by a synthetic genome

05/20/2010
A team of J. Craig Venter Institute researchers reported online today in Science that they have successfully created the first functional bacterial cells controlled by a synthetic genome. The researchers amalgamated several of their previously reported approaches for the study, which involved creating a synthetic Mycoplasma mycoides genome called JCVI-syn1.0 and ...

We are what we eat

05/18/2010
Karen Schwarzberg and Mike Gurney, students in the Spring 2010 graduate course in Integrative Microbiology at the University of California at San Diego/San Diego State University Joint Doctoral Program, consider the implications of a paper recently published in Nature by Hehemann et al., that studied the impact on the microbial ...

Genomic Sequencing of Single Bacterial Cells

05/16/2010
Tanja Woyke from the DOE JGI on the "Genomic Sequencing of Single Bacterial Cells" on March 26, 2010 at the 5th Annual DOE JGI User Meeting.

Taq Polymerase and the PCR

05/16/2010
Morehouse College Biology students Rob Williams and Tony Gibson present on the process of Taq production and the polymerase chain reaction.

Interview with Tom Shenk about mBio, ASM's new open access journal

05/15/2010
Tom Shenk is not only ASM’s Publications Board Chairman and a Princeton Professor, he’s also an instigator and a mastermind (in the well-intentioned and insightful senses of the words). After all, he was one of the original forces behind starting up mBio and his ideas and work continue to drive ...

Viral Turtles

05/13/2010
A double stranded RNA (dsRNA) viral genome, introduced into a host cell, is met by formidable host defenses. The very presence of dsRNA in a eukaryotic or prokaryotic cell announces a viral infection and elicits effective responses, ranging from silencing of the viral mRNAs to apoptosis. Despite that, there are ...

UW suspends scientist over unauthorized experiment

05/12/2010
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has revoked a scientist's laboratory privileges for five years and paid a $40,000 sanction over unauthorized experiments involving Brucella, a bacterium that can infect cattle and humans and is highly regulated by the federal government.

Bacteria Can Treat Gulf Spill, Firm Says

05/12/2010
Trillions of bacteria might help clean up the Gulf oil spill, a specialized company reports. Osprey Biotechnics, Inc., a pioneer in breeding beneficial bacteria, says it estimates that 55 gallons of the product it calls Munox would treat 36.5 square miles of Gulf waters. Slightly more than 100 55-gallon drums would ...

Stopping E. coli in its tracks

05/12/2010
Microbiologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center, working with the Department of Agriculture, have identified a potential target in cattle that could be exploited to help prevent outbreaks of food-borne illnesses caused by a nasty strain of Escherichia coli. In the study, available online and in an upcoming issue of the Proceedings ...

Does Washing Lettuce Get Rid of Bacteria?

05/12/2010
As the recall of tainted romaine lettuce expands, many plates could be devoid of the crisp veggie in an effort to stay healthy. That might be a good idea, according to experts who say that washing produce, even very carefully, may not remove all the bacteria present.

New plastic-like materials may say 'shhhh' to microbial communication

05/12/2010
Scientists are reporting success in a first attempt to silence the biochemical conversations that disease-causing bacteria use to marshal their forces and cause infections. In a study in ACS' monthly journal, Biomacromolecules, they describe use of specially designed plastic-like materials to soak up the substances that bacteria produce and pass ...

How microbes can play a role in the clean up of the Deepwater Horizons wellhead spill

05/12/2010
With an oil spill onslaught headed for Gulf shores, you might wonder — whatever happened to those laboratory miracle oil-eating microbes for an instant clean-up? "They don't exist," says microbiologist Ronald Atlas of the University of Louisville. "They only work in a lab flask. They have never been shown to work ...

A Biologist's Mother's Day Song

05/12/2010
Here's a great mother's day song from a biologist's perspective. Musically it is similar to a They Might Be Giants song. Enjoy.

New study will investigate the effects of microgravity on the formation of biofilms

05/10/2010
A team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will send an army of microorganisms into space this week, to investigate new ways of preventing the formation and spread of biofilms, or clusters of bacteria, that could pose a threat to the health of astronauts. The Micro-2 experiment, led by Cynthia Collins, ...

Directing immune traffic - signposts to the lung

05/10/2010
Inducing cellular immunity as a means to protect against influenza virus is the focus of several laboratories at the Trudeau Institute. Researchers have recently identified two important signaling components required by the immune system that might allow us to pre-position our own virus-fighting T cells to the lungs, the site ...

Biowarfare on Afghanistan's Poppy Fields?

05/10/2010
Some Afghan farmers are blaming British and American soldiers for spraying the crops with the disease. Officials have denied involvement. Jean-Luc Lemahieu, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Afghanistan (UNODC), said that plant samples were currently being tested to confirm whether the origins of the disease are ...

Indonesia: Avian flu infects two, kills one

05/07/2010
The Indonesian government has confirmed two positive cases of avian influenza (H5N1) infection between February and April this year, killing one of them. The first case caused the death of a four-year old girl from the Riau capital of Pekanbaru She tested positive for the H5N1 on April 28 and after ...

Infection with Mayaro virus in a French traveller returning from the Amazon region, Brazil

05/07/2010
Mayaro virus (MAYV) disease is a mosquitoborne zoonosis endemic in humid forests of tropical South America. MAYV is closely related to other alphaviruses that produce a dengue-like illness accompanied by long-lasting arthralgia. A French tourist developed high-grade fever and severe joint manifestations following a 15 day trip in the Amazon ...

Biological means to help control cassava diseases

05/07/2010
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has announced a new project that will enable the use of biological means to control Bemisia tabaci whitefly that has ruined cassava production. The whiteflies, which are driving a dual viral epidemic including cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and cassava brown streak disease (CBSD), ...

Outer layer of ‘crust’ keeps bacterial spores secure

05/07/2010
Bacterial spores, the most resistant organisms on earth, carry an extra coating of protection previously undetected. The finding could shed light on why spores of the bacteria that cause botulism, tetanus, and anthrax survive methods to eradicate them.
05/07/2010
Call them bridging individuals or critical connectors, but in social networks they’re the ones who drive the flow of information from one network to another. Now researchers have figured out a way to identify them. The researchers also believe the same holds true for communities, where bridging individuals tend to influence ...

Platypus could hold the key to beating drug-resistant superbugs

05/07/2010
The humble platypus could hold the key to beating drug-resistant superbugs and help battle climate change, Australian scientists have discovered. Researchers at Victoria’s Department of Primary Industries are the first in the world to isolate, synthesize and test a number of platypus proteins. They discovered several new antimicrobials, which are substances similar ...

Banking on Fuel-Sweating Flora

05/05/2010
A start-up company has broken ground on a Texas pilot plant that is supposed to produce ethanol and diesel in a radical new way: with an organism that sweats fuel.

Comparing Linux to E.coli's transcriptional regulatory network

05/05/2010
Here's an interesting blog post that compares E.coli's transcriptional regulatory network to Linux: "We refer to DNA as “the book of life”; some geeks refer to it as the “operating system of life”. Just like in a computer’s operating system, DNA contains all the instructions on how to “execute” life and ...

Stripe rust in wheat streaking across Texas

05/04/2010
The results are not finalized, but Texas AgriLife Extension Service wheat specialists and Texas AgriLife Research wheat breeders believe the crop is being damaged this year by a new or different race of stripe rust. Because this winter and early spring were cooler and wetter than normal, conditions were prime for ...

The Transmission Dynamics of Tuberculosis in a Recently Developed Chinese City

05/04/2010
Hong Kong is an affluent subtropical city with a well-developed healthcare infrastructure but an intermediate TB burden. Declines in notification rates through the 1960s and 1970s have slowed since the 1980s to the current level of around 82 cases per 100 000 population. We studied the transmission dynamics of TB ...

Aphids Pilfered Red Genes from Fungus

05/04/2010
Aphids can be a gardener’s nightmare. But they may be an evolutionary biologist’s dream. Because they’re pioneers in the history of life on Earth. For one thing, they’re now the only known animals to produce the chemical pigments called carotenoids, which help in cell repair and immunity. It’s the same ...

Getting the Bugs Out to Produce New Fuel

05/04/2010
The Geobacter bacterium could be the biofuel-generating machine of the future, producing energy-rich butanol costing as little as $2 per gallon. A project seeking to accomplish this, headed by Derek Lovley and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst , received $1 million in funding today from the Department of Energy's ...

President Bill Clinton and South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to join 25,000 scientists, people living with HIV, and other stakeholders at XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna

05/04/2010
Organizers of the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010) announced today that President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States, and South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi will be among 19 high-level speakers who will address an estimated 25,000 conference attendees ...

New HIV model suggests killer T cell for vaccine

05/04/2010
A new improved modeling system, developed by Chinese researchers, which attempts to incorporate more of the virus’ random behavioral dynamics, suggests that a particular type of T cell could be useful in the development of an AIDS vaccine. New research published in New Journal of Physics (co-owned by the Institute of ...

Mysteries of the Bacterial L-Form: Can Some of Them Be Unveiled?

05/04/2010
Hans Martin, professor emeritus, Technical University Darmstadt, Germany, reflects on the mysteries of L-forms, strains of bacteria that lack cell walls. Snippet: "L-forms are bacterial variants with defective cell walls and irregular growth and multiplication. They arise after peptidoglycan, the exoskeleton of the bacterial cell wall, has been either degraded by bacteriolytic ...

UCLA researchers use new microscope to 'see' atoms for first time

05/04/2010
The researchers used cryo-electron microscopy to image a virus structure at a resolution high enough to effectively "see" atoms, the first published instance of a virus image at such a resolution.

Mosquitoes inherit DEET resistance

05/04/2010
The indifference of some mosquitoes to a common insect repellent is due to an easily inherited genetic trait that can be rapidly evolved by later generations, a new study suggests. By selective breeding, James Logan and colleagues at Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, UK, created strains of Aedes aegyptimosquitoes in which half ...

Fighting fungal infections with bacteria

05/04/2010
A bacterial pathogen can communicate with yeast to block the development of drug-resistant yeast infections, say Irish scientists writing in the May issue of Microbiology. The research could be a step towards new strategies to prevent hospital-acquired infections associated with medical implants.

Disease caused by insect bites can be transmitted to children at birth

05/04/2010
A North Carolina State University researcher has discovered that bacteria transmitted by fleas -- and potentially ticks -- can be passed to human babies by the mother, causing chronic infections and raising the possibility of bacterially induced birth defects.

Capitol Hill briefing to focus on Denmark's ban on routine antibiotic use in food animal production

05/04/2010
On May 4, the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, in collaboration with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Representative Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) and Representative Howard Berman (D-Calif.), will host Capitol Hill briefings on Denmark’s experience in ending the routine use of antibiotics in healthy food animals.

Probiotics - Big Sales Precede the Science

05/03/2010
Experts say there's good evidence that probiotics can help people with irritable bowel, diarrhea, and urinary tract infections and emerging research suggests that probiotics may ease symptoms of allergies (both food and respiratory) and boost the immune system. But as often happens in the United States, big sales precede the science. ...

Bakers Obsess Over Pedigree of Yeasty 'Starters'

05/03/2010
The Wall Street Journal has an amusing article out on bakers and their relationship with "starters." "Happy is no ordinary pet. He is a sourdough "starter"—a blob of wet flour, colonized by yeast and bacteria—that lives on her kitchen counter. Home bakers increasingly are using starters, which bring more nuance ...

Gut microbes are talking. Is your body listening?

04/30/2010
Biologists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have found that an altered host–microbe relationship, called dysbiosis, may be linked to inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer as well as to obesity and diabetes. Close to a thousand different species of bacteria reside in the gut, which makes understanding the ...

Modifying Viruses to Kill Cancer

04/30/2010
Researchers have found a way to modify viruses so they are able to hunt down and wipe out cancer cells. Scientists at the University of Leeds used unique markers that appear on the surface of cancer cells to engineer proteins that recognize and attach to these markers, that can be added ...

Combination antibiotics effective against chlamydia-induced arthritis

04/30/2010
Combination antibiotics effectively treat Chlamydia-induced reactive arthritis – a major step toward management, and possibly cure, of this disease, a federal multicenter clinical trial led by the University of South Florida College of Medicine found. The trial, sponsored by the National Institute of Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, is reported in the ...

Martian Gypsum May Preserve Microbe Fossils

04/30/2010
Life on Mars, if it ever existed, may be easier to find than previously thought. New research on terrestrial rocks suggests that a type of rock common on Mars can preserve fossilized microbial life, rather than erasing evidence of it as previously thought.

Development of an HIV-1 Specific Microbicide Using Caulobacter crescentus

04/30/2010
A recent paper published in PLoS One looks at the strategy of manipulating surface proteins on the aquatic bacterium, Caulobacter crescentus, to prevent HIV infection. Abstract: The development of alternative strategies to prevent HIV infection is a global public health priority. Initial efforts in anti-HIV microbicide development have met with poor success ...

Australia suspends flu shots for children under five.

04/28/2010
Dozens of babies and young children, mostly in Western Australia and Queensland, have suffered adverse reactions after having the flu shot, including fevers and convulsions. And the Queensland Coroner is investigating the death of a two-year-old Brisbane girl, found dead in her cot a day after she and her twin sister ...

Hawaii finds 10 rare Salmonella cases linked to frozen ahi tuna, 5 other states also reporting infections

04/28/2010
Ten people on Oahu recently became ill with a rare type of salmonella after eating imported raw ahi tuna that was previously frozen, state health officials reported. The salmonella Paratyphi B cases occurred between Feb. 27 and April 6 in people ranging in age from 5 to 35, said Janice Okubo, ...

First genome sequencing of identical twins uncovers little about the origins of disease

04/28/2010
The first whole genome sequencing of a pair of identical twins has uncovered little about the origins of disease - even though only one twin has multiple sclerosis (MS). Identical twins inherit identical genomes but are exposed to different environmental influences. That means they can be enormously valuable in teasing apart ...

Eukaryotic phytoplankton is now believed to account for almost 50 percent of the ocean’s carbon fixation

04/28/2010
"Almost half of the ocean’s carbon fixation is done by eukaryotic phytoplankton, despite the fact that their presence is significantly less than the more abundant blue-green algae known as cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria, that grow in vast numbers in the sunlit surface waters of the oceans (the photic zone), use sunlight to ...

Superbug - Journalist Maryn McKenna discusses MRSA

04/28/2010
Maryn McKenna, a contributing writer for the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and media fellow at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, discusses MRSA in this promotional video for her new book "Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA."  

Microbe gold: Arizona State researcher investigates where oil comes from

04/28/2010
While most of the dead material in the ocean is recycled by bacteria, lipids are tough, fat-like molecules that "tend to be the least desirable to eat," says Everett Shock, a biogeochemist at Arizona State University. They generally get passed up and fall to the seafloor, where they become buried ...

Bio-lab on a microchip

04/28/2010
Drugs alone can't stop disease in sub-Saharan Africa: We need diagnostic tools to match. TED Senior Fellow Frederick Balagadde shows how we can multiply the power and availability of an unwieldy, expensive diagnostic lab -- by miniaturizing it to the size of a chip.

Disrupting Cellular Communication - James Cameron style

04/27/2010
Students at Rutgers University-Camden created this mash-up of Avatar with the focus of their Spring 2010 term paper for their General Microbiology class.

Design and Testing of Protein Combinatorial Libraries

04/27/2010
In this video Stephen L. Mayo, Bren Professor of Biology and Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, discusses the challenges of designing new proteins that fold into a particular structure or perform a particular function. One method is to computationally design a protein based solely upon our knowledge of amino acids ...

Genetics researcher Francisco Ayala discusses his life, his work and creationism

04/27/2010
Evolutionary geneticist Francisco Ayala wasn't always attracted to life in the laboratory. As a young man in Spain, Ayala was ordained as a Dominican priest. Within a year, though, he gave up it up to study genetics at Columbia University. Since then, Ayala's research has focused on parasitic protozoans, tiny ...

Sugar cane industry in Mexico threatened by Orange Rust

04/27/2010
Mexico's National Service for Plant Health, Safety and Agri-Food Quality (SENASICA) has confirmed the presence of orange rust of sugar cane in the Municipalities of Villacomaltitlan, Tuzantan, Huehuetan, Mazatan y Huixtla, State of Chiapas; in Othon P. Blanco, State of Quintana Roo and in Ursulo Galvan, State of Veracruz. The Plant ...

White nose syndrome detected in several of Québec's bat populations

04/27/2010
The Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) has recently detected the presence of white-nose syndrome (WNS) in certain bat populations in Québec. This infection, although potentially fatal for bats, does not pose a threat to humans, since to date no human infection connected to the syndrome has ...

Chew on this: Cactus gum for water purification

04/27/2010
The best way to purify water could be hiding in a cactus. It turns out that an extract from the prickly pear cactus is effective at removing sediment and bacteria from dirty water. Many water purification methods introduced into the developing world are quickly abandoned as people don't know how to ...
04/27/2010
Showcasing its energy research initiatives for an Earth Day event on April 22 at the Pentagon, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) highlighted the microbial fuel cell, a device that could revolutionize naval energy use by converting decomposed marine organisms into electricity. These fuel cells convert naturally occurring fuels and oxidants ...

Genetically engineering E.coli to produce proteins

04/27/2010
For the first time researchers at Texas A&M University have successfully incorporated two different noncanonical amino acids into a single protein in E. coli bacteria. The discovery means that bacteria could soon be genetically engineered to produce proteins that have been modified with various characteristics of interest for researchers, says Wenshe ...

The Healing Blade - a role-playing fantasy game based on infectious disease

04/27/2010
Two physicians, Dr. Arun Mathews and Dr. Francis Kong, have produced a role-playing fantasy game called, "The Healing Blade." Similar to "Pokemon," "Yu-Gi-Oh" or "Magic: The Gathering," the game is built around a fantasy world, complete with sorcerers, villains and heroines. Characters are divided into The Apothecary Healers, named after ...
04/27/2010
Carl Zimmer describes how Ed Marcotte at the University of Texas at Austin and his search for therapies that can kill tumors by restricting blood vessel growth found the genes potential new drugs can target in yeast. "The scientists took advantage of a peculiar feature of our evolutionary history. In ...

True or False: All Metazoans Need O2

04/27/2010
Elio Schaechter of Small Things Considered ponders a recent discovery that small multicellular animals, members of the Loricifera and metazoa groups, are able to survive in an anoxic environment known as L’Atalante Basin, a brine “lake” at the bottom of the Mediterranean. "Life without air—a term coined by Louis Pasteur, the ...

The e.coli threat lurking in a free dab of lipstick

04/25/2010
Women are putting their health at risk by dabbing on lipstick, moisturiser and mascara from cosmetics tester packs at high street beauty counters. In a recent study, researchers found that every make-up tester pack they analyzed was contaminated by the e.coli bug. The two-year investigation found the highest levels of bacteria were ...

Possible shigella outbreak in Kansas City

04/25/2010
The Kansas City Health Department is warning the public about a possible outbreak of shigella infections. Shigella is a highly-contagious bacterial infection spread from person to person, through handshaking, orally, or even through food or water. It is most commonly transmitted among children with poor hygiene. In some strains, 10-15% of infected ...

Virginia Tech Research Team Sequences Genome of Bacterium Discovered in College Garden

04/25/2010
Under the supervision of a Virginia Tech plant pathologist, a group of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students isolated and characterized a formerly unknown group of bacteria. The bacteria strain belongs to the plant pathogen species Pseudomonas syringae. One bacterium of this group, strain 642, was isolated at the Hahn Horticulture ...

NASA official battles the microbes of space travel

04/25/2010
Here's a brief biography on Catharine Conley, NASA's planetary protection officer, that looks at what her job entails: "Her job is as serious as a NASA post can be. In addition to protecting potential extraterrestrial life and monitoring for contamination on trips back to Earth, the protection office oversees protocols that ...

Beer consumption increases human attractiveness to malaria mosquitoes

04/25/2010
A recent paper published in PLoS One looks at the relationship between alcohol consumption and Anopheles gambiae (the primary African malaria vector). BACKGROUND: Malaria and alcohol consumption both represent major public health problems. Alcohol consumption is rising in developing countries and, as efforts to manage malaria are expanded, understanding the links between ...

The Attendee's Guide to Scientific Meetings, Part II

04/23/2010
In December of last year, Julian Davies, Professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia and a Fellow of the Royal Society, authored an amusing post that essentially provides helpful tips on how to successfully navigate a cocktail party at a scientific meeting.Today, in advance of the American ...

Biotech Revolution (BBC Four)

04/20/2010
Theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku looks at the revolution in genetics and biotechnology, which promises unprecedented health and longevity but also raises fears of a future where we can genetically engineer people. The documwentary asks will we, as transhumanists expect, evolve into a new species? {youtube}Vihla-2CJ4I{/youtube} {youtube}CMlvtuDR8D8{/youtube} {youtube}aN4sHaSpMRg{/youtube} {youtube}ntRbsxZE5Jk{/youtube} {youtube}xBvTMW-3-m8{/youtube}

House Bill Proposes a Federal Open-Access Policy

04/19/2010
Congressman Mike Doyle (D – Penn.) has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would require that the results from nearly all publicly-funded research be made available online within six months after they are published in a peer-reviewed journal. The Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) of 2010 (H.R. ...

Jay Keasling -Engineering Microbes to Produce Fuels

04/19/2010
Jay Keasling, CEO of the Joint BioEnergy Institute, delivers the opening keynote on March 24, 2010 at the 5th Annual DOE JGI User Meeting.

The rise of MRSA - What are you going to do about it?

04/19/2010
A short video documentary that highlights the rise of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and it's impact on human health.

Eurobarometer on antimicrobial resistance highlights areas for action

04/19/2010
On 9 April 2010, the European Commission published the results of a Eurobarometer on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which demonstrate the need for further progress on the issue in the European Union (EU) [1]. The report highlights public attitudes towards the use of antibiotics which are of concern. Although almost 40% ...

Oral Activated Charcoal Prevents Experimental Cerebral Malaria in Mice and in a Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial in Man Did Not Interfere with the Pharmacokinetics of Parenteral Artesunate

04/19/2010
Safe, cheap and effective adjunct therapies preventing the development of, or reducing the mortality from, severe malaria could have considerable and rapid public health impact. Oral activated charcoal (oAC) is a safe and well tolerated treatment for acute poisoning, more recently shown to have significant immunomodulatory effects in man. In ...

Metagenomic Sequencing of an In Vitro-Simulated Microbial Community

04/19/2010
A new data resource for measuring the accuracy of metagenomic binning methods, created by in vitro-simulation of a metagenomic community, can be used to complement previous in silico benchmark studies. In constructing a synthetic community and sequencing its metagenome, researchers from the University of California Davis and DOE's Joint Genome ...

An Immune Response in a Test Tube

04/19/2010
A molecule best known for fighting off cellular clutter is now recognized as an important defender against another cellular threat: viruses. New research from HHMI investigator Zhijian Chen shows that ubiquitin, which helps cells identify unwanted proteins so that they can be removed, is also a vital component of the ...

A State Microbe For Cheese-Crazed Wisconsin?

04/18/2010
Michele Norris, co-host of NPR's All Things Considered talks with Elio Schaechter, a microbiologist, visiting scholar at UC San Diego and author of the blog Small Things Considered, about a bill to designate Lactococcus lactis as Wisconsin's official state microbe. Lactococcus lactis is the bacterium used to make cheese. Click source ...

Researchers devise a straightforward method for studying millions of yeast cells at the same time

04/18/2010
Scientists have developed a new way to identify the hidden genetic material responsible for complex traits. The breakthrough ultimately could lead to a deeper understanding of how multiple genes interact to produce everything from blue eyes to blood pressure problems. The approach allows the Princeton University team to study millions of ...

Huitlacoche chooses weapons wisely

04/18/2010
A tumor-causing maize fungus known as “corn smut” wields different weapons from its genetic arsenal depending on which part of the plant it infects. The discovery by Stanford University researchers marks the first time tissue-specific targeting has been found in a pathogen. The finding upends conventional notions of how pathogens attack and ...

Of Terms in Biology: Gene Ontology

04/16/2010
Elio Schaechter of Small Things Considered defines the term "ontology" and why its destined to become part of every biologist’s vocabulary.

DC Science Writers Meeting tomorrow in DC April 17, 2010

04/16/2010
On Saturday, April 17 I will be attending the DC Science Writers Association's Professional Development Day. If you are in the DC area you may want to consider attending. Here are the details: LOCATION: American Geophysical Union, 2000 Florida Ave. NW, Washington DC SCHEDULE: 8:30-9:00 Continental breakfast 9:00-10:45 Plenary - Hollywood and Science Speakers: ...

Digitizing Biology with J. Craig Venter

04/16/2010
A video from the DOE JGI '09 User Meeting on March 27, 2009 featuring Craig Venter's keynote talk "Reading and Writing the Genetic Code."

Rita Colwell's keynote address at the 2010 DOE JGI User Meeting

04/16/2010
Rita Colwell, recipient of the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize, delivers the closing keynote at the 5th Annual DOE JGI User Meeting on March 26, 2010. The main focus of her talk is on cholera.

What does Harley Davidson and Lactococcus lactis have in common?

04/15/2010
Harley-Davidson motorcycles and the bacterium that converts milk into cheese are slated to be honored by the Wisconsin state Assembly.

HAART has potential to diminish mother-to-child HIV transmission in cost-effective manner

04/15/2010
A new paper publish in PLoS One concludes that programs that optimize adherence to highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) through direct observation in pregnancy have the potential to diminish mother-to-child HIV transmission in a highly cost-effective manner.

Could a plant virus have found a way to infect humans?

04/15/2010
It has always been assumed that plant viruses cannot infect animals, and vice versa, but plant viruses are known to be abundant in human faeces. Now Didier Raoult at the University of the Mediterranean in Marseille, France, and his team think a pepper virus is making people sick, too. They have found ...

Did seasonal flu vaccination increase the risk of infection with pandemic H1N1 flu?

04/15/2010
In September 2009, news stories reported that researchers in Canada had found an increased risk of pandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) influenza in people who had previously been vaccinated against seasonal influenza. Their research, consisting of four different studies, has now undergone further scientific peer review and is published in the open ...

Tapeworm brain infections on the increase in Mexico

04/15/2010
Tapeworm infections of the brain, which can cause epileptic seizures, appear to be increasing in Mexico and bordering southwestern states, Loyola University Health System researchers report. In Mexico, up to 10 percent of the population may have the infection, neurocysticercosis. While many people never develop symptoms, neurocysticercosis nevertheless "remains a serious ...

Guillain-Barré Syndrome cases low after 2009 H1N1 vaccine

04/15/2010
A new study finds that reports of a neurologic disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) have been low after 2009 H1N1 vaccination, according to a research study that will be presented as part of the late-breaking science program at the American Academy of Neurology's 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, April 10 ...

The Illustrated Cell

04/15/2010
Le Cellule, illus. by Peter Wyss published in Le Livre de Sante by Joseph Handler (Monte Carlo: Andre Sauret, 1967) from the A Journey Round My Skull blog via Maggie Koerth-Baker at BoingBoing.net

Scientists hope to harness parasitic worms' immune-regulating effects.

04/15/2010
"As blossoming spring trees spew pollen, many allergy sufferers would be grateful for a more effective way to alleviate their itchy misery. How about swallowing a batch of pig whipworm eggs, or deliberately infecting oneself with the fecal-dwelling hookworm? Yucky as these options sound, mounting evidence in both humans and ...

Paleovirology—Modern Consequences of Ancient Viruses

04/14/2010
Here's an interesting essay published in PLoS Biology by Michael Emerman and Harmit S. Malik on paleovirology, a topic recently discussed by Welkin Johnson, on the Small Things Considered blog. "Within the past century, a number of “emerging viruses” with pathogenic properties, such as HIV-1, SARS-CoV, and several novel reassortments of ...
04/14/2010
Fluorescence-tagged Escherichia coli cells can be made to "blink" in unison by means of a constructed network of genes and proteins that coordinates oscillations within the growing cell population, according to Jeff Hasty and colleagues from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in La Jolla. In 2008 the team ...

Facebook for Scientists

04/14/2010
Indiana University has received more than $1.8 million from the National Institutes of Health to collaborate on a $12.2 million, seven-university project designed to network researchers around the country. While the proposed new networking system will contain authentication mechanisms to protect sensitive data and intellectual property, it is being described as ...

Paleovirology

04/13/2010
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 admit to considerable professional envy. The paleontologists have it good. ...

Cold fronts linked to European H5N1 outbreaks

04/12/2010
Avian influenza (H5N1) outbreaks in Europe during the winter of 2005-2006 occurred at the edge of cold weather fronts, according to researchers from Princeton University and the Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Their results, published April 8 in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens, show that these outbreaks were driven ...

Harnessing the Web and supercomputers to track pathogens as they evolve

04/12/2010
Pathogens can now be easily tracked in time and space as they evolve, an advance that could revolutionize both public health and inform national security in the fight against infectious diseases. Developed by researchers that include scientists at the American Museum of Natural History, Supramap (supramap.osu.edu) is a new, powerful, ...

Prevalence of HIV in Africa is leading to new strains of Salmonella

04/12/2010
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have discovered that dangerous strains of Salmonella are beginning to emerge in people infected with HIV in Africa. Their research has found that, in adults with HIV, new African Salmonellae can cause severe disease by invading cells in the blood and bone marrow, where they ...

New method of in-barrel fermentation allows for cask ale to be served on the go

04/10/2010
A brewing trick could enable cask ales, unfiltered and unpasteurized beer, to be served on trains, aircraft and cruise ships. While ale normally takes two days to settle after each jolt, British brewer Marston's has developed a cask beer that can be poured a minute after the barrel has been ...

MSU's Microbiology Department Saved by University President

04/09/2010
Microbiology students who staged a rare campus protest at Montana State University are expressing gratitude after President Waded Cruzado approved a plan to save their department. Microbiology, the study of microbes that affect health and the environment, lost a lot of strength several years ago when three of 10 faculty members ...

Scientists embracing open science

04/09/2010
Writer Chelsea Wald has authored an overview on what "open science" is and includes several quotes from people who actually practice it. "History is replete with stories of scientists who hid their ideas from their competition; consider Leonardo da Vinci, whose odd backward writing may have been partly motivated by fear ...

Retailers caught selling used lingerie

04/09/2010
A Today Show expose on the practice of major retailers who resell used under garments. This segment features a brief interview with a microbiologist who makes it clear what sort of dangers this practice can expose people to. Remember to always wash new clothes before you wear them. Click source ...

Did van Leeuwenhoek actually observe yeast cells in 1680?

04/09/2010
Nanne Nanninga, Emeritus Professor of Molecular Cytology, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, authors a guest post on Small Things Considered that questions whether van Leeuwenhoek actually observed yeast cells in 1680. "It is common knowledge that beer was produced by the ancient Egyptians and that van ...

Malaria presented by Joseph DeRisi Part 3: Drug Development

04/08/2010
The third video of a three part lecture by Joseph DeRisi focuses on drug development for Malaria.

Malaria presented by Joseph DeRisi: Part 2 Research

04/08/2010
The second video in brief set of three lectures by Joseph DeRisi.

Malaria presented by Joseph DeRisi - Part 1: Malaria: Background and Overview

04/08/2010
The first video in brief set of three lectures by Joseph DeRisi gives a very general overview of malaria, the disease and Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of the most deadly form. Basic research as well as drug development efforts will also be covered in parts two and three of ...

When Swine Flew: A presentation on how social media impacted messaging around H1N1

04/08/2010
Andre Blackman (aka @mindofandre on Twitter and author of the Pulse + Signal blog) recently shared a presentation on Slide Share that reviews the CDC and the public health community's innovative use of social networks to educate the public about H1N1. This powerpoint was presented during SXSW Interactive 2010, along with ...

The most important paper ever in microbiology

04/07/2010
Jonathan Eisen (@phylogenomics on Twitter) has a new post on his The Tree of Life blog that looks at why the paper "Phylogenetic structure of the prokaryotic domain: The primary kingdoms" by Carl Woese and George Fox may be the most important paper (see http://www.pnas.org/content/74/11/5088.full.pdf+html?sid=867a6a9e-fd2f-4122-a1db-9ac96a9798b7) in the history of microbiology. ...

Are two tails better than one? A look at the Acidianus two-tailed virus

04/06/2010
Merry Youle of Small Things Considered fame has a new post on the site that looks at the Acidianus two-tailed virus. Snippet: "Why two tails? Why such long tails? The researchers note that ATV is the only virus of an acidophilic hyperthermophile known to lyse its host, albeit only under stress conditions. ...

Speculation Surrounding Sporulation in the Mycobacteria

04/06/2010
Tim Sampson, a graduate student at Emory University in the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics program, looks at two research papers with conflicting conclusions about the presence of endospores in very late stationary phase cultures of Mycobacterium marinum, a common model for acute Mycobacteria infection. Snippet: "In an effort ...

Test uses DNA to detect Lyme disease

04/05/2010
Sin Hang Lee, Ph.D., a Milford Hospital pathologist has developed a test to positively diagnose Lyme disease, and to identify the bacterium that causes it within days of infection. That is a major advance in treating a disease that is common in the region but difficult to diagnose with standard blood ...

Dr. Rita Colwell Wins Stockholm Water Prize

04/03/2010
Dr. Rita Colwell, an expert on the prevention of waterborne infectious diseases, has been awarded the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize, widely recognized as the world's premier award for water related research or policy work. The prize, which includes a $150,000 award and a crystal sculpture, honors individuals, institutions or organizations whose ...

An alkaline lagoon inside a Volcano in Argentina teems with life

04/03/2010
Argentinian investigators have found flamingos and mysterious microbes living in a salty, alkaline lagoon nestled inside a volcano in the Andes. The organisms, exposed to arsenic and poisonous gases, could shed light on how life began on Earth, and their hardiness to extreme conditions may hold the key to new ...

Customize your Firefox Browser with a MicrobeWorld Persona

04/02/2010
With the launch of Firefox 3.63, the new version of the popular browser allows users to easily "skin" their browser's appearance. If you visit the link under "Source" above and you are using the latest version of Firefox, you will be able to wear MicrobeWorld's team colors while you surf ...

Science and Nature to publish new open access journal

04/01/2010
"Science and Nature have ended their historic battle for the world’s best basic science articles, agreeing to cease their respective publications and co-launch an open-access, online-only journal with an innovative democratic peer-review system, sources at both journals revealed this morning. "The difficult economics of scientific publishing today did play a role ...

Students protest at Montana State University to save the microbiology department

04/01/2010
"Carrying signs that read "Save the Microbiology Department," about 60 students, professors and staff members gathered Wednesday at noon to protest Montana State University's decision to dissolve their department. While student organizers succeeded in gathering a well-mannered crowd outside Montana Hall, they were less successful in persuading administrators inside Montana Hall ...

Microbiology Education and Social Media

04/01/2010
At the Spring 2010 meeting of the Society for General Microbiology In Edinburgh Vincent Racaniello spoke about ‘Social Media in Microbiology Education and Research’. In his presentation he gives a comprehensive overview of how he uses these new communication tools to promote the science of virology to students, educators, researchers, ...

Lens-less Microscopy aka Kryptonian Vision

03/30/2010
Jennifer Gutierrez is a microbiology graduate student in the Joint Doctoral Program of San Diego State University and University of California at San Diego. In her guest blog post on Small Things Considered she describes a new imaging technique dubbed "lens-less microscopy." As part of the discussion she also reviews a ...

Revealing the secrets of the Périgord black truffle

03/29/2010
Amy Maxmen reports over at Nature News that a team of European researchers has decoded the genome of the Périgord black truffle. Francis Martin, at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research in Nancy, and his colleagues have found that "within its nucleotides reside secrets to the flavor and elusive ...

New Ways to Fight Tuberculosis

03/28/2010
Antibiotics have been used since the 1940s to cure tuberculosis. But the bacterium that causes the disease, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, keeps evolving to dodge the drugs that are thrown at it, and existing treatments are becoming less effective. Now, Howard Hughes Medicial Institute (HHMI) scientists have found several new ways to ...

Bacteria Patterns Aid Carbon Fixation

03/26/2010
Harvard Medical School researchers have discovered that the organelles responsible for carbon fixation within cyanobacteria organize themselves in predictable patterns—a finding that could help researchers engineer more efficient designer bacteria.

Clinical Trial Results Demonstrate Copper Reduces MRSA and VRE in Hospital Rooms

03/26/2010
Recent clinical tests demonstrate that antimicrobial copper is effective in significantly reducing the bacterial load in intensive care unit (ICU) patient rooms and on many individual objects in those rooms. Results from a U.S. Department of Defense-funded clinical trial assessing the ability of antimicrobial copper to reduce the amount of ...

How 1918 flu antibodies fend off swine flu

03/26/2010
"The absence of a sugary viral shield could explain why immune responses to the 1918 influenza virus also work against the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic strain. Researchers have found that the two viruses, although separated in time by nearly a century, are structurally similar in a region that is recognized ...

Oral sex virus 'causing throat cancer'

03/26/2010
A common virus spread through oral sex may be triggering a steep rise in types of throat cancer, researchers have warned. Human Pappillomavirus - known as HPV - is the main cause of cervical cancer, although most infections clear with little or no symptoms. But after cases of oropharyngeal cancer - which ...

Skloot there it is! HeLa Cells and the Colbert Nation

03/26/2010
Science writer Rebbecca Skloot recently appeared on the Colbert Nation to discuss her new book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. When Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with cancer in 1951, doctors took her cells and immortalized them in test tubes. Since then these cells have led to significant scientific and ...

Infectious Bite - The Vampire/Malaria Awareness Blog

03/26/2010
I am always interested in how science or health communicators often use popular culture as a hook for drawing people into interesting research. Every morning I scan the "blogosphere," news sites and other sources for interesting stories or items to share on MicrobeWorld. Today I came across the blog Infectious ...

Facebook 'linked to rise in syphilis' in Britain

03/25/2010
UK Professor Peter Kelly, director of public health in Teesside, claims his research staff has found a link between social networking sites and the spread of Syphilis, especially among young women. According to Kelly, "there has been a fourfold increase in the number of syphilis cases detected with more young women ...

Scientists Uncover Vast Microbial Diversity of Carnivorous Pitcher Plant

03/25/2010
The microbial ecosystem inside the carnivorous pitcher plant is vastly more diverse than previously thought according to research published in the March 2010 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Researchers from Louisiana State University used genomic fingerprinting technology to assess the bacterial diversity inside leaves of Sarracenia alata, commonly ...

Futures in Biotech 56: RNA viruses and more

03/23/2010
Vincent Racaniello, host of This Week in Virology, appears in the latest episode of Futures in Biotech with Marc Pelletier. With a focus on RNA viruses, Vincent and and Marc are joined by Stanford University School of Medicine Professor Karla Kirkegaard and discuss where RNA viruses came from, where they are ...

Time's Up

03/22/2010
Merry Youle of the Small Things Considered blog has a new post up that looks at the phage-encoded holin timer and its function in a lytic infection. "Holins are the smallest known biological timers. Timers, not clocks. Timers tick along, then go off after the specified interval. These small, phage-encoded proteins ...

Large Pockets of Methane May Be Building Under Antarctic Ice

03/17/2010
Microbes living under ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland could be churning out large quantities of the greenhouse gas methane, a new study suggests. In recent years scientists have learned that liquid water lurks under much of Antarctica’s massive ice sheet, and so, they say, the potential microbial habitat in this ...

Science Podcasts Galore!

03/12/2010
Ginger Campbell, M.D., emergency room physician and host of the popular Brain Science Podcast, has created a site that highlights over 40 science-related podcasts. While all of MicrobeWorld's podcasts are represented on the site there are also some other great offerings, including: * ACS Chemical Biology ...

CDC Used Frequent Shoppers' Cards to Track the Salami/Red Pepper Salmonella Outbreak

03/12/2010
Investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used frequent-shopper cards that millions of Americans swipe when they buy groceries to track down the source of salmonella in the recent salami recall.

Pandemics in Retrospective

03/12/2010
Now that we have experienced several months of the H1N1 pandemic, what have we learned about how it was handled? Watch Dr. Nicole Lurie (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and Dr. Kathryn Edwards (Vanderbilt University), discuss the public health responses to H1N1. Participants compare the medical community's response ...

Mayo's Bad Rap - Is it Justified?

03/10/2010
People often cite mayonnaise as a source for food poisoning, but studies have shown the condiment is not very conducive to bacterial growth. This is due to the ingredients used in commercially–prepared mayonnaise which typically include pasteurized eggs, salt and an acid like vinegar (acetic acid) or citric acid. In fact, ...

Hut Cave on Mt. Erebus taken by mountaineer Nick Giguere

03/05/2010
Photo of Hut Cave taken by mountaineer Nick Giguere during the 2008 expedition Exploring the Rock Bottom of the Food Chain in McMurdo's Extreme Environments led by Dr. Laurie Connell and Dr. Hubert Staudigel. For more pictures go to their website: http://earthref.org/ERESE/projects/GOLF439/index.html Thank you to Suzanne ...

Blood Falls - Subglacial outflow from the Taylor Glacier in McMurdo

03/05/2010
Subglacial outflow from the Taylor Glacier in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Iron and salt precipitates form where subglacial brine flows from the Taylor Glacier, lending a bright red color to the glacier snout, which is commonly referred to as Blood Falls. The episodic release of subglacial brine at Blood ...

Trichinella spiralis Scanning EMs and hundreds more

03/05/2010
As referenced in the most recent episode of This Week in Parasitism, Dickson Despommier, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, and Yuzo Takahashi, Department of Parasitology, Gifu University School of Medicine, have posted hundreds of scanning electron micrographs at www.trichinella.org. This image of T. spiralis was taken by Despommier ...

Can a Scientific Retraction Change Public Opinion?

03/04/2010
When science revises its stance, the field itself follows established protocol to adapt, but public opinion can be slow to catch up. Rather than wiping the slate clean, last month's retraction of a key paper proposing a link between childhood vaccines and autism seem only to have widened the societal ...

4 student blogs that gladden an old man's heart

03/04/2010
Moselio Schaechter at Small Things Considered highlights 4 student blogs that "gladden an old man's heart." In Catalogue of Organisms, Christopher Taylor, a student of arachnids in Perth, Australia, posted a new interpretation of the mysterious Prototaxites—giant, 8 meter tall fossils some 400 million years old that predate any plants ...

Welcome to Extreme Biology! Violin-making and fungi

03/04/2010
Welcome to Ms. Baker and her biology students extreme biology blog! This is perhaps one of the best high school student blogs I have ever seen. In Extreme Biology, students post about "anything biology-related." Check out the post by Amy Ciardiello, a 9th grade violinist, who writes about "violin-making and ...

Anti-Bacterial Defences (Animation)

03/02/2010
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Virginia Reports No Additional CWD Positives; Response Planning Underway

03/02/2010
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) has received laboratory results from all chronic wasting disease (CWD) samples collected through the 2009-2010 hunting season, and no additional positives were found. Since 2002, nearly 5,000 samples have been collected in Virginia, and CWD has been detected in only one ...

C. elegans micro-injection

02/26/2010
This video shows the process of injecting a a construct with gene manipulated DNA into a C. elegans worm. The outcome in this case was the rolling worm with the green fluorescent protein in it that localized to the body wall muscle, giving the worm the four green stripes along ...

Sci-Tech Today: Paper Diagnostics for Health

02/26/2010
Alex Fiorentino describes how the Whitesides lab at Harvard is developing sophisticated medical diagnostic devices that are lightweight, disposable, cost pennies to make, and operate without power. They're made out of paper.

Less hand-wringing over state of science journalism

02/26/2010
A recent article published in the Columbia Journalism Review mulls over the state of science journalism and expresses hope that the future is online. The article actually singles out the MicrobeWorld-related blog Small Things Considered by Elio Schaechter and Merry Youle among several others as examples of sites gaining admiration ...

End Polio Now

02/25/2010
Yesterday the Wrigley Building in Chicago was officially lit with Rotary International's 'End Polio Now' pledge - as was the Pyramid of Khafre in Egypt and the Obelisk in Buenos Aires. These iconic landmarks and others will provide a dramatic backdrop for an equally dramatic message: End Polio Now. Those ...

Budding versus Binary Fission

02/23/2010
Elio Schaechter of Small Things Considered asks if there is an evolutionary advantage for budding, where cell division is asymmetrical (yeast is an example), over binary fission, asexual reproduction by cell division? Snippet: "Binary fission is a most impressive invention. In one fell swoop, it ensures that progeny cells are born alike ...

A Prophage Masquerade

02/19/2010
Small Things Considered blogger Merry Youle has authored a post on the sequencing of Roseovarius nubinhibens. a bacterium that recently joined the group of about a thousand bacteria whose genomes have been sequenced. Researcher José González and colleagues in Mary Ann Moran's lab at the University of Georgia, Department of ...

Higher Pneumococcal Disease Vaccination Rates Needed to Protect More At-Risk US Adults

02/18/2010
The American Society for Microbiology, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), and other leading medical and health organizations agree that pneumococcal immunization rates among adults need to be improved to reduce the impact of pneumococcal illness and death in this population. Pneumococcal disease causes severe illnesses such as pneumonia, ...

Attacking Implant Infections

02/18/2010
Nearly 1 million people undergo a hip, knee or shoulder replacement every year, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and in about 1 to 2 percent of those cases, an implant gets infected. The most common cause of these infections is a type of bacteria Staphylococcus epidermidis, which ...

Five questions about lysogeny

02/17/2010
Merry Youle from www.smallthingsconidered.us explores 5 questions about lysogeny, the life cycle that takes place when a bacteriophage infects certain types of bacteria.

Disease Diagnostics: Lab on a Chip for Next to Nothing

02/15/2010
Lab tests for disease diagnosis can be very expensive and cumbersome for many regions of the world. George Whitesides, American chemist and professor of chemistry at Harvard University, has an answer that can be manufactured with just paper and carpet tape at virtually zero cost. Filmed at TEDxBoston in July ...

New Twitter-like Service for Scientists Launched

02/15/2010
A new Twitter-FaceBook-FriendFeed-like site called Sciencefeed allows users to post short messages around on scientific-related content, including news headlines, new findings, metings, events and ideas. Just lke Twitter or Facebook you can follow users, respond to other member’s entries, and comment on various topics. You can also search for ...

Outbreaks of gastroenteritis linked to lettuce in Denmark

02/12/2010
At least 11 linked outbreaks of gastroenteritis with a total of 260 cases have occurred in Denmark in mid January 2010. Investigations showed that the outbreaks were caused by norovirus of several genotypes and by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli. Lettuce of the lollo bionda type grown in France was found to ...

Of Archaeal Periplasm and Iconoclasm

02/12/2010
Moselio Schaechter of the Small Things Considered blog reviews the surprising findings in the paper "Energized outer membrane and spatial separation of metabolic processes in the hyperthermophilic Archaeon Ignicoccus hospitalis" published in the recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Snippet: "Biology is the iconoclast’s paradise. Over and over, cherished beliefs, ...

First wild grass species and model system for energy crops sequenced

02/11/2010
As the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) works toward developing sustainable sources of clean renewable energy, perennial grasses have emerged as major candidates for the commercial production of cellulosic biofuels from feedstocks. However, little is known about the specific biological traits of the grasses that might contribute to their usefulness ...

Carl Zimmer Interview - How to Write Science Books

02/11/2010
Carl Zimmer, author, professor, journalist and podcast host for MicrobeWorld's own Meet the Scientist, is interviewed by Nicola Jones for Nature on what goes in to writing a science book. "Acclaimed essayist Carl Zimmer has eight popular-science books to his name, on topics from parasites and Escherichia coli to evolution. ...

Nature launches iPhone app

02/11/2010
Nature magazine has just launched an iPhone application. It's essentially an eBook reader for the iPhone and iPod Touch that gives all access to Nature and Nature News content as it is published for free until April 30th when presumably they will start charging. It's available in the app store ...
02/10/2010
A. J. Cann of the infamous MicrobiologyBytes.com blog and podcast has a collection of over 300 microbiology related videos on his site. While the videos are all copyrighted, you can view hundreds of .mov examples on the web. Here's an example (with permission) of Hartmannella, "a harmless, free-living organism belonging to ...

Naegleria fowleri Infection Fact Sheet

02/10/2010
Naegleria is an amoeba commonly found in warm freshwater and soil. Only one species of Naegleria infects people, Naegleria fowleri. Naegleria infects people by entering the body through the nose, often occurring when people use warm freshwater for activities like swimming or diving. The amoeba can cause a very rare ...

Naegleria’s Split Morphology Disorder

02/09/2010
A guest blog post by "Psi Wavefunction" on Small Things Considered explores the morphology of Heterolobosea, specifically Naegleria, a species of pathogenic free-living amoebae that have a taste for human brains.

Australians On Guard against Acinetobacter

02/05/2010
Australian researchers are scrambling to develop drugs to fight off Acinetobacter baumanii, a new "superbug" that is causing fatalities overseas. Experts say Acinetobacter is far worse than superbugs such as MRSA, which are already in Australian hospitals. Australian health authorities say they are determined to develop new antibiotics capable of fighting ...

Origin of the cell nucleus, mitosis and sex: roles of intracellular coevolution

02/05/2010
Thomas Cavalier-Smith, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, has published a paper in which he identifies some of the key elements to understanding eukaryogenesis. "Here I paint an integrated picture of how the nucleus, sex, and the eukaryotic cell cycle originated and congealed into a novel, unified, and very conservative ...

NSF & Microsoft team up to bring cloud computing to U.S. scientists

02/05/2010
The new three-year program from the National Science Foundation and Microsoft announced on Thursday at a news conference in Washington offers scientists the computing power to cope with exploding amounts of research data. It uses Microsoft’s Windows Azure computing system, which the company recently introduced to compete with cloud computing ...

Of Wines and Vines - Managing malolactic fermentation

02/02/2010
Wine lovers will delight in this guest blog post on Small Things Considered and adaptation from an article in the January 2010 issue of Wines and Vines by John Ingraham, a retired UC Davis Professor of Microbiology, on how he and his colleagues tamed the "capricious and independent" cycle of ...

Spray-on Science: Liquid Glass protects against everything from bacteria to UV radiation

02/01/2010
According the the UK's Daily Telegraph - "The versatile spray, which forms an easy-clean coating one millionth of a millimetre thick – 500 times thinner than a human hair – can be applied to virtually any surface to protect it against water, dirt, bacteria, heat and UV radiation. The spray forms ...

Bacteria-killing protein to combat E.coli in red meat

02/01/2010
A bacteria-killing protein that would be applied to raw meat during processing to “significantly reduce” the presence of E.coli is under development for the meat industry. US-based Ecolab Inc announced it has joined forces with AvidBiotics Corps to commericalize its proprietary protein-based antibacterial technology, which can be targeted against specific bacterial ...

Researchers show how Listeria induces infected immune cells to sabotage their own defensive response

02/01/2010
In the Feb. 15 issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, Laurel Lenz, PhD, and his colleagues report that macrophages infected by the bacteria Listeria release interferon-αβ (IFN- αβ), which makes them and nearby immune cells unresponsive to activation signals. This reduces immune resistance to the bacteria, which causes thousands ...

Henrietta Lacks: How One Woman's Cells Changed Medicine

02/01/2010
ABC World News has published a brief article on the history of HeLa cells and the controversy over how they were acquired and then used to generate windfall profits for many medical-related companies. Often described as one of the greatest medical discoveries of our time, HeLa cells originally came from ...

Craig Venter on creating synthetic life from TEDMED 2009

01/29/2010
Craig Venter, Founder, Chairman, and President of the J. Craig Venter Institute, talks about creating synthetic life at TEDMED 2009, a medical technology and healthcare conference based on quality conversations as it relates to personal and public health.

Gates Foundation pledges $10 billion to jumpstart a 'Decade of Vaccines'

01/29/2010
WHO welcomes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledge of US$ 10 billion over the next ten years to accelerate global vaccine efforts. "The Gates Foundation’s commitment to vaccines is unprecedented, but needs to be matched by unprecedented action. It’s absolutely crucial that both governments and the private sector step ...

Our viral DNA

01/29/2010
Virus-like components of the human genome amount to almost half of our DNA. This would once have been dismissed as mere "junk DNA", but we now know that some of it plays a critical role in our biology. As to the origins and function of the rest, we simply do ...

ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting : Feb. 21-24, 2010, Baltimore, Md

01/27/2010
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) will host its 2010 Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting February 21-24, 2010 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore, MD. The purpose of this meeting is to bring together individuals who are carrying out research to defend against the threat of bioterrorism with ...

Follow-up study showing post-pandemic decline in hand sanitizer use, New Zealand

01/27/2010
A study aimed to measure rates of hand sanitizer use in a hospital entrance foyer four months after a baseline study during New Zealand's influenza pandemic found that of the 743 people observed over one (summer) day in December 2009, 8.2% used the hand sanitizer, which was significantly lower (p

An Introduction to Viruses - Kahn Academy

01/25/2010
An introduction to viruses created by Salman Khan of The Khan Academy, a one person, not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing a high quality education to anyone, anywhere. While the Kahn Academy has over 25 videos devoted to topics in biology, there are hundreds more in a variety of ...

Microbe Theater - Episode 11

01/25/2010
The final episode of Microbe Theater - a wrap up of the series.

60 of the World's most memorable research papers

01/22/2010
The Royal Society, founded in London in 1660 and one of the world's oldest scientific institutions, is marking the start of its 350th year by putting 60 of its most memorable research papers online. Several of these documents include papers by Sir Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, and even Antonie van ...

Microbe Theater - Episode 10

01/22/2010
As we near the end of Microbe Theater, we get to see what our animated friends look like in real life.By the way, in this episode they refer to "Tadayasu" several times. Tadayasu is the main, human character in the original Japanese anime story "Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture" that Microbe ...

Microbe Theater - Episode 9

01/20/2010
How to make Surströmming, "soured herring," a northern Swedish delicacy consisting of fermented Baltic herring. Careful though, several major airlines have banned this canned delight by declaring it "potentially explosive" since the fermentation process in the can is ongoing.(See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4867024.stm).

Cryptic Life in the Antarctic Dry Valleys

01/20/2010
Small Things Considered co-blogger Merry Youle has a post about the diversity of life in McKelvey Valley, a broad, glacially-carved pass just west of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. Her writing is inspired in part by a recent paper from the University of Hong Kong (See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19850879) that demonstrates life in ...

Microbe Theater - Episode 8

01/15/2010
How to make nattou. Nattou is a traditional Japanese breakfast food that consists of fermented soybeans. Apparently this staple has been enjoyed for more than 10,000 years and represents an important part of traditional Japanese cuisine.

Microbe Theater - Episode 7

01/14/2010
Oryzae is back and this time he's hanging out with the "habitual skin microbes." Note that the subtitles around 0:46 are a little confusing and may be incorrect, possibly due to a translation issue. Since I do not understand Japanese I can't tell for sure.To learn more about microbes and ...

Microbe Theater - Episode 6

01/12/2010
Meet "Asia's great five food-poisoning microbes!"

Through the Looking Glass: Silicate in Bacterial Spores

01/12/2010
Peter Setlow, Professor of Molecular, Microbial and Structural Biology at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, CT, authors a guest post on Small Things Considered in which he ponders the reasons why silicon is present on some Bacillus spores and what could possibly be the benefit of this ...

The Origin of Species: 1859 meets 2009 - Video Lecture by Carl Zimmer

01/12/2010
Science writer Carl Zimmer and host of MicrobeWorld's Meet the Scientist Podcast presents a talk in Vancouver BC hosted by the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia. Zimmer discusses Darwin and the evolution of diseases, including H1N1. The talk was posted in six parts on YouTube by the ...

Microbe Theater - Episode 5

01/12/2010
In episode 5 of Microbe Theater meet Saccharomyces cerevisiae, aka brewer's yeast.

Microbe Theater - Episode 4

01/11/2010
Meet E. coli O157:H7 and some other unidentified "large intestine microbes."

The "Germ Terminator" targets shopping carts with UV rays

01/09/2010
The aptly named Germ Terminator aims to conquer the world of germ-ridden shopping carts in supermarkets and other stores by using ultraviolet rays to kill bacteria on the carts' handlebars. The origin of the Germ Terminator began when Danny Glenn, Fleet Cleaning Supply chief executive officer, was talking with a friend ...

Bird flu scare in India, birds found dead in Kaziranga National Park

01/09/2010
A bird flu scare has hit the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, a northeastern state of India, with carcasses of at least a dozen migratory Bar-headed Geese found in the sanctuary, officials said on Friday. A park warden said at least seven geese were found dead on Friday. Five carcasses of ...

It Came From Outer Space: Hyperthermophiles

01/09/2010
Hyperthermophiles are microorganisms that can live in extremely hot conditions. Instead of photosynthesis, these organisms perform chemosynthesis to produce energy. Click "source" above to watch the Learning Channel's "It Came From Outer Space: Hyperthermophiles".

Microbe Theater - Episode 3

01/09/2010
Learn all about yeast in this fun minute-long animation featuring Aspergillus awamori, Aspergillus oryzae, Aspergillus sojae and Aspergillus niger.

What came first in the origin of life? A study contradicts the 'metabolism first' hypothesis

01/09/2010
A research published in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences rejects the theory that the origin of life stems from a system of self-catalytic molecules capable of experiencing Darwinian evolution without the need of RNA or DNA and their replication. The research, which was carried out with the participation of ...

New test for "barber pole" worms

01/09/2010
Researchers at Oregon State University and the University of Georgia have developed an improved, more efficient method to test for Haemonchus contortus, or "barber pole" worms, a parasitic species that is very pathogenic to sheep, goats and llamas causing. hundreds of millions of dollars in losses every year to the ...

3-D bio-printer makes human tissue and organs

01/08/2010
Invetech has announced that it has delivered the world's first production model 3D bio-printer to Organovo, developers of the proprietary NovoGen bioprinting technology. Organovo will supply the units to research institutions investigating human tissue repair and organ replacement. According to Keith Murphy, CEO of Organovo, "scientists and engineers can use the ...

Microbe Theater - Episode 2

01/08/2010
In episode 2 of Microbe Theater you get to meet Penicillium chrysogenum, Cladosporium trichoides and Alternaria alternata.

Microbe Theater - Episode 1

01/07/2010
This video, or anime if you prefer, was inspired by the manga series called "Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture." Manga is a Japanese word for comics, the literal translation is "whimsical pictures." This manga follows the life of a first-year college student named Tadayasu Sawaki who has the special power to ...

Wired's Top Ten Scientific Breakthroughs for 2009

01/03/2010
From jellyfish stirring the oceans, to a new human ancestor, to new vaccines for dengue fever, these stories and 7 more made Wired's "list of kick-ass science in 2009."

E. coli fears - National Steak and Poultry is voluntarily recalling 248,000 pounds of beef

12/30/2009
The Associated Press is reporting that National Steak and Poultry is voluntarily recalling 248,000 pounds of beef it said might be contaminated with a strain of E. coli bacteria. NS&P said the meat could be linked to illnesses in six states. Click "source" for more.

Scientists Show How Bacteria Move Electrons Across a Membrane

12/30/2009
Scientists at the University of East Anglia, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Pennsylvania State University have demonstrated for the first time the mechanism by which some bacteria can transfer electrons across a membrane to the cell exterior, allowing them to "breathe" metals. These iron-respiring bacteria link the cycling of iron ...

DIY Science - Jason Bobe of DIYbio speaks on NPR

12/30/2009
The "Do It Yourself" biology movement is growing among real scientists and citizen scientists in homegrown or garage-based labs around the U.S. As this NPR piece reports "they're studying things like DNA and E. coli bacteria in home laboratories. And for now, the industry is largely unregulated." Click "source" to listen ...

New Hampshire confirms a case of gastrointestinal anthrax in an adult female

12/29/2009
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has confirmed a case of gastrointestinal anthrax in an adult female from Strafford County. The patient is currently in critical condition. DHHS’ Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating ...

H1N1 pediatric fatalities were 10 times the rates for seasonal influenza in previous years

12/29/2009
A recent paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine by researchers who looked at data from the recent influenza season in the Southern Hemisphere finds that pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza was associated with pediatric death rates that were 10 times the rates for seasonal influenza in previous years.

Researchers revisit old ideas in the war on cancer

12/29/2009
Instead just studying cancer itself, more and more researchers are taking into consideration the role of the cellular environment in the development of the disease. "Some researchers are taking a fresh look at ideas that were dismissed as folklore — a blow to the breast might spur cancer, an infection ...

Zinc fingers could open the door for gene therapy

12/29/2009
At the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Carl June and colleagues are using a new genetic editing technique to disrupt a gene in patients’ T cells, the type attacked by the AIDS virus, that some hope may revive gene therapy. The technique, which depends on natural agents called zinc fingers, overcomes ...

Cataloging the Diversity of Earth's Microbes

12/29/2009
The Joint Genome Institute at the Energy Department has started what it calls a “genomic encyclopedia,” a collection of genomes from diverse microbes. Using an evolutionary approach that differs in strategy from how scientists originally chose organisms for sequencing, researchers hope to discover many new kinds of genes. According the New ...

Disinfectants may promote growth of antibiotic resistant superbugs

12/28/2009
Researchers from the National University of Ireland in Galway found that by adding increasing amounts of disinfectant to laboratory cultures of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the bacteria could adapt to survive not only the disinfectant but also ciprofloxacin - a commonly-prescribed antibiotic - even without being exposed to it. The researchers showed ...

The First Case of Highly Drug-Resistant TB Found in US

12/28/2009
As part of a six-month look at the soaring global challenge of drug resistance, the Associated Press has learned of the first case of extremely drug resistant TB in Lantana, Fla. The patient's name is Oswaldo Juarez, a 19-year-old Peruvian visiting to study English. Click "source" to read the full ...

Marine Euglena-like Protist at 1000x Magnification

12/26/2009
Marine Euglena-like Protist at 1000x Magnification. Euglena is a common group of freshwater single celled organisms in the Kingdom Protista.

Microalgae for CO2 Fixation - From Test Tube to Large Scale

12/26/2009
Microalgae for CO2 Fixation - From Test Tube to Large Scale

Hong Kong health officials investigate case of influenza A (H9N2)

12/26/2009
Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a case of influenza A (H9N2) infection - a mild form of avian influenza - involving a 35-month-old girl. A spokesman for CHP said today (December 23) the girl, living in Sha Tin, developed symptoms of cough, ...

China SARS victims suffer hormone treatment effects

12/26/2009
About 300 survivors of a deadly outbreak of SARS in China in 2003 are now suffering from serious after-effects, possibly due to aggressive hormone treatment to save their lives, the Beijing News said on Friday.

Motility mechanism of malaria pathogens explained

12/26/2009
How do one-celled parasites move from the salivary gland of a mosquito through a person's skin into red blood cells? What molecular mechanisms form the basis for this very important movement of the protozoa? A team of researchers headed by Dr. Friedrich Frischknecht, head of a research group at the ...

The Dawn of Proteomics

12/26/2009
Frederick C. Neidhardt, F.G. Novy Distinguished University Professor, Emeritus, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School at Ann Arbor, authors a post at the Small Things Considered blog on the dawn of proteomics, the large-scale study of proteins, with a focus on their structures and functions. Excerpt: "Around me ...

Scientists Use Bacteria to Power Simple Machines

12/21/2009
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University, Evanston, have discovered that common bacteria can turn microgears when suspended in a solution, providing insights for design of bio-inspired dynamically adaptive materials for energy. “The gears are a million times more massive than the bacteria,” said ...

New Vaccines May Help Thwart E. coli O157:H7

12/21/2009
Immunizing calves with either of two forms of a vaccine newly developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists might reduce the spread of sometimes deadly Escherichia coli O157:H7 bacteria. The microbe can flourish in the animals' digestive tracts, yet doesn't cause them to show clinical symptoms of illness. In humans, ...

New research supports controversial idea that certain genes evolved to combat specific bacteria

12/21/2009
New research reveals a mutation on a gene that makes children susceptible to a severe form of mycobacterial disease. The work not only supports a controversial idea that certain genes evolved to combat specific bacteria but also reveals new mechanistic details of how the immune system fights off one of ...

Small Things Considered - 2009 in Review

12/17/2009
Elio Schaechter of Small Things Considered has pulled together a year-end summary that highlights many of the blog's most popular and well received posts for 2009. If you are not familiar with the site or haven't been following along closely, this is great way to catch up on some of ...

Prof. Racaniello's Viral Vaccines and the Principles of Immunization (Lecture)

12/15/2009
Below is a lecture by Vincent Racaniello, Professor of Microbiology at Columbia University Medical Center and host of the popular This Week in Virology podcast, he presented on viral vaccines for the Immunology course at the Morningside Heights campus of Columbia University. Racaniello uses poliovirus and influenza virus vaccines to ...

Bacterial protein mimics its host to disable a key enzyme

12/13/2009
Bacteria use all sorts of cunning to trick hosts into doing their bidding. One con in their bag of tricks: the molecular mimic. In this ruse, bacteria or their agents look for all purposes like some native molecule in a cell, but then do not behave accordingly. Working with H. ...

NHLBI Funding $13.8M Study for TB Latency, Reactivation

12/13/2009
The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute will spend up to $11.5 million over four years on grants that use 'omics data and other systems biology approaches to develop computational models for use in studying lung response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and host-microbe reactions that cause disease latency and reactivation. Via ...

Bacteria provide new insights into human decision making

12/13/2009
Scientists studying how bacteria under stress collectively weigh and initiate different survival strategies say they have gained new insights into how humans make strategic decisions that affect their health, wealth and the fate of others in society. Their study, published this week in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings ...

H1N1 fatalities top 10,000

12/13/2009
Federal health officials said Thursday that almost 10,000 people had died of swine flu since April, a significant jump from mortality numbers released last month. Officials also said that 50 million Americans, one sixth of the country, had caught the disease, and that 213,000 people had been sick enough to be ...

Virtual Microbiology - Through the microscope, A look at all things small

12/08/2009
Timothy Paustian, Faculty Associate in the Dept. of Bacteriology at University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been working on an online microbiology textbook entitled "Through the Microscope, A Look at all Things Small." According to Paustian's "textbook publishing manifesto," Through the Microscope is a complete textbook, including chapters on structure, ...

Karen E. Nelson, Ph.D., Named Director of J. Craig Venter Institute Rockville, MD Campus

12/08/2009
The J. Craig Venter Institute announced today that Karen E. Nelson, Ph.D. has been named Director of the JCVI Rockville, MD campus. Dr. Nelson and Robert Friedman, Ph.D., Director of the San Diego, CA facility since 2008, are senior leaders of the two campuses of the JCVI and report directly ...

Half of ICU patients with infections are twice as likely to die compared to those without infections, study says.

12/08/2009
Just over half of all patients in intensive care units around the world have infections, and they are more than twice as likely to die in the units as patients who are not infected, a new study has found. The study surveyed the infection status of more than 13,000 patients from ...

Eradication of Guinea Worm in Nigera May be Working

12/08/2009
Nigeria, once the worst-afflicted country in the world, has been free of the parasitic infection Dracunculiasis, aka guinea worm, for the past 12 months according to the Carter Center. People can become infected with guinea worm when they drink pond water infested with microscopic fleas, in which the worm larvae live. ...

More than 20% of U.S. Water Treatment Systems Violate Key Provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act

12/08/2009
More than 20 percent of the nation’s water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last five years, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data. That law requires communities to deliver safe tap water to local residents. But since 2004, the ...

Dr. Jesse Lazear, Yellow Fever and the Mosquito Hypothesis

12/08/2009
In recognition of a new campaign aimed at vaccinating 12 million persons in Benin, Liberia and Sierra Leone by WHO’s Yellow Fever Initiative, Welkin Johnson, Associate Blogger for Small Things Considered and Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School, has a new post that focuses on ...

'Rational drug design' identifies fragments of FDA-approved drugs relevant to emerging viruses

12/07/2009
A massive, data-crunching computer search program that matches fragments of potential drug molecules to the known shapes of viral surface proteins has identified several FDA-approved drugs that could be the basis for new medicines -- if emerging viruses such as the H5N1(avian flu) or H1N1/09 (swine flu) develop resistance to ...

KLM Airlines Complete First Passenger Flight Powered by Biofuel

12/07/2009
"Dutch airline KLM has completed a fifth jet biofuel test flight—and the first with passengers other than flight crew. Using a 50–50 blend of regular jet fuel and biofuel refined from camelina oil in one of its four engines, the flight carried 42 "observers" for an hour on November 23 ...

CDC's FluSurge 2.0 update available for download

12/07/2009
The CDC has announced FluSurge 2.0 a spreadsheet-based software modeling oprogram which provides hospital administrators and public health officials estimates of the surge in demand for hospital-based services during the next influenza pandemic. FluSurge can estimate the number of hospitalizations and deaths during an influenza pandemic (whose length and virulence ...

CDC FluView - U.S. influenza activity decreases for November 22-28, 2009

12/07/2009
During week 47 (November 22-28, 2009), influenza activity continued to decrease in the U.S.: * 956 (15.4%) specimens tested by U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) collaborating laboratories and reported to CDC/Influenza Division were positive for influenza. ...

Researchers find a novel mechanism by which drugs block HIV-1 from entering host cells

12/07/2009
"Publishing in PLoS Pathogens, researchers at from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have found a novel mechanism by which drugs block HIV-1 from entering host cells. Cellular invasion by HIV-1 requires the concerted action of two proteins on the viral surface: gp120 and gp41. The function of gp41 is to ...

Colorado College Students Take First Place at ASM Rocky Mountain Branch Meeting

12/07/2009
Colorado College students Nicole Laniohan ’09 and Nguyen Nguyen ’11 took first prize for the best undergraduate poster presentation at the Rocky Mountain Branch meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. Laniohan and Nguyen, who worked with CC Associate Biology Professor Phoebe Lostroh, presented a poster on “Effects of Oxidative ...

The Attendee's Guide to Scientific Meetings

12/06/2009
Julian Davies, Professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia and a Fellow of the Royal Society, has authored a humorous post on the Small Things Considered blog on the various methods an attendee of a scientific meeting can employ to enhance "maximum satisfaction and poise" one gets out of ...

Review Shows Safety of H1N1 Vaccine, Officials Say

12/06/2009
An extensive review of adverse effects from the swine flu vaccine indicates that the vaccine is safe, with side effects no different from those of seasonal flu vaccines, health officials reported on Friday. The information comes from two monitoring networks. One is the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, which receives ...

Cholera Epidemic Infects Thousands in Kenya

12/06/2009
A cholera epidemic is sweeping across Kenya, with 4,700 cases reported in the past month and 119 deaths in what Kenyan officials are calling “one of the worst outbreaks in a decade.” The most stricken areas are the arid swaths of northern Kenya, which were hit this year by a devastating ...

Soda fountain machines could make you sick,

12/04/2009
"Drinking a beverage from a restaurant's soda fountain machine could make you sick, claims a research team at Hollins University. Water, Coke, Pepsi and these soda's diet versions, when dispensed through fountain machines, contained bacteria that have the potential to cause gastrointestinal illness for people who consume them, according to research ...

Singing about Toxoplasma gondii

11/29/2009
Musical group Dan Kahn and the Painted Bird perform their song "Parasite" live in Philadelphia. The first set of lyrics are about Toxoplasma gondii which is mentioned by name in the song, although it's hard to make all of the vocals out, the rest of the track refers to other ...

Red wine 'prevents tooth decay'

11/29/2009
Here's another reason to drink red wine: "Drinking red wine in moderate amount helps to rinse teeth clean of bacteria during and after meals, says a new study. Earlier studies have linked moderate red wine intake with everything from improved longevity to diminished risk of cardiovascular and neurological diseases. And because the new ...

New method of sterilizing medical equipment - with a plasma bag

11/29/2009
"The practice of sterilising surgical tools and devices has helped radically improve healthcare. Researchers in the Netherlands are trying a new method, using plasma to kill bacteria inside sealed containers. But the old mainstay is a 130-year-old device called an autoclave, which is something like a pressure steamer. Its advantage is that ...

Gangs of Your Gut - A Microbiology Blockbuster Trilogy

11/28/2009
YouTube user JohnnyElRady has created the following three-part microbiology blockbuster movie that is embedded below. It's a campy, low-budget, student production, but it's fun nonetheless. According to the YouTube description, the film was created by a group of 12 students in his MCB 3020 Class in Spring 2009. In his ...

Aston University's Microbiology Roadshow (UK)

11/28/2009
Here's a promo video for Aston University's microbiology course, "The World of Microbiology, Mastering the Invisible, Invincible, Treatable & Preventable," for school children that's funded by the Wellcome Trust. Aston University is located in Birmingham, UK.

In 2008, HIV cases in the EU increased, while AIDS cases continued to decline (except in the Baltics)

11/28/2009
HIV infections remain to be of major public health importance in Europe, with evidence of increasing transmission in several European countries. A total of 25,656 diagnosed cases of HIV infection were reported for 2008 by the countries of the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) (data were not available ...

Could seaweed farming prove a boon for biofuels?

11/28/2009
Researchers at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. and the Seattle-based Bio Architecture Lab (BAL) have secured $9 million from the Department of Energy to explore seaweed's potential as a feedstock for biobutanol, an advanced biofuel. Their venture appears to have largely cornered the current market. Though more than 200 ...

Egypt confirms new human case of avian influenza A(H5N1)

11/28/2009
The Ministry of Health of Egypt has reported a new confirmed human case of avian influenza A(H5N1). The case is a 3 year-old male from Minia Governorate. His symptoms started on 21 November 2009. He was admitted to hospital on 22 November and his condition is stable. Investigations into the source of ...

WHO suggests swine flu mutations do not warrant cause for alarm

11/28/2009
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has informed WHO of a mutation detected in three H1N1 viruses. The viruses were isolated from the first two fatal cases of pandemic influenza in the country and one patient with severe illness. Norwegian scientists have analysed samples from more than 70 patients with clinical ...

Public Domain Images of the H1N1 Influenza Virus

11/28/2009
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has just published a page that offers several public domain images of the H1N1 virus and several 3D graphical representations of seasonal influenza virus. There is also an image of the CDC developed PCR diagnostic test to detect novel H1N1 virus. The images are ...

Scientists are poised to redefine underlying conditions in a more profound way based on individual immune response

11/28/2009
Attending physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and professors at Harvard Medical School Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband, author an op-ed in the New York Times that considers why in the midst of an epidemic some people become severely ill and die while others remain unscathed. "In an epidemic, each ...

Knockouts in human cells point to pathogenic targets

11/27/2009
Whitehead researchers have developed a new type of genetic screen for human cells to pinpoint specific genes and proteins used by pathogens, according to their paper in Science. In most human cell cultures genes are present in two copies: one inherited from the father and one from the mother. Gene inactivation ...

School closures can have a substantial impact on the spread of newly emerging infectious diseases

11/27/2009
A survey carried out in eight European countries has shown that closing schools in the event of an infectious disease pandemic could have a significant role in reducing illness transmission. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Infectious Diseases compared opportunities for infection on school days and weekends/holidays, finding that ...

The Leopard and the Mouse: A Microbiologist's Take

11/27/2009
The Small Things Considered blog has a post by Fred Neidhardt, F.G. Novy Distinguished University Professor, Emeritus, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School at Ann Arbor, that looks at two photos snapped by 19-year-old Casey Gutteridge at the Santago Rare Leopard Project in Hertfordshire, UK. The ...

How to Catch a Cold - A 1951 Walt Disney/Kleenex Production

11/27/2009
A rare educational Disney animated short film from 1951 with a character called Common Sense who warns about the dangers of the common cold.

Using Bacteria to Turn Sand Dunes into Architecture

11/26/2009
Architecture student Magnus Larsson details his bold plan to transform the harsh Sahara desert using bacteria and a surprising construction material: the sand itself.

Benson, Minnesota, gives thanks for turkey poo

11/25/2009
Turkeys are not just good for Thanksgiving. They can help power a town and create jobs using just their waste. A company in Benson, Minnesota called Fibrominn has come up with an ingenious way to turn that litter into energy - generating close to 55 megawatts! This has made Fibrominn ...

Germ Wars! Protect, don't infect.

11/25/2009
Staph Sergeant and his army of germs try to take over the world.

San Diego Living - Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips

11/24/2009
Food Safety Tips from Heather Buonomo, Dept of Environmental Health, San Diego.

How to Thaw a Frozen Thanksgiving Turkey

11/24/2009
Practical advice from K-State Research and Extension food safety specialist Karen Blakeslee .

Edible Food Wrap for Thanksgiving Leftovers

11/24/2009
Your Thanksgiving leftovers might get wrapped in plastic, or stored in a container, but before long they'll go bad. Now researchers have created new technology that could significantly extend the life of your food, and improve food safety overall. And as this ScienCentral News video explains, it's also environmentally friendly.

Self-healing concrete

11/23/2009
A video of Henk Jonkers of Delft University of Technology, recipient of the Delft Design & Engineering Award, describing self-healing concrete made with bacteria that will lead to enormous savings on building and structural maintenance and repair costs.

Malaria Gaining Resistance in Southeast Asia

11/23/2009
"Malaria that is resistant to the best available drug is more widespread in Southeast Asia than previously reported, new research shows. The worrisome finding poses a risk that travelers could carry this strain of the malaria parasite to other parts of the globe and unwittingly spread it, scientists reported Nov. ...

Differentiation of two distinct clusters among currently circulating influenza A(H1N1)v viruses

11/23/2009
Analysis of all complete genome sequences of the pandemic influenza A(H1N1)v virus available as of 10 September 2009 revealed that two closely related but distinct clusters were circulating in most of the affected countries at the same time. The characteristic differences are located in genes encoding the two surface proteins ...

Swine flu kills four in Saudi Arabia on Hajj pilgrimage

11/23/2009
"Four pilgrims have died of swine flu as they take part in this year's annual Mecca pilgrimage, Saudi officials say. Three of the victims - a woman from Morocco and men from Sudan and India - were in their seventies. The fourth was a 17-year-old girl from Nigeria. The Health Ministry said ...

The amateur scientist (that's us)

11/22/2009
Marketing guru Seth Godin has made some interesting observations on why many New Yorkers avoided getting in line for the H1N1 vaccine. "The news here is not that people are irrational, giving too much credence to the dramatic and the local and the short-term (that's not news), but that people have ...

Molecular Biology Animation by VIB

11/22/2009
A detailed animation from VIB, Flanders Institute for Biotechnology, a nonprofit research institute conducting pioneering research in the life sciences. More than 1000 scientists explore the molecular mechanisms responsible for the functioning of the human body, plants and microorganisms.

H1N1 Infections in the U.S. May have 'Peaked'

11/22/2009
Although federal health officials decline to use the word “peaked,” the current wave of swine flu appears to have done so in the United States. Flu activity is coming down in all regions of the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday, though it is still rising in ...

Nanoparticles used in common household items cause genetic damage in mice

11/22/2009
Titanium dioxide nanoparticles, found in everything from cosmetics and sunscreen to paint and vitamins, caused systemic genetic damage in mice, according to a comprehensive study conducted by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles induced single- and double-strand DNA breaks and caused chromosomal damage, as well as ...

Outbreak of Salmonella Infection (1954)

11/22/2009
A film commissioned by the U.S. Air Force that shows a demonstration of what happens during the course of a Salmonella outbreak. The video examines source and means of contamination, factors aiding the survival and transfer of the organism, conditions of environment and general food handling practices. This microbiology motion ...

How to Debate a Creationist

11/22/2009
Here's a pocket reference guide on how to debate a creationist that was created by Michael Shermer, Executive Director of the Skeptics Society. The guide contains a list of arguments put forth by creationists and answers put forth by evolutionists. For example, answers address such arguments as: *Creation-science is scientific and ...

Procter and Gamble recalls Vicks Sinex nasal spray

11/20/2009
CNN is reporting Procter & Gamble is recalling Vicks Sinex nasal spray in the United States, Britain and Germany after finding it contained bacteria, the company said. Procter & Gamble said it announced the voluntary recall after finding the bacteria in a small amount of product made at a plant in ...

The future of the doctor's necktie may be at stake (or, what to get your doctor for the holidays)

11/20/2009
Mounting evidence has emerged in recent years that doctors wearing ties might actually cause as much harm to patients as doctors who don't wash their hands. In one 2004 study of 42 doctors and medical staffers at the New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens, almost 50 percent of the ...

Hey, Today is World Toilet Day (Big Squat)

11/19/2009
Sponsored by the WTO, that's World Toilet Organization, November 19 is World Toilet Day. The event seeks to increase awareness of the importance of toilet sanitation and each individual's right to a safe and hygienic sanitary environment.One of their activities for this year is The Big Squat. Check out the ...

The Startling Epidemiology of H1N1

11/17/2009
Science cartoonist Jay Hosler drafted this comic for the cover of the program for The Allegheny Branch of The American Society for Microbiology (ABASM) meeting at Juniata College this weekend (November 20th and 21st). Amusing. To see more of Hosler's work visit http://www.jayhosler.com

The Winged Scourge featuring the Seven Dwarfs

11/17/2009
Here's a fine Walt Disney Production from 1943 about the Anopheles genus of mosquitos and how it transmits the Plasmodium parasite from human to human. Our heros in this "motion picture" are the seven dwarfs who use a variety of methods to eliminate the "winged scourge." One not-so-green method is ...

Walt Disney's Insects as Carriers of Disease

11/17/2009
Published in 1946 as a motion picture, Walt Disney Productions shows how the fly, the mosquito and the louse are carriers of dysentery, malaria and typhus, and tells how to get rid of these carriers through sanitary measures. This was found by @TwistedBacteria on Twitter

Larry Brilliant Speaks About Bird Flu at Google

11/17/2009
A candid conversation with Larry Brilliant about pandemic bird flu (H5N1), the risks we face, the uncertainties, and to talk about the accuracy and inaccuracies in the mass media. This talk was presented in May of 2006, but it's interesting to watch in light of the current media environment around ...

All about oomycetes - fine reading

11/17/2009
The Small Things Considered blog has just started a three-part series on oomycetes, also known as water molds. The first piece (published today) describes oomycete biology, the other two will focus on a particular oomycete: the late potato blight pathogen. Here's a clip: "As you know, the potato blight caused widespread famine ...

Twittering the student experience (aka Microblogging Microbiology)

11/17/2009
Alan Cann, senior lecturer at the University of Leicester, and colleagues Jo Badge, Stuart Johnson and Alex Moseley, have just published an article/paper on a small experiment involving student use of the microbloging service Twitter and its role in academia. Specifically, Cann and colleagues looked at the rate of use ...

University of Kansas researchers harvest fuel from sewage

11/16/2009
"University of Kansas researchers are working to turn microbes from treated sewage into a commercially viable biofuel, fluid that one day could be used to power the nation's cars, trucks, airplanes and other modes of transportation. But for now, the future grows in four farm tanks at Lawrence's Wastewater Treatment Plant, ...
11/16/2009
Each week, millions of users around the world search for health information online. Google has found a close relationship between how many people search for flu-related topics and how many people actually have flu symptoms. Of course, not every person who searches for "flu" is actually sick, but a pattern ...

Biotorrents

11/16/2009
BioTorrents.net is a web service built by Dr. Morgan G.I. Langille, a bioinformatics researcher at UC Davis Genome Center, that allows scientists to rapidly share their results, datasets, and software using BitTorrent P2P file sharing technology. Some of the service's features include: Researchers can download large datasets much faster. A central listing ...

2011 Raw Oyster Ban Shucked

11/14/2009
The Gainsville Sun is reporting that opposition has put a stop for now to a federal proposal that would have halted the sale of raw oysters from the Gulf of Mexico unless they were treated for a potentially deadly bacteria. The Food and Drug Administration announced last month that effective in ...

How to make a styrofoam-like packing material with fungi

11/13/2009
A new form of biodegradable shipping material by a company called Ecovative is created by filling a reusable mold with agricultural waste like rice husks and is then sprayed with mushroom root cells. The cells eat the husks and grow to form a dense network that packs the mold. After ...

Holy water dispenser combats spread of swine flu

11/13/2009
Luciano Marabese, an Italian inventor has combined his Catholic faith and ingenuity to create the electronic terracotta holy water dispenser. It functions like an automatic soap dispenser in public lavatories - a churchgoer waves his or her hand under a sensor and the machine spurts out holy water. It is ...

Government-developed honeybees are equipped with a keen sniffing ability to root out a deadly parasite

11/12/2009
"In an effort to stem a massive bee die-off, government scientists have developed a population of honeybees that can root out a main culprit in the epidemic -- a parasite that feeds on pupae in nests and spreads viruses within hives. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists hope the population of ...

Washington DC H1N1 Mass Vaccination Poster 2009

11/12/2009
H1N1 Mass Vaccination Clinic poster from a high school located in NorthWest, DC, November 6, 2009.

1976 Swine Flu Vaccination via Jet Injector

11/12/2009
Use of a jet injector during the 1976 New Jersey Influenza A immunization project. 45 million adults in the United States received a vaccine containing the A/New Jersey/76 influenzavirus ("swine flu" virus). Image via the CDC's Flickr site.

Animation depicting the life cycle of H1N1 influenza-A

11/11/2009
Here is an amazing animation depicting the life cycle of H1N1 influenza-A. It was created by a company called XVIVO for a firm called Zirus whose mission is to "provide keys to conquer viruses." According to Zirus' site their new classes of antivirotics are being used to cure and manage ...

A remarkable diversity of bone-eating worms

11/10/2009
The females of the recently discovered Osedax marine worms feast on submerged bones via a complex relationship with symbiotic bacteria, and they are turning out to be far more diverse and widespread than scientists expected. Californian researchers investigating the genetic history of Osedax worms have found that up to twelve ...

41 Nobel Prize Winners sign open letter to Congress in support of the Federal Research Public Access Act

11/10/2009
"As scientists and Nobel Laureates, we write to express our strong support for S. 1373, the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA). This bi-partisan legislation, sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX), would enhance access to federally funded, published research articles for scientists, physicians, health care ...

One fish tank, two discoveries - archaea ammonia eater

11/10/2009
It's not every day you find clues to the planet's inner workings in aquarium scum. But that's what happened a few years ago when University of Washington researchers cultured a tiny organism from the bottom of a Seattle Aquarium tank and found it can digest ammonia, a key environmental function. ...

The Limitations of the Luria-Bertani Medium

11/10/2009
Hiroshi Nakaido, PBD Faculty Scientist, Structural Biology Department, and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UC Berkeley, has authored a guest post on the Small Things Considered Blog regarding the limitations of LB medium. "LB broth contains, per ml, 10 mg tryptone (a mixture of peptides formed by the ...

10 Ways Companies Are Cashing In On Swine Flu

11/07/2009
The Business Insider outlines 10 ways companies, legitimate and not-so-legitimate, are cashing in on H1N1. "As we head into flu season, the hysteria is ramping up all over again, and what that really means is profit! From body suits, to vaccines, emergency food packs, and underground bunkers...." Click source to read more.

Podcasts as Tools in Introductory Environmental Studies

11/06/2009
A recent paper in the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education by Christine Vatovec and Teri Balser examines the effectiveness of using podcasts as an educational tool. Out of 209 survey respondents, the authors found: "The majority of students reported enjoying using the podcasts in the assignment (87%), found them to ...

Test 2

11/03/2009
Chicken Mushroom 2

Test

11/03/2009
Chicken Mushrooms

The Lab Safety Song

11/03/2009
A musical extravaganza on the importance and execution of laboratory safety as presented by puppets.

Larry Brilliant - Help stop the next pandemic

11/03/2009
Dr. Larry Brilliant talks about how smallpox was eradicated from the planet, and calls for a new global system that can identify and contain pandemics before they spread.

Conversations With History: A Microbiologist’s Intellectual Odyssey

11/03/2009
"Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Lucy Shapiro, Ludwig Professor of Cancer Research in the School of Medicine, Stanford University, for a discussion of her career in the biological sciences. Topics discussed include unraveling the mystery of bacterial DNA, creativity in the sciences, the interdisciplinary nature of biology, the policy challenges ...

'Stormy' the ferret dies from H1N1 infection in Nebraska

11/02/2009
A news station in Hastings, Nebraska (KHAS) has reported that Stormy the ferret, one of four ferrets in a family of humans sick with the flu, has died from the H1N1 virus. Ferrets have respiratory systems similar to humans and are known to be susceptible to human flu viruses. {flvremote}http://new.khastv.com/uploads/8b37dfe2-70bd-3ab1.flv{/flvremote}

FDA to ban sale of raw oysters from Gulf of Mexico

11/02/2009
"Federal officials plan to ban sales of raw oysters harvested from the Gulf of Mexico unless the shellfish are treated to destroy potentially deadly bacteria _ a requirement that opponents say could deprive diners of a delicacy cherished for generations. The plan has also raised concern among oystermen that they could ...

Five Questions about Microsporidia

11/02/2009
An article published in PLoS Pathogens by Patrick Keeling, scholar of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Evolutionary Biology Program, and assistant professor, Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, answers 5 basic questions about microsporidia. What Are Microsporidia? Are They Protists, Fungi, or What? Are They Really “Amitochondriate”? What Are Microsporidian Genomes Like? How ...

When science is lacking, good leadership is critical

11/02/2009
Laura Kahn, research scholar at Princeton University's Program on Science and Global Security, has written a column on how leaders' decisions on infectious disease policy can impact world health for better or worse. "Since the middle of the twentieth century, more than 330 novel infectious diseases have emerged in human ...

A MRSA strain five times more lethal than other strains

11/02/2009
A strain of MRSA that causes bloodstream infections is five times more lethal than other strains and has shown to have some resistance to the potent antibiotic drug vancomycin used to treat MRSA, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study. The study found that 50 percent of the patients infected with ...

P. aeruginosa and its antibiotic and host immune response shield

11/02/2009
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the Technical University of Denmark along with other collaborators in Denmark and the US found that the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa can 'switch on' production of molecules that kill white blood cells – preventing the bacteria being eliminated by the body's immune system. P. aeruginosa ...

Flu Shot Locator

11/02/2009
Flu.gov is launching a zip code based seasonal flu vaccine and H1N1 vaccine locator that works in collaboration with State health information websites. Currently, Flu.gov has a by-State only locater available now. While most States are posting new information every day about availability, distribution to priority groups and where to ...

An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All

11/02/2009
Amy Wallace, freelance writer and editor-at-large at Los Angeles Magazine, has published a in-depth feature in Wired exploring why many Americans shun vaccinations and place trust in the pseudoscience around topics such as autism, H1N1 and many other illnesses. While a good chunk of this article focuses on Paul Offit, ...

A Petri Dish Dream Vacation

10/30/2009
"The famous tropical sunset scene by Nobel Prize-winner Dr. Roger Tsien, University of California San Diego, USA. This image was created using transgenic bacteria expressing fluorescent protein genes." Via MicrobialArt.com

E.coli Grocery

10/30/2009
There is a new set of photographs on the Small Things Considered blog that are quite interesting. All of them look as if they originate from the 1950's to 1960's decades. A few microscopic images resemble actions and figures in popular culture, one shows a well known microbiologist smoking in ...

Could H1N1 take down the Internet?

10/29/2009
An article in The Washington Post considers the possible impact the H1N1 pandemic could have on the Internet. "As the spread of the H1N1 flu keeps more Americans away from work and school, a federal report warns that all those people logging on to the Web from home could overwhelm Internet ...

Tuberculosis: A Persistent Threat to Global Health - Part 4

10/28/2009
John D. McKinney, Global Health Institute, School of Life Sciences, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), provides an overview of the natural history of TB infection and the global impact of TB on human health. "All pathogens must acquire and assimilate nutrients from their hosts in order to grow and multiply ...

Tuberculosis: A Persistent Threat to Global Health - Part 3

10/28/2009
John D. McKinney, Global Health Institute, School of Life Sciences, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), provides an overview of the natural history of TB infection and the global impact of TB on human health. "The principal obstacle to successful treatment of tuberculosis is the lengthy duration of current regimens, which ...

Tuberculosis: A Persistent Threat to Global Health - Part 2

10/28/2009
John D. McKinney, Global Health Institute, School of Life Sciences, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), provides an overview of the natural history of TB infection and the global impact of TB on human health. "Tuberculosis remains one of the most important causes of human disease and death despite the introduction ...

Mad Dogs and Microbiologists

10/27/2009
Guest blogger William C. Summers, Yale University School of Medicine, authors a post at Small Things Considered about the potential for a new rabies vaccine as evidenced in a recent PLoS paper titled "Effective preexposure and postexposure prophylaxis of rabies with a highly attenuated recombinant rabies virus." "Both Pasteur's dilemma and ...

Microsoft's H1N1 Flu Self-Assessment Test

10/25/2009
Microsoft has licensed an online H1N1 self assessment test from Emory University. "During flu season this year, emergency rooms and doctors' offices might become crowded with patients seeking help for flu symptoms. This assessment is based on material licensed from Emory University. It is meant to tell you what some experts ...

What if everything we think we know about fighting the flu is wrong?

10/25/2009
An interesting, and sure to be controversial, article in November's Atlantic magazine asks: "What if everything we think we know about fighting influenza is wrong? What if flu vaccines do not protect people from dying—particularly the elderly, who account for 90 percent of deaths from seasonal flu? And what if the ...

Obama declares H1N1 national emergency

10/24/2009
"President Obama on Saturday declared a national emergency to deal with the "rapid increase in illness" from the H1N1 influenza virus. The move allows Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements" to help health care facilities enact emergency plans to deal with the "pandemic." ...

Fungus-treated Violin Outdoes Stradivarius

10/23/2009
"At the 27th “Osnabrücker Baumpflegetagen” (one of Germany’s most important annual conferences on all aspects of forest husbandry), Empa researcher Francis Schwarze’s "biotech violin" dared to go head to head in a blind test against a stradivarius – and won! A brilliant outcome for the Empa violin, which is made ...

Infectious Disease in the Age of Google - 10-22-09 at Koshland Science Museum (DC)

10/22/2009
Tonight, at the Koshland Science Museum in Washington, D.C., Amy L. Sonricker, MPH, Project Coordinator for the HealthMap project based at the Children's Hospital of Boston, and William Warshauer, Executive Vice President, Voxiva, will present a hands-on exploration of how computers, the internet, and phones are providing the new hi-tech ...

Swine Flu News Gets Politicized - Less than Half of Americans Want the Jab

10/19/2009
Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted Oct. 9-12 among 1,003 adults, finds that fewer than half (46%) say news reports are presenting the swine flu's danger about right, while nearly as many (43%) say news reports are overstating the danger; ...

The differences between adaptive and random genetic changes during the evolution of E. coli

10/18/2009
After Twenty-one years and 40,000 generations of bacteria later, Richard Lenski, professor of microbial ecology at Michigan State University, reveals new details about the differences between adaptive and random genetic changes during evolution in E. coli. "Sequencing genomes of various generations of the bacteria, which had been frozen periodically over ...

Three Hogs in Minnesota test positive for H1N1

10/18/2009
In late August of this year, three hogs at the Minnesota State Fair tested positive for H1N1, aka Swine Flu, according to the Department of Agriculture's veterinary lab in Ames, Iowa. "The department said the test results were preliminary and would not be confirmed for a few days. But if the ...

HAART treatment protects against HIV transmission to newborns, study says

10/16/2009
Mothers receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to treat HIV-1 infection are less likely than untreated mothers to transmit the virus to their newborns through breastfeeding, according to a new study. The findings, now available online in the Nov. 15 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, suggest HAART regimens ...

Scientists call for paradigm shift in how we approach infectious disease and population mobility

10/16/2009
When people travel, pathogens often hitch a ride with them. As about a billion people cross international borders each year, microbes are being spread farther and wider than ever before. In a paper published in Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID), a journal of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Douglas ...

2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccine Supply Status

10/16/2009
In an era of transparency, the CDC is doing it's part by posting every Friday the H1N1 vaccine supply status for all states and U.S. territories. Click "source" to view the status of allocations, orders and shipments.

Obscure gut microbe keeps mice immune systems in check

10/16/2009
Medical researchers have long suspected that obscure bacteria living within the intestinal tract may help keep the human immune system in balance. An international collaboration co-led by scientists at NYU Langone Medical Center has now identified a bizarre-looking microbial species that can single-handedly spur the production of specialized immune cells ...

Student research raises hope for future

10/16/2009
Here's a nice story from the Rider News, the student newspaper of Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ, on how the American Society for Microbiology supports undergraduate research. "The research of two senior biology majors may have an effect on the medicines of the future, and they have the American Society ...

New AAM Report out Now - Antibiotic Resistance: An Ecological Perspective on an Old Problem

10/16/2009
The American Academy of Microbiology has just published a colloquium report entitled "Antibiotic Resistance: An Ecological Perspective on an Old Problem." According to the report, it is possible to co-exist with resistance by- developing new strategies to prevent resistance from spreading and, where it already exists, identify the strains we need ...

Earlier exposure to influenza may provide some immunity to current H1N1 strains

10/15/2009
University of California, Davis, researchers studying the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus have identified a group of immunologically important sites on the virus that are also present in seasonal flu viruses that have been circulating for years. These molecular sites appear to result in some level of immunity to the new ...

Don't be quick to blame the whiskey and smokes for throat cancer, HPV may be the new culprit

10/15/2009
Oncologist Maura Gillison at Ohio State University and researchers from the National Cancer Institute estimate that 4,000 people, 75% of them men, develop a new form of tonsil cancer each year caused by the human papillomavirus. "The old cigarettes-and-alcohol form of the disease is being eclipsed by a new form, caused ...

UMD's Center for Vaccine Development chart genetic variability in malaria parasite

10/15/2009
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) have charted the extreme genetic differences that occur over time in the most dangerous malaria parasite in the world. While there is no approved vaccine for malaria, various experimental vaccines are in development. The CVD study ...

Canadian Government Invests $2.4 million in H1N1 Research

10/15/2009
The Government of Canada through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) today announced support for five new research projects designed to help further understand and address the H1N1 flu virus. "Canada is a global leader in H1N1 flu virus research, including research with our international partners on a safe and ...

National Museum of Natural History plans a new hall exhibit on the story of human evolution

10/15/2009
The National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., has announced it is dedicating a new hall to the story of human evolution that will partly focus on how changes in the natural world affected human development. "To tell the biological, cultural and ecological story, exhibitions will include 75 cast ...

H3N8 Dog Flu

10/14/2009
First identified at a greyhound racing kennel a few years ago, canine influenza is now cropping up all over the U.S. In this episode of Discoveries & Breakthroughs Inside Science, Cynda Crawford, D.V.M., Ph.D., professor of shelter medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville, is interviewed about this emerging ...

Peter C. Doherty - Overview of the Immune System

10/14/2009
Peter C. Doherty, Laureate Professor (Nobel Medicine 1996), Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, Australia, gives a general presentation of the complex immune system we have inherited throughout evolution at BioVision from Lyon, France.

Seas in Danger - Documentary

10/14/2009
Over-fishing, newly introduced species, the destruction of natural habitats, chemical substances and heavy metals, tank-flushing at sea, and microbiological pollution are just a few of the problems facing Europe's seas. This 10 min documentary is about the state of Europe's marine environment and the announcement of The European Commission's intention ...

NIH funds new virus database at UT Southwestern

10/14/2009
The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $15.7 million contract to UT Southwestern Medical Center and Northrop Grumman Corp. to develop an open-access national online database and analysis resource center that will help scientists study and combat viruses such as those that cause hepatitis, encephalitis, smallpox, acute respiratory distress ...

CDC 2009 H1N1 and Seasonal Flu Fact Sheet - What You Should Know About Flu Antiviral Drugs

10/14/2009
Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) that fight against the flu in your body. While CDC recommends flu vaccine as the first and most important step in preventing flu, antiviral drugs are a second line of defense against the flu. Click "source" to read the ...

Could Influenza-like illnesses misrepresent the gravity of actual influenza?

10/14/2009
In a guest editorial published in BMJ's Clinical Evidence by Tom Jeffereson, Coordinator for the Cochrane Vaccines Field, Rome, Italy, he concludes, after looking at data from the control arms of 95 influenza vaccine trials involving 1 million subjects over the course of four decades, that influenza is a relatively ...

Tracking Counterfeit Anti-malarial Drugs in Southeast Asia

10/14/2009
Smithsonian magazine has published a feature on tracking counterfeit malarial drugs and attempts to shut down the black market industry. "Southeast Asia is awash in counterfeit medications, none more insidious than those for malaria, a deadly infectious disease that is usually curable if treated early with appropriate drugs. Pharmacies throughout ...

Oct 15 is Global Handwashing Day

10/14/2009
Global Handwashing Day starts October 15, 2009. This international awareness day is brought to you by the Academy for Educational Development, CDC, UNICEF and several other partners. The strategy for the United States is being led by the U.S. Coalition for Child Survival which is preparing a media blitz around ...

Understanding cell organization

10/13/2009
Franklin M. Harold, Department of Microbiology, University of Washington has authored an interesting guest post on www.SmallThingsConsidered.us that examines the process of cell structural organization and assembly: "Structural organization is one of the most conspicuous features of cells, and possibly the most elusive. No one really doubts that that cell ...

Interview with Paul Turner - The Evolution of Disease

10/12/2009
"Paul Turner received his Ph.D. in 1995 from the Center for Microbial Ecology, at Michigan State University. He did postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Health, University of Valencia in Spain, and University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Turner is currently Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at ...

All for one, and one for all! Symbiosis in a warming world

10/06/2009
In what appears to be a warming world, understanding how plants can tolerate and prosper at elevated temperatures is an intriguing topic. Small Things Considered's Associate Blogger Mark O. Martin looks at the symbiosis between panic grass, a virus, an endophytic fungus, and elevated temperatures in geothermal soils. "The story began ...

Can we domesticate microbes?

10/05/2009
Evolutionary biologist Paul Ewald discusses germs. Why are some more harmful than others? How could we make the harmful ones benign? Searching for answers, he examines diarrhea.

Dr. Satyajit Rath of India's National Institute of Immunology discusses the AIDS vaccine trial in Thailand and its success.

10/05/2009
Dr. Satyajit Rath of India's National Institute of Immunology discusses the recent AIDS vaccine trial being conducted in Thailand and its success. Via Newsclick.in

Chicago family seeks answers in Malcolm Casadaban's death by plague

10/05/2009
ABC News video on the late Malcom Casadaban, a University of Chicago researcher who passed away after exposure to Yersinia pestis. "The tragic irony is that Professor Casadaban had been trying to develop a vaccine so that thousands of people around the world wouldn't die a painful, ugly death from a ...
10/05/2009
If you’ve ever suffered through a bad case of food poisoning, you’ll be glad to know that Naval scientist Patricia Guerry has made a breakthrough that may dramatically reduce the odds that you’ll have to relive this miserable experience.

Anatomy of a Pandemic

09/21/2009
CBCNews.ca has a really great interactive time line that "illustrates some key dates in the evolution of the first pandemic of the 21st century." Click "source" to view.

Pets can get MRSA from their owners

09/21/2009
MRSA, the microbe also known as the flesh eating bacterium, not only infects humans, but can also be transmitted from people to animals and then back again. "In a study this summer in The American Journal of Infection Control, Elizabeth A. Scott and her colleagues at the Center for Hygiene ...

Dr. Clarke's H1N1 Rap

09/18/2009
The H1N1 Rap was written, composed, produced, and performed by John D. Clarke, MD, FAAFP, for the HHS' www.flu.gov public service announcement contest. Out of the over 200 entries submitted, a panel of 12 video communication and public health experts determined the top 10 entries. These were put on the ...

Campylobacter outbreak linked to raw milk in Wisconsin

09/18/2009
DNA test results and other evidence have now established that an outbreak of illness involving at least 35 people, the majority children and teens, was linked to drinking unpasteurized milk. Wisconsin food safety officials are cautioning consumers not to drink raw milk and farmers not to sell it to the ...

Farm runoff and well water pollution

09/18/2009
A New York Times ongoing series about the state and impact of polluted waters in the United States features a story about farm waste in Morrison, WI and it's impact on local well water. "In Morrison, more than 100 wells were polluted by agricultural runoff within a few months, according to ...

Less than one third of healthcare workers in Germany and elsewhere have themselves vaccinated against influenza

09/18/2009
Less than one third of healthcare workers in Germany and elsewhere have themselves vaccinated against classic influenza. This reluctance is astounding, firstly because vaccination against influenza viruses is considered safe and effective and secondly because it has been proved to prevent nosocomial transmission of disease to patients—provided at least 50% ...

The Good-Enough Clockus of Prochlorococcus

09/18/2009
Fine Reading: The Good-Enough Clockus of Prochlorococcus by Elio Schaechter from the Small Things Considered blog reviews a recent report from Ilka Axmann's lab in Berlin that concerns the marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus and it's biological clockworks. "The authors propose that their data provide biochemical support for the observed evolutionary reduction of ...

Universities use social media to get flu and handwashing messages to students

09/18/2009
An interesting article on how colleges and universities are using traditional media in combination with social media to get out H1N1/swine flu prevention tips to their student commuities. "Most cases of that strain (sometimes called “swine flu”) have been mild to moderate so far, but with so many students in close ...

'Team Diarrhea' tracks foodborne pathogens

09/17/2009
The investigative work of a group of public health graduate students who work for the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has helped find the sources of the country's two most recent major salmonella outbreaks, in peanuts earlier this year and in jalapeño peppers (previously blamed on tomatoes) in 2008. Dubbed ...

Treating IBD with probiotics? Use caution.

09/17/2009
Researchers from the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy, analyzed three strains of the common probiotic Lactobacillus for their immunological properties and efficacy to treat or prevent inflammatory bowel disease in mice. The results suggests that each probiotic strain should be characterized for their immune activity before being proposed ...

Climate Change, Marine Mucilage and Microbial Pathogens in the Mediterranean Sea

09/17/2009
A recent paper published in PLoS suggests that the warming of the Mediterranean Sea's surface water is turning "marine snow," mostly organic detritus falling from the upper layers of the water column, into marine mucilage, a gelatinous evolving stage of marine snow, which can reach huge dimensions and cover areas ...

Smart phone apps may enhance epidemiological or ecological data collection

09/17/2009
PLoS One has published an interesting paper that considers using smart phones for scientific field data collection and suggests mobile apps could also be beneficial for recruiting ‘citizen scientists’ to contribute data easily to central databases through their mobile phone. Here's the abstract: Background Epidemiologists and ecologists often collect data in the ...

Badge sensor alerts health-care workers of need to wash hands

09/17/2009
A wireless, credit-card-sized sensor that can detect whether health care workers have properly washed their hands upon entering a patient's room is being studied at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. The device could greatly reduce the number of hospital acquired infections nationwide since most are transmitted through contact due ...

10 year US project to fight malaria builds thriving African mosquito net industry

09/17/2009
In a decade-long initiative to protect millions of families from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, a U.S. government-funded project helped sell 50 million bed nets in seven countries, crafted a voucher system to allow the poor to receive them for free or partial cost, and created enough incentives for private companies ...

CDC Releases Small Business H1N1 Preparedness Planning Guide

09/17/2009
Small businesses play a key role in protecting employees’ health and safety as well as limiting the impact to the economy and society during an influenza pandemic. Advance planning for pandemic influenza, a novel infectious disease that could occur in varying levels of severity, is critical. Companies that provide critical ...

Low levels of key antibodies may lead to severe cases of H1N1

09/17/2009
Australian researchers may have uncovered a clue as to why some people who catch swine flu suffer life-threatening illness. And if they are right, there is an existing weapon in the treatment arsenal that could help reduce the pandemic death toll. The group found that pregnant women who became severely ill ...

Efforts to Reduce Gulf's 'Dead Zone' May be Hampered by Increase in Biofuel Production

09/17/2009
Scientists in Pennsylvania report that boosting production of crops used to make biofuels could make a difficult task to shrink a vast, oxygen-depleted "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico more difficult. The zone, which reached the size of Massachusetts in 2008, forms in summer and threatens marine life and ...

Eradicating dormant TB bacteria

09/17/2009
Researchers have found a pair of compounds that kill dormant tuberculosis bacteria in monkey and lab-grown human cells, according to a study to be published on Thursday. The discovery could lead to new drugs that disable the microbe, which lies inactive in approximately two-thirds of the world's population. The discovery ...

New airline air filtration system promises to eliminate 99.9% of airborne pathogens

09/16/2009
A new airline air filtration system promises to eliminate 99.9% of airborne pathogens in the passenger cabin. "The aerospace giant BAE Systems has joined forces with Quest International, a small company based in Cheadle, near Manchester, to develop a machine that destroys up to 99.9 per cent of infectious viruses and ...

Doctors warn online antibiotic purchases are a growing problem

09/16/2009
"Think you need antibiotics to fight that cough or cold? Numerous Web sites are willing to sell them to you without a doctor's prescription — a loophole, researchers say, that could undermine efforts to curb the problem of bacteria that shrug off powerful antibiotics. In a simple Internet search, investigators found ...

Ileostomy patients harbor different gut microbes

09/16/2009
UPI reports that researchers from the University of California-Davis and Georgetown University Medical Center studied bacterial DNA in patients with an ileostomy -- an opening into their small bowel -- and patients with closed ileostomies. The research team found in ileostomy patients, the gut bacteria were mostly lactobaccilli and enterobacteria -- ...

Genomic Analyses Could Lead to “Field Guide to Microbes”

09/16/2009
The swell of enthusiasm for analyzing microbial genomes continues, with keen interest in doing more and more genomes in smaller analytic formats at lower costs. Even while greater numbers of microbiologists jump into this fray, some continue to fret over what to make of these expanding findings, sharing thoughts and ...

'Make your own ethanol' refineries hit US market

09/16/2009
"Dallas-based Allard Research and Development LLC has unveiled mini ethanol refineries for small businesses and farms capable of producing 100, 200, 500 or 1,000 gallons of ethanol per day, depending on the model. "The fully automated versions include 15in touch-screen LCD monitors and iPhone remote control monitoring capability. The systems ...

NZ company converts waste gases from steel mills into biofuel

09/16/2009
New Zealand biofuel company LanzaTech says it has developed a microbe that can convert waste gases from steel mills into high-octane ethanol. LanzaTech claims to be the first company to work with steel mills to develop a waste gas-to-ethanol process capable of capturing the carbon monoxide that is typically released by ...

Clinical trial of antiretroviral-based HIV prevention strategies for women now under way

09/16/2009
A new, large-scale clinical trial is examining whether antiretroviral medications normally used to treat HIV infection can also prevent HIV infection in women when applied as a vaginal gel or taken as oral tablets once daily. The study, called Vaginal and Oral Interventions to Control the Epidemic (VOICE) or MTN-003, will ...

Novel antibiotic stops traveler's diarrhea with once-daily dosing

09/16/2009
The novel antibiotic prulifloxacin effectively stopped traveler's diarrhea with once-daily dosing in the second phase III trial of the drug, researchers reported here. A three-day course of the experimental fluoroquinolone reduced the duration of diarrhea compared with placebo (P

FDA approves vaccines for H1N1

09/16/2009
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the long-awaited vaccines for the H1N1 "swine" flu virus this afternoon. It is expected to be available in a month at about 90,000 locations nationwide, the Associated Press reported. "We will have enough vaccine available for everyone," Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human ...

How to make chicha beer with real spit!

09/15/2009
This is the story of how to brew chicha beer with a saliva starter as told by the Dogfish Head brewer.

Greenland microbe revived after 120,000 years

09/15/2009
A tiny bacterium has been coaxed back to life after spending 120,000 years buried three kilometres deep in the Greenland ice sheet. Officially named Herminiimonas glaciei, the bug consists of rods just 0.9 micrometres long and 0.4 micrometres in diameter, about 10 to 50 times smaller than the well-known bacterium, Escherichia ...

Ethanol plants using hops to eliminate bacteria

09/15/2009
An increasing number of ethanol companies are using hops to fight off nasty bacteria that can harm ethanol plant operations, according to Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul, Minn. Though antibiotics work well they have become a public relations problem as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it was ...

Study involving 21 Spanish hospitals states 50% of swine flu, ICU patients had no previous health problems

09/15/2009
A Spanish study of ICU patients with H1N1, the largest ever conducted in Europe on influenza cases requiring intensive care, presented on the website of the medical journal ‘Critical Care,’ contradicts one of the messages on influenza A released by Spain's Ministry of Health and Department of Health, which have ...

Tasmania sparrow die-off and the possible connection with human salmonella infections

09/15/2009
There is mounting concern about whether humans have caught a strain of salmonella discovered in Tasmania's sparrow population which is experiencing a notable decline. "Four cases of the salmonella in humans this year has Australian investigators wondering if there may be a link between a wide spread die-off of sparrows in ...

Methane mining may set off CO2 timebomb in Rwanda

09/15/2009
The New Scientist reports that a "gold rush" to extract valuable methane from the depths of lake Kivu in Rwanda may trigger an outburst of gas that could wash a deadly, suffocating blanket over the 2 million people who live around the lake's shores. "The lake, which is almost half a ...

CDC: General Questions and Answers on 2009 H1N1 Influenza A Vaccine Safety

09/15/2009
The CDC has just released a general question and answers document on 2009 H1N1 influenza A vaccine safety. "We expect the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine to have a similar safety profile as seasonal flu vaccines, which have a very good safety track record. Over the years, hundreds of millions of Americans ...

A Backgrounder on Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)

09/15/2009
The CDC just released a Guillain-Barré syndrome fact sheet and addresses how they will be closely monitoring the safety of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine in relation to this illness. In 2003 The Institute of Medicine (IOM) conducted a thorough scientific review and concluded that people who received the 1976 swine ...

Valomaciclovir may be effective in treating mono

09/15/2009
In a study presented at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in San Francisco, University of Minnesota researchers found that students who receive an antiviral medication early in the course of the illness become less sick than those offered the standard advice to rest for several weeks. The ...

H1N1 patients may be infectious 10+ days

09/15/2009
USA Today reports two studies presented at ICAAC "by researchers in Canada and Singapore found that roughly one in five patients continue shedding the new H1N1 virus, or swine flu, with one study suggesting that patients may still shed virus despite treatment with Tamiflu. The research suggests that the current prevention ...

Open-Access Flu Research Web Site Is Relaunched Amid Controversy

09/15/2009
A database designed to help researchers worldwide develop vaccines for avian and seasonal influenza viruses, not to mention the prolific H1N1 "swine flu," is now at the center of an ugly rift between its co-creators. Both the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID) Foundation that initiated the effort ...

Sickle-Cell Anemia: Vaccines in Wealthy Countries May Save Lives of Children in Africa

09/15/2009
The New York Times reports that "a new study, published last week in the British journal Lancet, showed that invasive bacteria were an important cause of those children’s deaths and that many of the bacteria were the same kinds that affect children in wealthy countries, which have vaccines against them. Those ...

The Morning Shower, aka Bacteria Bath

09/15/2009
Norman R. Pace of the University of Colorado and colleagues have found that the morning shower is essentially a bath in bacteria. "As part of a project to measure microbes in the indoor human environment, they looked at shower water, in part because in showers bacteria are incorporated into fine droplets ...

Hand-washing: Your best bet to ward off the flu

09/15/2009
An article in the New York Times by Tara Parker-Pope analyzes several recent hand-washing studies and concludes that soap and water, or alcohol-based hand sanitizing gels, are your best bets to stave off the flu. "It sounds so simple as to be innocuous, a throwaway line in public-health warnings about swine ...

New 'adjuvant' could hold future of vaccine development

09/15/2009
Scientists at Oregon State University have developed a new "adjuvant" that could allow the creation of important new vaccines, possibly become a universal vaccine carrier and help medical experts tackle many diseases more effectively. Adjuvants are substances that are not immunogenic themselves, but increase the immune response when used in combination ...

Tuberculosis patients can reduce transmissability by inhaling interferon through a nebulizer

09/15/2009
A new study published in the September 15, 2009, issue of PLoS ONE found that patients with cavitary pulmonary tuberculosis receiving anti-TB medications supplemented with nebulized interferon-gamma have fewer bacilli in the lungs and less inflammation, thereby reducing the transmissibility of tuberculosis in the early phase of treatment. Tuberculosis, often called ...

Authorities in Papua New Guinea fight to contain simultaneous outbreaks of cholera, influenza and dysentery

09/14/2009
Click "source" to view the video.

University of Utah tests H2O disinfection on International Space Station

09/14/2009
Space is not a fun place to get a stomach bug. To ensure drinking water is adequately disinfected, University of Utah chemists developed a two-minute water quality monitoring method that just started six months of tests aboard the International Space Station. "Now they bring water back on the space shuttle and ...

Is a $10 Wal-Mart gift card worth a syphilis test?

09/14/2009
"For more than 60 years, syphilis was largely on the decline. But in recent years, the venereal disease has been on the rise again — particularly in the post-recession South. In Forsyth County, N.C., where the number of cases so far in 2009 — 140 — is more than triple all ...

New drug Peramivir fights flu as well as Tamiflu does

09/14/2009
Business Week reports "researchers delivered a double dose of good news Sunday in the fight against flu: successful tests of what could become the first new flu medicine in a decade, and the strongest evidence yet that such drugs save lives, not just shorten illness. A single intravenous dose of the ...

Master gene creates natural-born killers

09/13/2009
The New Scientist reports that the discovery of the master gene behind the front-line troops of the body's immune system could promise a host of new treatments for disease. Called E4BP4, the gene kick-starts production of natural killer (NK) cells in the bone marrow. Mice genetically engineered to lack the gene ...

Taking Swine Flu fashion to the streets

09/13/2009
With school back in session but swine flu vaccine not yet available and various reports suggesting high fatalities from H1N1 while others say there is nothing to worry about, a New York Times reporter took to the streets wearing a $69 suit called the Pandemic Emergency Defense System manufactured by ...

School-Located Vaccination Planning Materials and Templates

09/13/2009
Documents designed by the CDC to provide information for planning and conducting school-located 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccination clinics that target school-aged children enrolled in school and potentially other groups in the community. The targeted audience for these materials is primarily state and local public health department immunization and preparedness staff ...

Disaster Plans Get a Second Look for Fall's Predicted Swine Flu Influx

09/13/2009
"Even if swine flu remains a mild infection, the pandemic could be the tipping point for an emergency medical system teetering on the edge. "The worry is, the health-care delivery system could be overwhelmed by people who are sick or think they are sick," said Kim Elliott of Trust for America's ...

An hour on the life of Charles Darwin with E.O. Wilson and James Watson

09/12/2009
An hour on the life and work of Charles Darwin with James Watson, chancellor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and E.O. Wilson, professor emeritus, Harvard University. This aired on the Charlie Rose show on PBS.

Potato Blight has the Genome of Death

09/12/2009
Researchers have sequenced the genome of the mould that causes blight and found it keeps a huge arsenal of potato-destroying genes, ready to evolve around whatever defences taters can muster. On the plus side, the sequence also suggests ways to fight back. Blight is caused by an oomycete or water mould, ...

Defying expert expectations, clinical trials of H1N1 vaccine show one dose is effective

09/12/2009
"Defying the expectations of experts, clinical trials are showing that the new H1N1 swine flu vaccine protects with only one dose instead of two, so the vaccine supplies now being made will go twice as far as had been predicted. That means it should be possible to vaccinate — well before ...

Nitric Oxide May Be Key to Overcoming Antibiotic Resistance

09/12/2009
A new study, co-authored by Evgeny Nudler, professor of biochemistry at New York University Langone Medical Center in Manhattan, and published online yesterday in Science, shows that stopping the creation of bacterial nitric oxide synthases (bNOS), enzymes that contribute to the production of NO, may leave microbial pathogens more vulnerable ...

Puting a virus in two overlapping quantum states

09/12/2009
Researchers from Germany and Spain are proposing a real experiment to probe whether a virus can exist in a superposition of two quantum states. Such superpositions are typically the domain of smaller, inanimate objects such as atoms. But the team believes that their technique, using finely tuned lasers, will soon ...

Gardasil - It's just not for girls anymore

09/12/2009
A medical advisory panel for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted today that the use of Gardasil to prevent HPV, a sexually transmitted disease, in males ages nine to 26 would be both safe and effective. The panel's decision could open up a large market for Gardasil maker, Merck, ...

Killer T cells: power unleashed

09/12/2009
"Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have found that killer T cells -- the sentinels of the immune system – possess a hidden strength that may be used to improve vaccine design for tough-to-beat bugs, such as Staphylococcus aureus. The new experiments show that killer T cells can attack bacteria that attach ...

Study shows most students aren't protecting themselves from H1N1

09/12/2009
As public health experts warn of potential widespread outbreaks of H1N1 flu this school year, a new study from North Carolina State University shows that students do not comply with basic preventative measures as much as they think do. In other words, the kids aren't washing their hands. "Hand washing is ...

Four-fifths of businesses foresee problems maintaining operations during an H1N1 outbreak

09/12/2009
In a national survey of businesses that looks at their preparations for a possible widespread H1N1 outbreak, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers found that only one-third believe they could sustain their business without severe operational problems if half their workforce were absent for two weeks due to H1N1 ...

Vaccination of 70 percent of US population could control swine flu pandemic

09/12/2009
An aggressive vaccination program that first targets children and ultimately reaches 70 percent of the U.S. population would mitigate pandemic influenza H1N1 that is expected this fall, according to computer modeling and analysis of observational studies conducted by researchers at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute (VIDI) at Fred Hutchinson ...

Video on how Swine Flu/H1N1 Spread

09/12/2009
A Bayesian phylogeographic reconstruction of the early H1N1 spread. “This helps reveal hidden information about the spatial spread of the virus,” said Marc Suchard, a University of California at Los Angeles biomathematician and co-author of the analysis, which was published last week in Public Library of Science Currents. The researchers ran 242 ...

H1N1 Vaccine Supplies May Miss the Peak of Fall's Flu Season

09/12/2009
According the New York Times, "several prominent epidemiologists are warning that even though the new swine flu vaccine works much better than expected, it will still come too late to blunt the peak of this season’s pandemic. The epidemiologists said Friday that they expected the peak to come as early as ...

ASM to launch mBio, a new open access online journal, in 2010

09/12/2009
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) today announced plans to launch mBio®, a new open access online journal designed to make microbiology research broadly accessible, in mid-2010. The focus of the journal will be on rapid publication of cutting-edge research spanning the entire spectrum of microbiology and related fields. "The microbial ...

Swine Flu and the Next Pandemic with Palese, Worobey, Bloom, Koplan and Hoffman

09/12/2009
{bigthink}14MWxxOnJ2KKzso81UzUdujVskLE2tJ_{/bigthink} Bigthink.com has posted a 45 minute panel discussion on swine flu and the next pandemic. Moderator and editorial chairman for Bigthink.com, Paul Hoffman prefaces the discussion by saying: "The reason we are here today is of course to discuss swine flu, and understand what the latest thinking is about whether it’s ...

Mycodiesel

09/12/2009
Here is another great article, closing out "Fungi Week" on Elio Schaechter and Merry Youle's Small Things Considered blog. "Huge amounts of money and effort are going into making automotive fuels using biological processes, but a fully satisfactory answer is not yet at hand. Well, fungi may come to the rescue. ...

Global warming and how the spread of a rare algae species may benefit coral reefs

09/11/2009
"A rare opportunity has allowed a team of biologists to evaluate corals and the essential, photosynthetic algae that live inside their cells before, during, and after a period in 2005 when global warming caused sea-surface temperatures in the Caribbean Ocean to rise. The team, led by Penn State Assistant Professor of ...

Wolbachia and the evolution of butterflies

09/11/2009
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have traced the evolution of a species of tropical butterfly, infected with a bacterium that kills males, by comparing current butterfly populations with more than 200 museum specimens. The bacteria, called Wolbachia, are a parasitic microbe and are known to significantly alter the reproductive capabilities ...

Microbe Metabolism Harnessed To Produce Fuel

09/11/2009
NSF-supported researchers use synthetic biology technology to engineer the next generation of biofuels. Jay Keasling, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, is leading a team of scientists in an effort to manipulate the chemistry within bacteria so they will produce fuel from sugar. Keasling is utilizing synthetic ...

File Under 'Cool Art Department' - Glass Microbiology

09/10/2009
UK Artist Luke Jerram has created a series of glass sculptures of microbes, including E. coli and the Smallpox virus. In fact, a colored image of an earlier HIV sculpture he made that was taken by photographer David Sayer won an award from the Institute of Medical Imaging in 2007. ...

NIAID launches H1N1 influenza vaccine trials for pregnant women

09/10/2009
The first trial testing a candidate 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine in pregnant women is launching this week, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, announced today. "Women are at higher risk of developing severe illness if they become infected with influenza virus ...

Pandemic H1N1 can infect cells deep in the lungs, say researchers from the Imperial College London

09/10/2009
Pandemic swine flu can infect cells deeper in the lungs than seasonal flu can, according to a new study published today in Nature Biotechnology. The researchers, from Imperial College London, say this may explain why people infected with the pandemic strain of swine-origin H1N1 influenza are more likely to suffer ...

Where in the body does bacteria go? Use bioluminescence

09/10/2009
By attaching light-emitting genes to infectious bacteria in an experimental system, researchers at University College, Cork, Ireland, have been able to track where in the body the bacteria go – giving an insight into the path of the infection process leading to the development of more targeted treatments. At the Society ...

ExxonMobil plans to spend $600 million to engineer 'superior' algae

09/10/2009
"The production of biofuels from algae gained new prominence this summer when ExxonMobil announced that it will invest up to $600 million in the technology. ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI) formed a research and development alliance in July to explore the production of biofuels from photosynthetic algae. Photosynthetic algae—such ...

Coxsackievirus in Infants May Persist Long-term in the Central Nervous System

09/10/2009
A new study suggests that coxsackievirus, a significant human pathogen that commonly infects the central nervous system of newborns, may persist in the body as a low-level, long-term infection causing ongoing inflammatory lesions. This discovery disputes previous beliefs that while acute, coxsackievirus is also self-limiting. The researchers report their findings ...

Can Gene Expression Profiling make it Possible to Predict Deadly Infections in Cattle?

09/10/2009
A new study suggests that gene expression profiling may allow researchers to track the progression of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and ultimately predict their infectious status. The researchers from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Woodham Lane, New Haw, Surrey, United Kingdom and Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany detail their findings in ...

Peter Palese on H1N1/Influenza, Porcine and Otherwise

09/09/2009
Peter Palese, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at Mt. Sinai, explains H1N1/swine flu, the natural herd immunity that all humans share against it, and the reasons why the elderly stand at a lesser risk of contracting the virus. {bigthink}E2ZWdxOteNwv3VcNY0gZeFlnic13i5GE{/bigthink}

Saliva-brewed Beer

09/09/2009
Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales' founder Sam Calagione has commercially produced several unique beers over the years, including the Midas Touch, created from sediment found on drinking vessels in the tomb of King Midas in Turkey, and Chateau Jiahu, inspired by trace ingredients from a 9,000-year-old dig in China. His latest ...

Paul Ehrlich's Magic Bullets

09/08/2009
AJ Cann from the Microbiology Bytes blog recommends an article in Wired on Paul Ehrlich's magic bullets.

Mighty Microbes and Waste Clean Up

09/08/2009
At the Society for General Microbiology's meeting in Edinburgh, the Scientific American is reporting on two interesting examples of researchers using microbes for bioremediation. The first one is a mixed ecosystem of particular bacteria that can survive—and clean up—one of the most lethal man-made environments: the residue from extracting petroleum ...

Puerto Rico considers island-wide fumigation plan to avoid spread of dengue fever

09/08/2009
Senator Luis Daniel Muniz asked today [28 Aug 2009] of the newly appointed secretary of the Department of Health, Lorenzo Gonzalez, that he promote a massive fumigation plan for the entire island to avoid the spread of dengue [virus transmission]. Muniz's demand comes after seeing the most recent Health report relating ...

Wheat streak mosaic virus on the increase in North Dakota this fall

09/08/2009
The North Dakota State University Diagnostic Lab and field scouts are reporting an increase in wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV) this year. This disease has been reported statewide in winter and spring wheat, plus durum. The levels of severity range from slight to severe. There are three possible reasons for the ...

Eastern equine encephalitis confirmed in Northern Virginia

09/08/2009
Northern Virginia's first-ever confirmed case of a rare mosquito-borne disease called Eastern equine encephalitis that is fatal to most horses is spreading concern among health officials who worry that the virus is somehow moving beyond its normal stamping grounds. EEE is a noncontagious virus spread by mosquitoes, not unlike West Nile ...

New York State rolls out HIV "widget" to emergency rooms

09/08/2009
A computer application, or widget, developed by a team of doctors from St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan with financing from the state’s AIDS Institute will be distributed to more than 200 emergency departments in New York state this week. Since time is of the essence in treating someone who may have ...

Preparing for a Stressful Flu Season

09/08/2009
Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times has prepared some questions and answers about the upcoming flu season for parents with young children. Click "source" to view.

Harnessing Bacteria to Make Protein Production Factories

09/08/2009
"By adapting a single protein on the surface of the bacterium Caulobacter crescentus, researchers at the University of British Columbia have turned it into a protein production factory, making useful proteins that can act as vaccines and drugs. Dr. John Smit presented the findings at the Society for General Microbiology's ...

Infections may lead to faster memory loss for people with Alzheimer's disease

09/08/2009
"Getting a cold, stomach bug or other infection may lead to increased memory loss in people with Alzheimer's disease, according to research published in the September 8, 2009, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study found that people who had respiratory, gastrointestinal or ...

Designing Probiotics to Ambush Gut Pathogens

09/08/2009
"Researchers in Australia are developing diversionary tactics to fool disease-causing bacteria in the gut. Many bacteria, including those responsible for major gut infections, such as cholera, produce toxins that damage human tissues when they bind to complex sugar receptors displayed on the surface of cells in the host's intestine. At the ...

DOE Awards $21 Million to Five Projects for Biomass Processing

09/08/2009
"DOE announced on August 31 that it will award up to $21 million to five projects for handling and delivering high-tonnage biomass feedstocks to producers of cellulosic biofuels. The awards were selected as the best projects to stimulate the design and demonstration of a comprehensive system to handle the harvesting, ...

Preparing for the Flu: A Childcare Communications Toolkit

09/08/2009
The CDC has just published "Preparing for the Flu: A Communication Toolkit for Child Care and Early Childhood Programs." A .pdf document that provides information and communication resources to help center-based and home-based child care programs, Head Start programs, and other early childhood programs. The kit includes: * ...

A scrap from a childhood virus may save soldiers' lives

09/08/2009
A harmless shard from the shell of a common childhood virus may halt a biological process that kills a significant percentage of battlefield casualties, heart attack victims and oxygen-deprived newborns, according to research presented Sunday, September 6, 2009, at the 12th European meeting on complement in human disease in Budapest, ...

Fungi Week on Small Things Considered

09/08/2009
This is the second annual Week of the Fungi on www.smallthingsconsidered.us. Elio Schaechter and Merry Youle plan to "hail the start of the fall mushroom collecting season" by highlighting interesting stories, observations and musings about the various facets of Mycology. The first post for the week is called "Myco-kleptomaniacs" and ...

Can American business survive H1N1?

09/08/2009
A recent op-ed in the Washington Times by Asa Hutchinson, former congressional representative from Arkansas and chairman of the ReadyCommunities Partnership advisory board, and Michael Schmidt, MUSC Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, calls for the private sector to consider the role of the "crisis officer," in the wake of this ...

Loyola University Chicago's Department of Microbiology & Immunology Promo Video

09/04/2009
A promotional video for Loyola University Chicago's Department of Microbiology & Immunology.

A Tour of the Microbiology Lab

09/04/2009
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09/04/2009
The path to poor hand sanitation is paved with good intentions, according to researchers from Kansas State and North Carolina State Universities. As college campuses prepare for an expected increase in H1N1 flu this fall, the researchers said students' actions will speak louder than words. "Many students say they routinely wash their ...

Report to the President on U.S. Preparations for 2009-H1N1 Influenza

09/04/2009
Click "source" to view the full "Report to the President on U.S. Preparations for 2009-H1N1 Influenza" from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Here is the Council's "planning scenario": Indeed, the 2009-H1N1 influenza is already responsible for significant morbidity and mortality world-wide — from its appearance in the spring, ...

Chinese company Sinovac gets greenlight to mass produce H1N1 vaccine

09/04/2009
Click "Source" to view the video via Scientific American/Reuters.

Animal breeders and suppliers of food rats may increase spread of Cowpox

09/04/2009
German researchers suspect that a recent increase in human Cowpox infections in Germany may be spread through the handling of food rats (rodents used for feeding pets or zoo animals) and a decrease in small pox vaccinations among the general public in a PLoS One paper entitled "Cowpox Virus Outbreak ...

Don't be the Fifth Guy

09/04/2009
When it comes to washing their hands, Americans say they are getting the message, but their actions speak otherwise. While nine out of ten (92%) Americans, in a recent telephone survey, said they always washed their hands after using a public restroom, an observational survey in 5 cities found ...

Activation of a Macrophage by an Effector T Lymphocyte

09/04/2009
Major histocompatibility (MHC) molecules enable T lymphocytes to recognize epitopes of antigens and discriminate self from nonself. Unlike B-cell receptors on B lymphocytes that are able to directly bind epitopes on antigens, the T-cell receptors (TCRs) of T lymphocytes can only recognize epitopes, typically short chains of amino acids called ...

Dengue Fever PSA (Queensland, Australia)

09/04/2009
An animated public service announcement from Queensland, Australia on how to prevent catching Dengue Fever.

Bananas accross central Africa under attack from two diseases

09/04/2009
Two diseases, banana bunchy top virus and bacterial wilt, are infecting banana crops across central Africa, putting about 30 million people at risk in regions where it is a staple. "At a meeting in Tanzania last week on the crisis, agricultural experts urged farmers to use pesticides or switch to resistant ...

Choosing the Less Traveled Road

09/04/2009
Lars Jansen from the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (Gulbenkian Institute for Science) in Oeiras, Portugal, is featured In the Career Profile section of the AAAS Science journal. According to the article, Jansen's career started with a presentation at the 1999 ASM Conference on DNA Repair and Mutagenesis. "Lars Jansen was halfway ...

CDC's 2009 H1N1 Vaccination Recommendations (Podcast)

09/03/2009
Dr. Tony Fiore discusses who should be vaccinated against 2009 H1N1 flu during the 2009-2010 season. He explains the target groups for vaccination, and how these groups differ from those recommended for seasonal flu vaccination.

HIV Weak Spot Gives Hope to Vaccine Makers

09/03/2009
"The discovery of antibodies that bind to a hitherto unknown "weak spot" on HIV has revived hopes that a potent vaccine is within reach. Now that the weak spot – common to many strains – has been discovered, researchers can aim for vaccines that trick people into making their own antibodies ...

Home Food Safety Mythbusters

09/03/2009
Fightbac.org, the website of the Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE), has created some fun resources around common home food safety myths for educators and organizations to distribute, and they are allowing groups to add their own logos to them. In addition to the educators kit and downloadable .pdf files ...

Swine-flu vaccine trials in Leicester reveal a strong immune response after just one dose

09/03/2009
Results from the first swine-flu vaccine trials taking place in Leicester reveal a strong immune response after just one dose. The pilot study, run by the University of Leicester and Leicester Hospitals, was trialled with 100 healthy volunteers, aged between 18 and 50. Dr Iain Stephenson, who led the trial at ...

The case for biocentric microbiology

09/03/2009
An interesting commentary by Ramy Karam Aziz, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Cairo University, published in the journal Gut Pathogens claims "current microbiology is contaminated with anthropocentric convictions, many of which are irrational and negatively affect the objectivity of this science." The definition of "Anthropocentric" according ...

New Study Suggests an Unidentified Source as Cause of Residual Viremia in HIV-1 Patients on HAART

09/03/2009
A new study suggests that an unidentified cellular source may be responsible for residual viremia in HIV-1 patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). This discovery disputes previous theories that attributed residual viremia to latent proviruses in resting CD4+ T cells and could significantly impact eradication efforts. The ...

The ABC's of E.coli

09/02/2009
Dr. Christine Hoang, Assistant Director of The American Veterinary Medical Association’s Scientific Activities Division responds to a five minute Q & A about E.coli from a consumer/food safety perspective. {mp3remote}http://www.avmamedia.org/manage/mediaimg/s214-e.%20coli%20(huang).mp3{/mp3remote}

Former AVMA President to Head National Health Commission

09/02/2009
Roger Mahr, DVM, former president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), was named chief executive officer of the newly formed One Health Commission, a multi-disciplinary group established to highlight the connections between human, animal, and environmental health. Dr. Mahr was appointed CEO at the group's first board of directors ...

“I Can’t Live Without You!” A Close-up Examination of Microorganisms Involved in Mutually Beneficial Symbiotic Relationships

09/02/2009
In this activity, students learn about mutually beneficial symbiotic relationships that exist between microbes and other microbes, plants, and animals, prepare samples for microscopic observation from a termite hindgut, a lichen, and a legume root nodule, and use a microscope to observe and identify the microbial symbionts in each of the samples. By completing ...

Homeland Security Secretary Says Big Influx of H1N1 Infections Likely this Fall

09/02/2009
The AP reports Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is saying people should expect "a big influx" of swine flu cases this coming fall and to prepare yourself by remembering to wash your hands and to cough into the sleeve.

Microbes and Odor

09/02/2009
Even if recognizing that microorganisms cause bad breath and "most" other bad odors, microbiologists who study odor makers have "never gotten together, and we're not sharing information on how to sample and characterize [these phenomena]," says Mel Rosenberg of Tel-Aviv University in Tel-Aviv, Israel. However, he and other similarly minded ...

Free Swine Flu Shots for NYC Kids

09/02/2009
All primary school-age children in New York City will be offered free vaccines for seasonal and H1N1 flu this year under a plan announced on Tuesday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The vaccines are part of the city's strategy to combat the new H1N1 swine flu strain that hit the city hard ...

Mosquito capabale of spreading West Nile virus found in Switzerland

08/31/2009
Swiss scientists say a mosquito capable of spreading the deadly West Nile virus has been detected in central Europe for the first time. Zurich University researchers say the Asian rock pool mosquito has colonized an area of 1,400 square kilometres (540 square miles) in central Switzerland.

Aug. 31, 1909: First Chemotherapy Drug Treats Syphilis

08/31/2009
After searching through hundreds of potential chemicals, German immunologist Paul Ehrlich discovers a compound that can selectively kill the parasitic spirochete that causes syphilis. The following year, he sends 65,000 free samples of the drug, now known as the first modern chemotherapy agent, to doctors all over the world. Click "source" ...

Viruses may help keep the Earth's oxygen levels high

08/31/2009
Oxygen is made possible in part by ocean viruses. The viruses which infect single-celled algae called cyanobacteria, are hyperefficient photosynthesisers thanks to a unique set of genes. "Previous work had shown that cyanophage viruses have some photosynthesis genes, apparently used to keep the host cyanobacteria on life support during the infection, ...
08/31/2009
In 2000, researchers from the University of Washington's toxicology department published a paper that looked at the validity of "auto-brewery syndrome," a tactic lawyers apparently have used to get their clients off of a DUI charge. "The concentration of ethanol in blood, breath or urine constitutes important evidence for prosecuting drunk ...

One Health Commission Formed to Promote Collaboration Across Human, Animal, and Environmental Health Sciences

08/31/2009
A new national commission, the One Health Commission, has been established to spotlight the connections between human, animal, and environmental health, as well as the benefits of proactive and collaborative approaches toward better health for all. The formation of the Commission comes at a time of heightened concern by policy ...

H1N1/Swine Flu found in Chilean Turkeys - First reported case of human to avian transfer

08/31/2009
On 23 Aug 2009 the Institute of Public Health (Chile) announced the first isolation of a A(H1N1) swine virus in turkeys. The finding was done by the Chilean farming agency SAG and the confirmation and genetic studies are being done in Chile's national reference laboratory. The conclusion of the initial genetic ...

Enzymes from bacteriophages can be used to fight multi-drug-resistant bacterial pathogens

08/31/2009
"Scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have shown that enzymes from bacteria-infecting viruses known as phages could have beneficial applications for human and animal health. Phage enzymes called endolysins attack bacteria by breaking down their cell walls. Unlike antibiotics, which tend to have a broad range, endolysins are comparatively specific, ...

The California Battle against the Asian Citrus Psyllid

08/31/2009
In California, tests are under way on at least 100 insects that can carry a deadly citrus bacterium that were found inside a FedEx package . "The finding this week by a sniff dog in Sacramento is the latest bad news for the state's $1.6 billion citrus industry, which has ...

Dead Probiotics - A Safer Bet

08/28/2009
According to U.S. News and World Report, in 2008 some people got sick or died after receiving probiotics. "What role, if any, these bacteria played remains uncertain. Such events have, however, been giving some researchers and clinicians doubts about the safety of this ostensibly benign and "all natural" germ therapy." The ...

Enzyme may be the target for novel antibiotics

08/28/2009
Researchers at Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham), University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and University of Maryland have demonstrated that an enzyme that is essential to many bacteria can be targeted to kill dangerous pathogens. In addition, investigators discovered chemical compounds that can inhibit this enzyme and suppress the ...

E.O. Wilson: Help build the Encyclopedia of Life

08/26/2009
As noted entomologist E.O. Wilson accepts his 2007 TED Prize, he makes a plea on behalf of his constituents, the insects and small creatures, to learn more about our biosphere. Wilson states that as we're still discovering tiny organisms indispensable to life we're steadily, methodically, and vigorously destroying nature. In ...

The coevolution of an ant and a fungi

08/26/2009
"This segment from a PBS program entitled "Evolution: Evolutionary Arms Race" illustrates the coevolution of the leafcutter ant and the fungi on which it feeds. Leafcutters have been "farming" this fungus for millions of years by feeding, fertilizing, weeding, and harvesting it. Learn how one graduate student's seemingly far-fetched idea ...

Extract DNA from a Banana (Experiment)

08/26/2009
The soft flesh of a banana provides a ready source of DNA. Using a few simple purification steps in a classroom setting, students can yield loads of crudely prepared DNA. To begin, the banana is mashed in a detergent/salt solution to lyse the cellular and nuclear membranes. Cellular lysate is ...

USDA grant to educate people with AIDS about food safety

08/25/2009
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health have received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to educate AIDS patients on food safety. The three-year, $600,000 award will be used to develop a better way to disseminate information to AIDS patients who are at high ...

ASM Press - New Edition of Infections of Leisure Now Available

08/25/2009
Many leisure activities, however enjoyable they may be, expose us to a growing list of pathogenic microbes, some new and many increasingly resistant to current therapies. The latest edition of the ASM Press book Infections of Leisure, Fourth Edition continues to compile information on leisure-associated infections into one unique, user-friendly ...

Engineered protein-like molecule protects cells against HIV infection

08/25/2009
In a fundamental study of how to control protein shape, a UW-Madison research team has created a set of peptide-like molecules that successfully blocked HIV infection of human cells in laboratory experiments. "By interacting with a piece of a crucial HIV protein called gp41, the synthetic molecules physically prevent the virus ...

Organic vs. Conventional Beef - No Major Difference in Antibiotic Susceptibility of E. coli

08/25/2009
A new study suggests that when compared to conventionally raised beef cattle, organic and natural production systems do not impact antibiotic susceptibility of Escherichia coli O157:H7. This discovery emphasizes that although popular for their suggested health benefit, little is actually known about the effects of organic and natural ...

Robert Koch by Giancarlo Martinez

08/25/2009
A brief video history of Robert Koch, one of the founding fathers of Bacteriology and Microbiology who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his contributions and discoveries on Tuberculosis.

Automating the survey of protein locations: the trials and tribulations

08/25/2009
An article by Alan Derman, Project Scientist in Joe Pogliano’s lab at the University of California at San Diego, published on the Small Things Considered blog presents a point-by-point analysis of a paper "Quantitative genome-scale analysis of protein localization in an asymmetric bacterium" published in the Proceedings of the National ...

Host-Pathogen Interaction and Human Disease (Part 2) by Stanley Falkow, Ph.D.

08/24/2009
Stanley Falkow, Professor Microbiology and Immunology, Geographic Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Stanford University School of Medicine, presents the second part of a lecture on host-pathogen interaction. This one focuses on H. pylori (the ulcer bacterium) and the story behind its discovery by Australian pathologist Robin Warren and Australian physician Barry Marshall ...

Host-Pathogen Interaction and Human Disease (Part 1) by Stanley Falkow, Ph.D.

08/24/2009
Stanley Falkow, Professor Microbiology and Immunology; Geographic Medicine; Infectious Diseases, Stanford University School of Medicine, presents a lecture on host-pathogen interaction. "Ninety percent of the cells humans carry are microbes. Only a few of the bacteria we encounter are pathogenic and can cause disease. Pathogens possess the inherent ability to cross ...

Cell Organization and Cell Motility (Part 1) by Julie Theriot

08/24/2009
This lecture covers the biochemical basis of actin-based motility (focusing on the pathogen Listeria as a model system for this process), the biophysical mechanism of polymerization-based force generation, and an evolutionary perspective of cell shape in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The first part covers our understanding of how cells use the ...

Evolution of a DNA Sequence Over Time

08/24/2009
One of the basic requirements of evolution is variation in a population upon which selection can act. One of the sources of variation is mutation in DNA. These changes may or may not be reflected in the ensuing amino acid sequence of a protein. This exercise explores ...

How disinfectants kill bacteria and viruses

08/24/2009
The Hygiene Council, an international initiative based out of the UK, has produced a short CGI/computer animation on how disinfectants kill bacteria and viruses. The animation is superb and in there is no corporate branding in the piece which makes it an excellent resource for young students. Click "source" to view ...

Duke Researchers Announce New Way to Treat UTIs

08/24/2009
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center may have a new way to stop and even prevent the urinary tract infections (UTIs) that plague more than a third of all adults, some of them repeatedly. The researchers have discovered how cells within the bladder are able to sense the presence of E. ...

WHO states healthly people with H1N1 have no need for Tamiflu

08/21/2009
The BBC reports the World Health Organization has said healthy patients who catch swine flu do not need to be treated with Tamiflu. Antiviral drugs should be used in patients who are severely ill or those in high-risk groups including the under fives and pregnant women, it said. Click source for more ...

Smuggling Genomes for Synthetic Life

08/20/2009
Genome-sequencing pioneer Craig Venter and his team have devised a way of smuggling an "alien" genome into unwitting bacterial cells. The new technique takes the scientists one step closer to their goal of creating novel microorganisms with entirely synthetic genomes.

Google Knol, PLoS and NCBI Join Forces on Influenza Research

08/20/2009
Google Knol is a website similar in idea to wikipedia in which it encourages experts to "share what they know and a write a knol." What's a knol? Well it's a unit of knowledge, of course! (Disclaimer: I had to look it up myself). What's interesting is that the Public Library ...

Better BBQ Through Chemistry

08/20/2009
Here's one for backyard grill-meisters and food safety experts: Recently the American Chemical Society, as part of its semiannual meeting, staged a chemistry-themed barbecue reception on August 17 for reporters and other guests. (Great idea for getting press coverage, BTW) "Cooking is as much a science as an art, so understanding ...

Video of Fungus Gnat Larvae

08/19/2009
It's not necessarily microbiology, but the fungus gnat does feed on algae and can be controlled in the garden with Bacillus thuringiensis, the bacterium that makes Mosquito Dunks effective. Nevertheless it's a cool video. What I would like to know, and can't seem to find with a Google search, is why ...

Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) Call for Abstracts

08/19/2009
ABRCMS is the largest, professional conference for biomedical and behavioral students attracting approximately 2,900 individuals, including 1,800 students and 1,100 faculty and administrators. The conference is designed to encourage students to pursue advanced training in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, including mathematics and provide faculty mentors and advisors with resources ...

The Science of Salsa: Antimicrobial Properties of Salsa Components to Learn Scientific Methodology (Experiment)

08/18/2009
Most ethnic foods and cooking practices have incorporated the use of spices and other food additives. Many common spices have crossed cultural boundaries and appear in multiple ethnic cuisines. Recent studies have demonstrated that many of these ingredients possess antimicrobial properties against common food spoilage microorganisms. We developed a laboratory exercise that ...

The Phylogenomic Species Concept for Bacteria and Archaea

08/18/2009
James Staley, Ph.D., suggests the phylogenomic species concept, which combines phylogenetic and genomic analyses, can be used to circumscribe species: "Bacteriologists have not yet adopted a concept for a species. Bacterial and archaeal species are defined on the basis of phenotypic properties and whole-genome DNA-DNA hybridization. Each species must have unique ...

A Call From Arms - Rethinking Antibiotics

08/18/2009
Elio Schaechter of www.smallthingsconsidered.us has a thought provoking piece on the function of bacteria and the antibiotics they produce. Could it be that antibiotics have more to do with bacterial communication then as a defense mechanism? Snippets: "Antibiotics are now being thought about as benign compounds that, at least at low ...

When Zombies Attack!!

08/17/2009
To the best of our knowledge zombies aren't real, but if there ever is a zombie outbreak in the future we now have an epidemiological model we can use for predictive analysis. Created by several Canadian mathematicians at the University of Ottawa, "When Zombies Attack! Mathematical Modeling of a ...

Indigenous populations may be more susceptible from Swine Flu/H1N1

08/14/2009
SciAm is reporting that indigenous populations who live in relative isolation may be at more risk from Swine Flu/H1N1 infection than your average person. "Swine flu has been reported for the first time in Amazonian Indians, raising fears that the virus will cause more contagion and potential deaths in tribal groups ...

Q Fever Alert for Holland

08/14/2009
The Netherlands is again facing a sharp increase in Q fever notifications, after the unprecedented outbreaks of 2007 and 2008. The most affected province of Noord Brabant has a high density of large dairy goat farms, and farms with abortion waves have been incriminated. Mandatory vaccination of small ruminants has started and ...

USB Microscope from Japan

08/14/2009
File this under cool gadgets. "A Japanese company called esupply is selling a cool little microscope [JP] that can be hooked to computers via a microUSB port (Windows only). The device boasts a 2MP CMOS sensor made by Sanyo and features 5x to 150x zoom. Not powerful enough to be ...

NIAID scientists study past flu pandemics for clues to future course of 2009 H1N1 virus

08/14/2009
A commonly held belief that severe influenza pandemics are preceded by a milder wave of illness arose because some accounts of the devastating flu pandemic of 1918-19 suggested that it may have followed such a pattern. But two scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part ...

Cellular protein as a new target for treatment of chronic hepatitis C;

08/14/2009
Dr. Ralf Bartenschlager, Director of the Department of Molecular Virology at the Hygiene Institute of Heidelberg University Hospital, has identified a protein in infected liver cells that is essential for hepatitis C virus replication. Inhibiting this protein is highly efficient in blocking virus replication. The study is to be published ...

Dirty Doctor' Office? No Place is Safe

08/14/2009
Dr. Manny Alvarez, online health personality and managing editor for foxnewshealth.com, invites Dr. Philip M. Tierno, Jr. Director of Clinical Microbiology & Immunology at New York University Langone Medical Center, into his office to hunt for microbes.

Can monolaurin crack the shell of flu virus and keep it from replicating

08/14/2009
A recent article in The Examiner, an online and print paper from the DC area, asks if monolaurin, a food supplement extracted from lauric acid in coconut oil (that you can buy online or in a health food store) can keep the H1N1 flu virus as well as herpes ...

Performance enhancing bug! Ulcer-causing bacterium alters resistance of mucus barrier for a smooth swim!

08/13/2009
A team of researchers from Boston University, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently made a discovery that changes a long held paradigm about how bacteria move through soft gels. They showed that the bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, that causes human stomach ulcers uses a clever biochemical strategy to ...

Biology By the Numbers

08/13/2009
Elio Schaechter from the Small Things Considered blog has brought to our attention a new internet resource called Bionumbers. "It enables you to find in a minute (or less) any common biological number that might be important for your research, such as the rate of translation per ribosome, metabolite concentrations, ...

Put Your Hands Together and Scrub, Scrub, Scrub

08/13/2009
CDC-TV has a hand washing video out that highlights the importance of this practice for the prevention of infectious disease. {swfremote}http://www.cdc.gov/CDCTV/HandsTogether/HandsTogether_emb.swf{/swfremote} Description: Scientists estimate that people are not washing their hands often or well enough and may transmit up to 80% of all infections by their hands. From doorknobs to animals to ...
08/12/2009
A new study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health's Center for Infection and Immunity indicates that pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Tourette syndrome and/or tic disorder may develop from an inappropriate immune response to the bacteria causing common throat infections. The mouse model findings, published online by ...

Unlocking the secret of magnetic microbes

08/12/2009
The smallest organisms to use a biological compass are magnetotactic bacteria, however mysteries remain about exactly how these bacteria create their cellular magnets. In a study published online in Genome Research, scientists have used genome sequencing to unlock new secrets about these magnetic microbes that could accelerate biotechnology and nanotechnology ...

Who's fault is scientific illiteracy?

08/12/2009
Peter Kareiva, chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy, has authored a post on Cool Green Science, "the conservation blog of The Nature Conservancy," that looks at the current state of scientific illiteracy in the wake of Chris Mooney's new book "Unscientific America." Interestingly, Karevia makes the bold statement that the scientists ...

Astrobiology: Life in Space with Daniel P. Glavin

08/12/2009
"Daniel P. Glavin, an astrobiologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, says the possibility of extraterrestrial life in our solar system is not limited to Mars; other "habitable" worlds might exist including the icy Moons of Jupiter and Saturn, known as Europa and Enceladus. The challenge for scientists and engineers ...

Curing viral diseases before they have even evolved

08/10/2009
The New Scientist has an interesting story out about Michael Goldblatt, who once led the biodefense program for the Pentagon's research arm, DARPA, and now heads Functional Genetics, a biotech company in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Goldblatt, along with a few other researchers, "are working on an entirely new class of antiviral ...

A Spotter's Guide to Human Viruses

08/10/2009
The New Scientist has published a nifty gallery of "psychedelic"-like images of human viruses. Many of them are from Government agencies so they are public domain. Click "source" to view the entire collection. (Yellow Fever. CDC / Science Photo Library)

Water filter turns filthy water drinkable

08/10/2009
Much of the world lacks access to clean drinking water. Engineer Michael Pritchard did something about it -- inventing the portable Lifesaver filter, which can make the most revolting water drinkable in seconds. This is a pretty amazing demo.

New DNA Vaccine Inhibits Deadly Skin Cancer in Mice

08/10/2009
A new DNA vaccine inhibited malignant melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, in mice by eliciting antibodies that target a gastrin-releasing peptide which is known to play a key role in cancer development. The researchers from China and the U.S. report their findings in the July 2009 issue ...
08/10/2009
Virus hunter Nathan Wolfe is outwitting the next pandemic by staying two steps ahead: discovering deadly new viruses where they first emerge -- passing from animals to humans among poor subsistence hunters in Africa -- before they claim millions of lives.

Thailand's Kasetsart University's Microbiology Department

08/10/2009
You don't have to speak Thai to enjoy this promotional video from Kasetsart University's microbiology department in Thailand. (I like how they use "Micro World" in it.)

Earth History: Time Flies, No Matter What the Scale (Experiment)

08/10/2009
In this two-part activity, which uses discovery and an inquiry approach, the participants will be given cartoon drawings representing significant events in the history of the Earth and asked to place them on a timeline made of colored ribbon. Then they mathematically relate the geologic time scale to a yearly ...

University of Utah develops a new 'molecular' condom for women that protects against HIV

08/10/2009
University of Utah scientists developed a new kind of "molecular condom" to protect women from AIDS in Africa and other impoverished areas. Before sex, women would insert a vaginal gel that turns semisolid in the presence of semen, trapping AIDS virus particles in a microscopic mesh so they can't infect ...

Muscle vs Mussels: California's Campaign to Reduce Quaggas

08/10/2009
California and federal officials are sizing up diverse strategies in their campaign to contain trillions of quagga mussels, dime-sized invaders threatening water and power supplies in California and across the Southwest. Vivacious reproducers – a single quagga can produce 1 million eggs in a spawning season – the mussels quickly established ...

Understanding Cicadas and their Bacterial Symbionts

08/10/2009
How do cicadas gather the nutrients they need to survive, despite their low-nutrient diet? John McCutcheon, a molecular biologist at the University of Arizona, says that cicadas supplement their diet by maintaining complicated relationships with two species of specialized bacteria that live inside their cells. The bacteria produce essential nutrients ...

Half of Connecticut's Honey Bees Infected by American Foulbrood

08/10/2009
The AP is reporting 10% of Connecticut's registered beehive population is seriously infected with the American foulbrood bacterium, Paenibacillus larva, another 40% of hives show a low level exposure in their brood chambers, where eggs develop into adults. Experts say the findings are troubling because the disease can kill entire ...

The Windshield Splatter Metagenome

08/06/2009
The blog www.ncbirofl.com is a great resource for amusing/interesting research papers that have been published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information's website. This week they highlight a paper on the regional differences in the metagenomic data of eukaryotes found in "bug splat." Taxonomy of Windshield Splatter: Contrasting Geographic Locations using ...

Genomic "signature" in blood can reveal exposure to colds or influenza, even before symptoms appear

08/06/2009
Scientists have identified a genomic "signature" in circulating blood that reveals exposure to common upper respiratory viruses, like the cold or flu, even before symptoms appear. The tell-tale viral signature reflects a set of subtle but robust changes in genes that are activated as the body responds to infection. The ...

Finding the key to strengthening the immune response to chronic infections

08/06/2009
A team of researchers from The Wistar Institute has identified a protein that could serve as a target for reprogramming immune system cells exhausted by exposure to chronic viral infection into more effective "soldiers" against certain viruses like HIV, hepatitis C, and hepatitis B, as well as some cancers, such ...

Pinhead-size worms + robot = new antibiotics

08/06/2009
Scientists in Massachusetts are describing successful use of a test that enlists pinhead-sized worms in efforts to discover badly needed new antibiotics. Thestudy appears in ACS' Chemical Biology. From the abstract: The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a unique whole animal model system for identifying small molecules with in vivo anti-infective properties. C. ...

”Build a Bacterium” Scavenger Hunt

08/06/2009
In this activity, each student is provided with a worksheet and three index cards. Each card indicates a different cell part (e.g. LPS, capsule, DNA). Students are placed in small groups and receive a written scenario regarding a bacterium with a certain goal it must carry out. They must ...

Researchers describe the full genome structure for HIV-1

08/06/2009
In a paper published in Nature, a research team from the University of North Carolina described the full genome structure of HIV-1 for the first time. "The researchers used a high-throughput method called "selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension" (SHAPE) to glean structural information for nearly every nucleotide in the ...

The Tokay gecko harbors 10 different strains of Salmonella

08/04/2009
SciAm reports that the foot-long Tokay gecko from Indonesia with polka-dot skin and wide eyes is a mixing pot for 10 types of salmonella some which can be acquired from local livestock, poultry and rodents. The gecko is popular with pet stores, where it can sell for less than $20. ...

DOE Experiments with Synthetic Biofilms

08/04/2009
Bacteria play a role in many industrial processes from fermentation to cleaning up environmental pollution. But floating freely in solution, the microbial cells constantly multiply, generating biomass that must be periodically removed. Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University have devised a way to ...

Tamiflu Resistant Swine Flu Discovered in US

08/04/2009
Newsmax.com is reporting a strain of swine flu that is resistant to treatment with the drug Tamiflu has been discovered near the U.S.-Mexican border, the Pan-American Health Organization said on Monday. "We have found resistance to Tamiflu on the border. We have observed some cases, few to be sure, in El ...

Kefir and its high probiotic content may not be effective in preventing diarrhea in young children

08/04/2009
Reuters health has reported that a research study funded by Lifeway Foods, a company that manufactures a probiotic product called ProBugs, which is essentially the cultured dairy beverage called Kefir, has found there is little difference between the beverage with active probiotics and without active probiotics when it comes ...

The Scientist 2009 Science Video Award Winners

08/04/2009
The Scientist magazine has just announced the 2009 The Future of Science Video award winners. Click "source" to view the complete list of winners. Below are two examples of the several types of videos honored: The Tree of Life by The Wellcome Trust{scivee}11003{/scivee}Explore the evolutionary links between living things with the Wellcome ...

Are antibiotics overused on Pennsylvania dairy farms?

08/03/2009
The Mercury, the Pottstown, PA, local/regional paper recently published a podcast about the use of antibiotics on Pennsylvania's dairy farms. You can listen to the embedded mp3 below. The interview is with Robert Martin of the Pew Environmental Group. {mp3remote}http://www3.allaroundphilly.com/Mercury/audio/antibiotics.mp3{/mp3remote}

Colony Collapse Disorder: A Descriptive Study

08/02/2009
A recent study published earlier this week from Washington State University suggests Nosema ceranae, a unicellular parasite, and pesticides embedded in old honeycombs are two major contributors to the bee disease known as colony collapse disorder. Now, the first descriptive epizootiological survey of honey bee colonies that considers 61 quantified ...

A bar code standard for plant DNA

08/02/2009
"An international panel of scientists has agreed to a bar-code standard for plant DNA that will allow the precise identification of most of Earth's 300,000 species of plants, according to a research report due to be published this week. The agreement is expected to generate a wide range of benefits, from ...

New Strain of HIV Jumps from Gorillas to Humans

08/02/2009
A recently published paper in Nature Medicine reports that a new strain of HIV has jumped from gorillas to humans. So far, only one person, a 62-year-old French woman from Cameroon, has been found to be infected with the virus, which closely resembles strains of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) recently ...

A Tropical Fungus Creates Zombie Ants To Do Their Bidding

07/31/2009
Scientific American has a great read on how Ophiocordyceps unilateralis takes control of ants as way to create an ideal growing environment for the fungus. "A tropical fungus has adapted to infect ants and force them to chomp, with surprising specificity, into perfectly located leaves before killing them and taking over ...

Untangling the Roots of Colony Collapse Disorder

07/31/2009
"A microscopic pathogen and pesticides embedded in old honeycombs are two major contributors to the bee disease known as colony collapse disorder, which has wiped out thousands of beehives throughout the United States and Europe over the past three years, new research at Washington State University has confirmed." Many researchers are ...

Staph's Virulence and Resistance Genes Can Transfer in Pairs

07/31/2009
Scientists studying Staphylococcus bacteria, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), have discovered a potent staph toxin responsible for disease severity. They also found the gene for the toxin traveling with a genetic component of Staphylococcus that controls resistance to antibiotics. The study, now online in PLoS Pathogens, shows for the first ...

NIH Grants Univ. of Pittsburgh $13.4 Million for Computer Simulation Studies of Disease Spread

07/31/2009
As the world prepares for a probable resurgence of H1N1 in the coming months, University of Pittsburgh researchers are controlling the spread of infectious diseases virtually with a $13.4 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to establish a Center of Excellence in Modeling of Infectious Diseases. The five-year grant, ...

Sign Up for the Scrub Club

07/31/2009
The Scrub Club created by NSF International is designed for children who are 3 to 8 years of age. The web site is a fun, interactive and educational resource that teaches children about the microbes that make them sick and the proper way to wash their hands. The site is ...

Anthrax and bacteria that form spores

07/31/2009
Interview with Dr. Adam Driks, from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Loyola University Medical Center, on the ability of anthrax to form spores.

Communication breakdown: A new way to overcome antibiotic resistance

07/31/2009
Interfering with communication among bacteria can prevent them from mounting a unified and perhaps deadly assault on their host organism, research by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigators shows. The finding suggests a different kind of medicine that could be less likely than traditional antibiotics to promote the development of ...

Could zinc be the new miracle supplement?

07/31/2009
Scientists from Florida have found that zinc not only supports healthy immune function, but increases activation of the T cells responsible for destroying viruses and bacteria. Scientists administered either a zinc supplement or a placebo to healthy volunteers to assess the effects of zinc on T cell activation. After isolating the ...

A novel immunization method against malaria delivers protection via mosquito bites

07/31/2009
In this week's New England Journal of Medicine, scientists in Singapore, The Netherlands and France report that they have developed a novel immunization method that will induce fast and effective protection in humans against the life-threatening malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, which infects 350 to 500 million people world-wide and kills ...
07/31/2009
A virus discovered last year in a rare form of skin cancer has also been found in people with the second most common form of skin cancer among Americans, according to researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. The researchers examined ...

The European Academy of Microbiology

07/31/2009
On June 29,2009, the European Academy of Microbiology (EAM) was established in the Swedish city of Gotenborg. The objective of the academy is to provide a voice for European microbiology and to foster its quality and dissemination within Europe. Its goals include the expansion of scientific knowledge regarding key issues ...

Blame it on the economy: neglected swimming pools are to blame for rise in human West Nile virus cases

07/29/2009
Blaming it on the economy, local health experts from the Chicago area say the number of neglected swimming pools is on the rise, creating a haven for mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile virus. "The number of desolate pools in Lake County has doubled in just a few years, said George ...

Quebec finds pandemic H1N1 in hog herd

07/29/2009
Can hogs catch swine flu from humans? An isolated case of the pandemic H1N1 influenza has been confirmed in a Quebec hog herd. Pathologist Dr. Alain Laperle with Quebec's provincial agriculture, food and fisheries ministry (MAPAQ) claims that while the vector by which the disease came to the farm ...

Henipavirus RNA found in African Bats

07/29/2009
A new study in PLoS suggests that positive tests for Henipaviruses in African Straw-colored fruit bats in Ghana may indicate that one of the most pathogenic virus genera known in humans that is usually found in Australia and Asia may also be endemic in Africa. PloS Abstract: Henipaviruses (Hendra and Nipah ...

A Pain-free Rapid Result Chlamydia Test for Men

07/29/2009
A new urine test developed with funding from the Wellcome Trust will allow doctors to diagnose chlamydia infection in men within the hour, improving the ability to successfully treat the infection on the spot and prevent re-transmission. {flvremote}http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/stellent/groups/corporatesite/@msh_publishing_group/documents/video/WTX052908.flv{/flvremote} The Chlamydia Rapid Test, a urine test developed by Dr Lee and colleagues ...

Malaria in Uganda - Education and Prevention

07/29/2009
Videographer/artist Polly Green from New Zealand self produced this mini documentary on Professional kayaker Dr. Jessie Stone and her work with Soft Power Health in hopes to educate and raise awareness of malaria in Uganda.

Julie Bianchini - The role of cysteine-rich secretory proteins in yeast

07/29/2009
Julie Bianchini talks about her research into understanding the functions of cysteine-rich secretory proteins, using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model organism. Julie was advised by Dr. Andrew Vershon, Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry in the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers University. This is a good video ...

The Immune System: T Cells

07/29/2009
Interview with Makio Iwashima, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology on the function of T cells in the immune system. This is a concise three-minute explanation with excellent visuals. Great for the classroom.

An American Girl Traped in China's Swine Flu Dragnet

07/29/2009
Hundreds of Americans suspected of carrying H1N1 have been quarantined in China this summer. Here is a transcript from one American family between the mother and her daughter who was caught up in China's swine flu dragnet this summer. The authors are Sheryl Gay Stolberg, White House correspondent and former ...

New test will help determine the right antibiotics required to treat serious, chronic infections

07/29/2009
A new test developed by Edmonton-based Innovotech™ Inc. will now allow doctors to more accurately identify the right antibiotics required to treat serious, chronic infections such as Cystic Fibrosis that are biofilm based. With more than 80 per cent of infections in the developed world caused by biofilms, the potential ...

First genetically-engineered malaria vaccine to enter human trials

07/29/2009
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists have created a weakened strain of the malaria parasite that will be used as a live vaccine against the disease. The vaccine, developed in collaboration with researchers from the US, Japan and Canada, will be trialled in humans from early next year. Professor Cowman ...

When Germ Relationships Go Bad

07/28/2009
Cartoon of a couple of bacteria having marital problems. Via Wikipedia Commons. Illustration by Gaspirtz.

Swine flu threat greater than terrorism, says UK's Home Secretary

07/27/2009
Swine flu is now a greater threat to Britain than terrorism, according to Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary. The government is now advising pregnant women to avoid unnecessary travel. To date, more than 650 people have been taken to hospital with the virus in England, including more than 200 ...

The Ocean's Skin

07/27/2009
Carl Zimmer of the NY Times has written an interesting article on researchers who have confirmed that there is a very thin film of microbes covering the ocean surface. They claim that the top hundredth-inch of the ocean is an ecosystem all unto its own. Michael Cunliffe, a marine biologist ...

Study: Predicting Hospital Surge after a Large-Scale Anthrax Attack

07/27/2009
According to a study in a special issue of Medical Decision Making, a large-scale, covert anthrax attack on a large city would overwhelm hospital resources even with an extremely effective public health response, primarily because of expected delays in detecting the attack and initiating a response to it. The article "Predicting ...

Scientists consider biobutanol a more efficient alternative to corn-based ethanol

07/27/2009
"A group of researchers at Tulane University is working to develop biological methods for producing butanol that might ultimately lead to widespread use of the chemical as a fuel generated from waste materials rather than nonrenewable fossil fuels. Once the researchers determine the best bacteria for producing biobutanol, they intend to ...

The International Probiotics Association Moves to Zurich, Switzerland

07/27/2009
According to Nutra-ingredients.com, the International Probiotics Association (IPA) is relocating its headquarters to to Zurich, Switzerland, a move that is designed to bring the organization closer to regulatory action related to the healthy bacteria. This relocation comes just a few months before the group expects to be accepted into ...

Wealthy Countries Stock Up On H1N1 Vaccine

07/27/2009
According to AFP, countries are scrambling to buy up hundreds of millions of doses of the H1N1 vaccine. However, health experts from WHO are warning that developing nations may not get adequate supplies if wealthy nations grab up the all the vaccine it can. Click "source" for the full ...

First real-time video of bacteria infecting a living host

07/27/2009
Scientists at the University of Bath and University of Exeter have developed a new technique that allows them to make a movie of bacteria infecting their living host. And, according to the researchers, the first film to follow the progress of infection in real-time with living organisms. Using developing fruit fly ...

New accreditation process for laboratories across Africa pushed by leading health authorities

07/27/2009
Government health officials from 13 African countries today launched the first-ever push for accreditation of the continent's medical laboratories, starting a process that the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Government believe will be an historic step to strengthen health systems and lead to better care for patients. Just a ...

GAO Says Tornado Alley Is Not the Best Place for DHS Infectious Disease Research Facility

07/27/2009
The Washington Post is reporting "the Department of Homeland Security relied on a rushed, flawed study to justify its decision to locate a $700 million research facility for highly infectious pathogens in a tornado-prone section of Kansas, according to a government report." "The department's analysis was not "scientifically defensible" in ...

The Mean Gene Evolution Machine

07/26/2009
Researchers at Harvard Medical School have created a new genome engineering machine officially called MAGE (multiplex automated genome engineering) that can tweak dozens of genes to create billions of unique microbial strains in a few days. "MAGE relies on the tendency of cells to incorporate little bits of laboratory made DNA ...

UT Houston research identifies microbe that could trigger colic in babies

07/25/2009
Published in the online edition of the Journal of Pediatrics, a study authored by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston suspect an organism called Klebsiella, a normally occurring bacterium that can be found in the mouth, skin and intestines as the cause for babies with ...

Rabies the third-biggest infectious disease killer in China

07/25/2009
Despite economic and healthcare advances, the majority of China has not had easy access to human rabies vaccines and the disease has risen in recent years from fewer than 200 cases in the 1990s to 3,302 in 2007. This statistic makes rabies the third-biggest infectious disease killer in China after ...

H1N1 may cause seizures in children

07/25/2009
The NY Times is reporting that CDC officials are alerting doctors that H1N1/swine flu may cause seizures, after four children were hospitalized in Texas for neurological complications. All four children fully recovered without complications after being treated at a Dallas hospital. "The announcement does not surprise doctors accustomed to seeing complications ...

Interview with Craig Venter on designing algae to produce oil and partnering with Exxon Mobil

07/24/2009
This is a short but interesting interview in the New Scientist that explores Craig Venter's partnership with Exxon Mobil to turn living algae into oil producing factories. When asked what the desired outcome will be, Venter says: "Our aim is to have a real and significant impact on the billions of gallons ...

All Your Biomass Are Belong to Us

07/24/2009
"When Robotic Technology, Inc., and Cyclone Power Technologies announced earlier this month they had completed the first phase of their project to build a robotic vehicle that could scavenge sticks, grass, leaves and other biomass to fuel itself, the companies had no idea that their proposed machine would set off ...

Could Bacteria-Filled Balloons Stop the Spread of the Sahara?

07/24/2009
While many are supporting the idea of building a green wall of vegetation (i.e. trees) to prevent the march of sands on the creeping southern border of the Sahara, Architect Magnus Larsson is proposing that we also solidify the dunes using bacteria-filled balloons. At a recent TED conference, Larsson suggests ...

150 Dead in Nepal Due to Cholera Outbreak

07/24/2009
"The causative agent of cholera, Vibrio cholerae, has been detected in stool samples collected from the Jajarkot district in Nepal where more than 150 persons died of diarrhea in recent weeks. When five suspected samples were subjected to laboratory test in Kathmandu following the Ministry of Health and Population directives, the ...

Discarded chicken parts may provide an abundant source of biodiesel fuel

07/24/2009
"Scientists in Nevada are reporting development of a new and environmentally friendly process for producing biodiesel fuel from "chicken feather meal," made from the 11 billion pounds of poultry industry waste that accumulate annually in the United States alone." Here's the secret recipe: 1. Extract fat from chicken feather meal using boiling ...

5 percent of penguins in the Galapagos may harbor malaria parasite

07/24/2009
Biologists studying the penguins of Galapagos islands have found evidence that the animals harbor the malaria parasite plasmodium. "Iris Levin of the University of Missouri at St Louis and her colleagues took blood samples from 362 Galapagos penguins – already listed as being threatened with extinction – on nine islands in ...

AIDS-like disease found in wild chimpanzees

07/24/2009
An international consortium has found that wild chimpanzees naturally infected with Simian Immunodeficiency Viruses (SIV) – long thought to be harmless to the apes – can contract an AIDS-like syndrome and die as a result. The findings are published in the July 23 edition of the journal Nature. Scientists have ...

New vaccine blocks malaria transmission in lab experiments

07/24/2009
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute have for the first time produced a malarial protein (Pfs48/45) in the proper conformation and quantity to generate a significant immune response in mice and non-human primates for use in a potential transmission-blocking vaccine. Antibodies induced by Pfs48/45 protein vaccine effectively blocked ...

NIAID to start clinical trials of H1N1 vaccine

07/24/2009
Scientists in a network of medical research institutions across the United States are set to begin a series of clinical trials to gather critical data about influenza vaccines, including two candidate H1N1 flu vaccines. The research will be under the direction of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases ...

Syphilis making comeback, gonorrhea more treatment resistant

07/24/2009
According to Dr. David H. Martin, Professor and Chief of the Section of Infectious Diseases at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, "the number of cases of the asymptomatic Chlamydia trachomatis, the most common reportable infectious disease in the US, is growing; gonorrhea, the second most common ...

The CDC stops reporting confirmed and probable H1N1 flu cases

07/24/2009
Instead of reporting confirmed and probable novel H1N1 flu cases, the CDC has transitioned to using its traditional flu surveillance systems to track the progress of both the novel H1N1 flu pandemic and seasonal influenza. The CDC believes "confirmed and probable case counts represent a significant underestimation of the true ...

Milking Algae to Produce Biofuel

07/24/2009
Researchers from Canada and India have published a thorough paper in the American Chemical Society’s bi-monthly journal Industrial Engineering & Chemical Research on various approaches, challenges and benefits of “milking” oil from single-cell algae known as diatoms. "In this communication, we propose ways of harvesting oil from diatoms, using biochemical ...

Call for 2010 Research Mentors for the ASM Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship

07/23/2009
Want to be a host mentor? Your influence can have a wonderful impact on a minority science student. The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) seeks partnership with research mentors at research intensive institutions to leverage support of the fellowship program. The research mentor must be an ASM member and support ...

Reported Dengue Fever Infections Quadruple in Sri Lanka for 2009

07/21/2009
ChinaView.cn is reportiong that the number of dengue deaths in Sri Lanka has risen to 180 while 18,030 cases have been reported this year, according to officials from the Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry. "They said of the 18,030 cases the highest number of patients was reported from June ...

New DNA Vaccine Inhibits Deadly Skin Cancer in Mice

07/21/2009
A new DNA vaccine inhibited malignant melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, in mice by eliciting antibodies that target a gastrin-releasing peptide which is known to play a key role in cancer development. The researchers from China and the U.S. report their findings in the July 2009 issue of ...

Infection-Causing Amoeba May be Resistant to Multiple Contact Lens Solutions

07/21/2009
A new study suggests that some contact lens solutions do not properly disinfect against Acanthamoeba, a free-living organism in the environment that can cause a painful vision-threatening infection. The researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Service, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ...

"Single-Shot" Vaccines May Protect Against H5N1 Influenza Virus

07/21/2009
Two newly developed "single-shot" H5N1 influenza vaccines protected ferrets against lethal infection with the H5N1 influenza virus and may allow for mass vaccination in humans in the event of a pandemic outbreak. The researchers from Australia report their findings in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of Virology. As the ...

The Alaska Ocean Blob Mystery Revealed - It's an Algal Bloom

07/20/2009
Several media outlets from Time Magazine to local Alaska papers have confirmed that the 15 mile long organic blob floating in the Chukchi Sea, the waters between Alaska and Siberia, is indeed an algal bloom. But how common are algal blooms so high up in the northern hemisphere? Apparently, if ...

New book from ASM Press, The Elusive Malaria Vaccine: Miracle or Mirage?

07/17/2009
Malaria is one of humankind's greatest killers, yet despite the best efforts of scientists, an effective vaccine is still not available to prevent it. A new book from ASM Press, The Elusive Malaria Vaccine: Miracle or Mirage? tells the story of the search for a still unrealized vaccine. Chronicling a 100-year ...

Cleaning Office Environments of Microbial Contaminants

07/17/2009
Here's a poster presentation by Luke Johnson from Canada's Carleton University on "Cleaning Office Environments of Microbial Contaminants," or how to best clean up an office space after a biothreat incident such as anthrax. Johnson was this year's recipient of the American Industrial Hygiene Association's Ken Dillon Award. The ...

Know Your Mushrooms - The Documentary

07/17/2009
Larry Evans, president of Western Montana Mycological Association, along with fellow mycologist, Gary Lincoff, introduce film audiences to the weird world of mycology in the new documentary "Know Your Mushrooms." With a psychedelic soundtrack produced by The Flaming Lips, director Ron Mann's documentary lends an investigative eye into the world ...

Science on Twitter

07/17/2009
An article about scientists' use of Twitter appears on BioOne's website. Of particular interest is how evolutionary biologist Jonathan Eisen approaches this communications technology: One scientist who is exploring Twitter's potential utility for his work is evolutionary biologist Jonathan Eisen, of the University of California, Davis. Eisen, who is also the ...

A Microbiology Curriculum for K through 12 Grades

07/17/2009
Bact to school time is on the horizon and I am sure many teachers, educators and professors are looking for supplemental course material or new ideas. A quick search on the web resulted in this comprehensive Microbiology curriculum for K-12 that was presented at the 1997 Annual Meeting of the ...

Codex confirms “alternative approach” for listeria monocytogenes in ready to eat food

07/17/2009
From Food Production Daily - The Codex Alimentarius Commission has moved quickly to clarify a newly ratified standard on permitted levels of listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in ready-to-eat (RTE) food after being challenged by the UK’s Chilled Food Association (CFA). On Monday, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Health Organisation ...

Probiotics can help gastric-bypass patients lose fat, says study

07/17/2009
Use of probiotics after a gastric bypass can help obese patients lose weight at a faster pace and avoid vitamin-B deficiency, according to the latest study. Probiotics are the so-called 'good' bacteria found in yoghurt as well as in over-the-counter dietary supplements that help in digestion of food. John Morton, ...

FDA Wants to Limit Use of Antibiotics in Livestock

07/14/2009
The Food and Drug Administration believes antibiotics should be used on livestock only to cure or prevent disease and not to promote growth, a common use, said Principal deputy FDA commissioner Joshua Sharfstein. "The FDA also believes that the use of medications for prevention and control should be under the supervision ...

Swine Flu Death Statistics May Be Flawed Say Researchers

07/14/2009
Estimates of the proportion of people who will die if infected with swine flu are flawed, say UK researchers. Currently, the death rate in the UK and the US is estimated at about 0.5 per cent of people who have been infected with the virus. And, accurate estimates are needed so ...

Swine Flu Parties

07/14/2009
According to the BBC, "reports have emerged of people intentionally mixing with friends who have flu. Their reasoning is that it is best to be infected before the winter when the virus could become more deadly. But public health expert Dr Richard Jarvis, chairman of the British Medical Association's public ...

Exxon partners with Synthetic Genomics to Invest Millions in producing biofuel from algae

07/14/2009
"On Tuesday, Exxon plans to announce an investment of $600 million in producing liquid transportation fuels from algae — organisms in water that range from pond scum to seaweed. The biofuel effort involves a partnership with Synthetic Genomics, a biotechnology company founded by the genomics pioneer J. Craig Venter." "The agreement ...

A new liquid vaccine to protect children from ear infections

07/14/2009
A new study could introduce a pain-free vaccination strategy that works against ear infections developed by Lauren Bakaletz, PhD, director of the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in collaboration with John Clements, PhD, at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. Ear infections ...

Solving Darwin's Dilemma

07/14/2009
An interesting article in the New Scientist looks at solving Darwin's Dilemma, that is, in Darwin's words from the first edition of origin of Species, "If my theory be true, it is indisputable that before the lowest Silurian stratum was deposited... the world swarmed with living creatures. To the question ...

Researchers explain why HIV-1 progresses faster in women than in men

07/14/2009
One of the continuing mysteries of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is why women usually develop lower viral levels than men following acute HIV-1 infection but progress faster to AIDS than men with similar viral loads. Now a research team based at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), MIT and ...

Swine may have played a big role in the 1918 Flu pandemic

07/14/2009
A study published in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences makes the case that the last century's deadliest pandemic, the 1918 Flu, may not have emerged from a sudden leap from birds to humans. Instead the authors theorize that swine played a big role in the virus' evolution ...

WHO Recommends Countries to Reduce Lab Tests for H1N1/Swine Flu

07/14/2009
Bloomberg news is reporting that the World Health Organization will recommend countries should stop trying to test all suspected cases of swine flu, according to Keiji Fukuda, the agency’s assistant director-general of health security and environment. The WHO suggests countries that have reported pandemic flu cases should focus on diagnosing patients ...

UK Health Experts Surprised by Rapid Spread of Summer Swine Flu/H1N1

07/14/2009
Dr Alan Hay, director of the London-based World Influenza Centre, said the extensive summer outbreak in Britain had not followed expected patterns and warned the Department of Health needed to be prepared for a more deadly form of the disease. "We have been a little surprised by the degree of spread ...

H1N1/swine flu could "severly disrupt" London transport

07/14/2009
The UK's Business Continuity Institute and The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union claima UK swine flu epidemic could severely disrupt transportation in London. "There have now been 17 swine flu-related deaths in the UK, including six-year-old Chloe Buckley, from west London, who died on 9 July." "RMT general secretary Bob ...

Unleashing the Power of Beer

07/10/2009
German and Slovakian researchers are attempting to solve two problems at once, the volatile market for grain waste and the growing demand for biofuel. Not to long ago beer manufacturers in Europe simply sold their waste to farmers who either fed it to their animals or used it as fertilizer, "but ...

Fine Reading: In the Company of Ciliates

07/10/2009
Merry Youle from From the Small Things Considered Blog points readers to an article by Hans-Dieter Görtz on the fascinating relationships between ciliates and bacteria. "Organisms such as ciliates that dine daily on bacteria run the risk of getting an infection. Indeed, ciliates—large, complex cells—are host in nature to gazillion different ...

T4 bacteriophage targets E. coli

07/06/2009
T4 bacteriophages targeting E. coli bacteria. Bacteriophages are small viruses that infect bacteria and kill them by multiplying and essentially filling the bacterial cell to bursting. This is a great animation.

Life at the Extremes: Microbes, Salt and Pressure (Part 6)

07/06/2009
Adrienne Kish, an astrobiologist with an interest in the microbiology and molecular biology of extremophiles exposed to the types of environmental conditions found on planetary bodies such as Mars and the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn, presents a lecture entitled "Life at the Extremes: Micerobes, Salt & Pressure" at ...

Life at the Extremes: Microbes, Salt and Pressure (Part 5)

07/06/2009
Adrienne Kish, an astrobiologist with an interest in the microbiology and molecular biology of extremophiles exposed to the types of environmental conditions found on planetary bodies such as Mars and the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn, presents a lecture entitled "Life at the Extremes: Micerobes, Salt & Pressure" at ...

Life at the Extremes: Microbes, Salt and Pressure (Part 4)

07/06/2009
Adrienne Kish, an astrobiologist with an interest in the microbiology and molecular biology of extremophiles exposed to the types of environmental conditions found on planetary bodies such as Mars and the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn, presents a lecture entitled "Life at the Extremes: Micerobes, Salt & Pressure" at ...

Life at the Extremes: Microbes, Salt and Pressure (Part 3)

07/06/2009
Adrienne Kish, an astrobiologist with an interest in the microbiology and molecular biology of extremophiles exposed to the types of environmental conditions found on planetary bodies such as Mars and the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn, presents a lecture entitled "Life at the Extremes: Micerobes, Salt & Pressure" at ...

Life at the Extremes: Microbes, Salt and Pressure (Part 2)

07/06/2009
Adrienne Kish, an astrobiologist with an interest in the microbiology and molecular biology of extremophiles exposed to the types of environmental conditions found on planetary bodies such as Mars and the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn, presents a lecture entitled "Life at the Extremes: Micerobes, Salt & Pressure" at ...

Life at the Extremes: Microbes, Salt and Pressure (Part 1)

07/06/2009
Adrienne Kish, an astrobiologist with an interest in the microbiology and molecular biology of extremophiles exposed to the types of environmental conditions found on planetary bodies such as Mars and the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn, presents a lecture entitled "Life at the Extremes: Micerobes, Salt & Pressure" at ...

3 cases of Tamiflu-resistant H1N1 (Swine flu) now on the radar

07/03/2009
Yesterday Denmark announced the first known case of Tamiflu-resistant H1N1. Today Hong Kong announced a teen who flew in from San Francisco tested positive for a resistant strain. Also, Japan announced a woman from Osaka also is resistant after a 10 day course of the medication. "This marks the first known ...

Genetics 101

07/03/2009
23andme, "the world's trusted source of personal genetic information", has produced a great animation series about genes and genetics. The films will be aired during Gene Screen, a night of film on health and genetics in Washington, D.C. on July 16. Watch an animated guide to your genes, SNPs, phenotype, ...

Methane-producing molecule can also repair DNA

07/03/2009
Archaea are single-celled organisms and a domain unto themselves, quite apart from the so called eukaryotes, being bacteria and higher organisms. Many species live under extreme conditions, and carry out unique biochemical processes shared neither with bacteria nor with eukaryotes. Methanogenic archaeans, for example, can produce methane gas out of ...

Gene Expression of Listeria During Infection in Real Time

07/03/2009
"Scientists in Portugal and France managed to follow the patterns of gene expression in food-poisoning bacteria Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes) live during infection for the first time. The work about to be published in PLoS Pathogens shows how the bacterial genome shifts to better adapt to infection by activating genes ...

Combining Agriculture with Microbial Genomics To Make Fuels

07/02/2009
This article looks at key challenges when using agricultural waste as a sustainable source for biofuels to meet worldwide energy needs. Subjects include dealing with diverse cellulosic sugars and finding ways to recycle carbon dioxide back into useful biomass. Why plants such as sugar cane and Hibiscus varieties from the Malvaceae ...

Calling All Media - ICAAC 2009 Press Registration Now Open for San Francisco

07/02/2009
News media registration for the annual infectious disease meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is now open. The 49th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) will be held September 12-15, 2009 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. Known as the preeminent world meeting for presenting ...

Stomachache Tonight - Animated Food Saftey Music Video

07/01/2009
Dr. Carl Winter, a food toxicologist at University of California, Davis, sings this parody of The Eagles' "Heartache Tonight."

Emerging Diseases - Conversations from Penn State

06/30/2009
From malaria to e-coli to newly evolved strains of swine flu, infectious diseases are on the rise worldwide. Peter Hudson, founding director of the Penn State Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics and the director of the Huck Institutes of Life Sciences at Penn State, discusses the dynamics of infectious diseases, ...

Researchers estimate 9 million bacterial genes in the human gut

06/29/2009
While estimates of the number of genes in the human genome is said to be around 20,000, new research estimates that if you take into account our microbiota there may be as many as 9 million genes in the human gut. "A new concept is to consider human as a super-organism ...

PLoS paper on citation impact analysis takes into account social networks

06/29/2009
From the abstract - The impact of scientific publications has traditionally been expressed in terms of citation counts. However, scientific activity has moved online over the past decade. To better capture scientific impact in the digital era, a variety of new impact measures has been proposed on the basis of ...

Want to be a Microbiology Mentor?

06/25/2009
Beginning in 2010, undergraduate students from colleges and universities with limited resources will be offered research experience at research-intensive, resource-rich host institutions under the guidance of members from the American Society for Microbiology. This paper (click "source") explains the history and evolution of the ASM-MURF program since its beginning in ...

Histamine H3 Receptor-Mediated Signaling Protects Mice from Cerebral Malaria

06/23/2009
A new paper submitted to PLoS One shows histamine plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of experimental cerebral malaria (CM) in mice infected with Plasmodium berghei ANKA. Histamine exerts its biological effects through four different receptors designated H1R, H2R, H3R, and H4R. In humans, as well as in murine ...

New HR Report: Discrimination, Denial, and Deportation of Migrant Workers with HIV

06/23/2009
About a third of the world’s countries limit people living with with H.I.V. from entering or staying in their nations, even if the individual's disease is under control with drugs. Some even restrict their access to health care. "Hundreds of millions of people cross borders annually, travelling and migrating for ...

PLoS Journals Projected to be 100% Self-Sufficient by 2010

06/23/2009
The Public Library of Science's open access journals just release its 2009 June Progress Report in which they project "a publishing business model projected to be 100% self-sufficient in 2010." "PLoS journals use a business model that recovers expenses — including administration of peer review, journal production, and online hosting and ...

Pavlov's Bacteria

06/17/2009
Bacteria can anticipate a future event and prepare for it, according to new research at the Weizmann Institute of Science. In a paper that appeared today in Nature, Prof. Yitzhak Pilpel, doctoral student Amir Mitchell and research associate Dr. Orna Dahan of the Institute's Molecular Genetics Department, together with Prof. ...

Electromicrobiology

06/17/2009
An interesting presentation given by Yuri Gorby, an electromicrobiologist at the J. Craig Venter Institute in San Diego, at CalIT2 at UCSD on electronmicrobiology. Here's part of the description from SciVee.tv: Respiratory microorganisms capture energy for growth and maintenance as they transfer electrons from energy sources to appropriate electron acceptors. Controlling ...

The Acid Fast Stain

06/17/2009
Here's a movie from the University of Madison-Wisconsin depicting the steps for creating an acid fast stain. {movremote}http://inst.bact.wisc.edu/inst/images/book_3/chapter_3/3-18.mov{/movremote}

Study Says Children Should Receive Swine Influenza H1N1 Vaccine First

06/17/2009
Targeting children may be an effective use of limited supplies of flu vaccine, according to research funded by the Wellcome Trust and the EU. The study suggests that, used to support other control measures, this could help control the spread of pandemics such as the current swine flu. As the World ...

BAC Down! Give bacteria the cold shoulder.

06/17/2009
BAC Down! Give bacteria the cold shoulder. Keep your refrigerator at 40° F or below. Use a thermometer to monitor. The bacterium Listeria monocyotogenes can grow at refrigerator temperatures. Pregnant women, young children and people with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of Listeriosis. For more information visit the source ...

Elederly People in the UK more likely to Gamble with Food Safety

06/17/2009
This comes from the UK's Food Standards Agency: People over the age of 60 are more likely to take risks with 'use by' dates than younger people, according to new research published today by the Food Standards Agency. The research coincides with the launch of an Agency campaign to focus on ...

Interview with Brian Malow, Science Comedian

06/12/2009
Al Gore's interactive, old school broadcasting meets new media, website Current.tv has highlighted a recent interview on deliatheartist.com with science comedian Brian Malow. Two years ago, MicrobeWorld actually caught up with Malow at an event at the Koshland Museum in DC in which he presented an act on infectious disease. The ...

CDC YouTube Response to WHO's Pandemic Declaration

06/11/2009
The Secretary of Health and Human Services issued this video statement in response to the WHOs decision to raise the pandemic threat level on the novel H1N1 virus.

A Very Special Couple: Emma and Charles Darwin

06/11/2009
Just when you thought that everything conceivable has been written about Charles Darwin on his bicentennial, a revealing perspective on his wife, Emma, appeared in the journal International Microbiology. Written by the distinguished science writer Mercé Piqueras, the article sheds light on many aspects of the relationship between Charles and ...

Statements by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano on WHO Decision to Declare Novel H1N1 Virus Outbreak a Pandemic

06/11/2009
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano issued the following statements today in response to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision to raise the pandemic threat level on the novel H1N1 virus. 'Today’s decision by the WHO was expected ...

Over 60 million Vietnamese people have parasitic worms in their bodies

06/11/2009
A government report on food hygiene and safety said that many vegetables and fruits contain pesticides and chemicals, meats and meat products contain bacteria and over 60 million Vietnamese people have parasitic worms in their bodies. Random tests of fruits and vegetables in Hanoi and Vinh Phuc province in the north, ...

New Strain of Listeria Can Carry Medicines And Vaccines

06/11/2009
Scientists have used genetic engineering to tame one of the most deadly food poisoning microbes and turn it into a potential new way of giving patients medicine and vaccines in pills rather than injections. The study is in the current issue of ACS’ Molecular Pharmaceutics, a bi-monthly journal. The scientists describe ...

A soil microbe uses 'implausible' chemistry to produce herbicidal compound

06/11/2009
A soil microbe that uses chemical warfare to fight off competitors employs an unusual chemical pathway in the manufacture of its arsenal, researchers report, making use of an enzyme that can do what no other enzyme is known to do: break a non-activated carbon-carbon bond in a single step. Their study, ...

The microbial hydrocarbon diet

06/11/2009
Bioremediation of industrial sites and petrochemical spillages often involves finding microbes that can gorge themselves on the toxic chemicals. This leaves behind a non-toxic residue or mineralized material. Writing in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution, researchers in China describe studies of a new microbe that can digest hydrocarbons. Hong-Qi ...

H1N1 | Swine Flu Officially a Pandemic, Says WHO

06/11/2009
Breaking News from the WHO via SkyNews: In a statement to member countries, the WHO said it decided to raise the pandemic alert level from phase five to six, meaning that a global outbreak of swine flu has begun. The decision was made after the UN health agency held an emergency meeting ...

Mapping and Predicting Swine Flu|H1N1 Spread

06/11/2009
Here's a video from the New Scientist on how experts are tracking and predicting the spread of Swine Flu. The video is originally sourced from Northwestern University. Unfortunately the New Scientist doesn't tell you who's speaking or what research group is doing this work, but it's interesting none-the-less.

P.S.I. – Are my soybeans wearing different genes?

06/09/2009
At points this student made video borders on the absurd, but that's what makes Plant Science Investigations fun to watch. "The video PSI – Are my soybeans wearing different genes? is inspired by the popular TV show “CSI-crime scene investigations”. Here, however, the investigators are solving cases in the field ...

Super-Resolution Microscopy Captures Molecules in Motion

06/09/2009
A new electron microscopy technique called structured illumination microscopy for filming cellular processes, developed by scientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus, captures up to 11 images per second at twice the resolution. {movremote}http://www.hhmi.org/news/media/gustafson1.mov|400|240{/movremote} Above: Live Imaging of Microtubules in Action. Left clip is from SIM, right is ...

Disease Prevention is Top Priority for Americans, says Poll

06/09/2009
More than 70 percent of Americans rank prevention as the most important health care reform priority, and overwhelmingly support increasing funding for prevention programs to reduce disease and keep people healthy. "In a new public opinion poll released today by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, ...

Interview with a Biohacker: Meredith Patterson

06/09/2009
h+ magazine is a new web-based periodical that covers "technological, scientific, and cultural trends that are changing — and will change — human beings in fundamental ways." In the Summer 09 issue, which you can view by clicking source above, there are many interesting articles and interviews on a wide range ...

Should the MRR Vaccine be Compulsory?

06/03/2009
A very interesting blog post over on the Nature Network by editor Henry Gee that's sparking lots of comments and debate. "The Man is now so worried about the decline in take-up of the MMR (Measles-Mumps-Rubella) vaccine that some clinicians are suggesting they be made compulsory – that no child should ...

Saving Frogs from Fungus: How a Probiotic Skin bacterium May Help

06/03/2009
Research presented by Reid Harris, Department of Biology, James Madison University, at the American Society for Microbiology's General Meeting in Philadelphia provides hope for the world's declining frog population. "Many amphibian species in relatively pristine habitats are experiencing dramatic population declines and extinctions due to the skin disease chytridiomycosis, which is ...

Extremophile Hunter Searches for 'Impossible' Life

06/03/2009
This is from NSF's Science Nation videocast program. The search is on for extremophiles, living things that thrive where life would seem to be impossible -- from the glaciers of the Alaskan arctic, to the ice sheets of Antarctica, that may provide insights about life elsewhere in cosmos.

Bioengineering synthetic microorganisms with a programmable shelf life

05/28/2009
"Synthetic biology has already delivered engineered organisms that can churn out a malaria drug, cook up an ideal biofuel or act as biosensors, but questions remain about how such organisms can be eliminated from the environment after they have performed their task. A team of US biotechnologists now thinks it has ...

New FDA Rules on E.coli contamination and bottled water

05/28/2009
From December 1, all manufacturers must test source water for the germs each week as is currently required for finished bottled water products. If tests prove positive for E. coli, companies must explain in writing how they eliminated the bacteria and retest samples before use. According to a notice posted on ...

Can geography trump other factors that influence the makeup of genes an organism hosts?

05/28/2009
This is an interesting story from RedOrbit on how geographic factors influence the genes of the acid loving extremophile Sulfolobus islandicus. Sulfolobus islandicus, a microbe that can live in boiling acid, is offering up its secrets to researchers hardy enough to capture it from the volcanic hot springs where it thrives. ...

The Grand Challenge of Biology

05/28/2009
I was at a tech meeting hosted by Amazon Web Services to see how I may use some of their cloud computing services for this site. One segment of the presentation was devoted to customers who use AWS for their sites or work. The slide you see in this image ...

Stinky Tofu

05/28/2009
I am a sucker for all microbe-related food items. I have never had stinky tofu before. Apparently, it is made by marinating the tofu in a brine of fermented vegetables. Here's a description of it from Wierd Asia News: "From a distance, it is said that rotting garbage is as close ...

Ultra Sound Weapons Knock Out Algal Blooms

05/19/2009
Scientists at the University of Hull, UK, think they have found a way to put a stop to red tide by exposing them to blasts of ultrasound. Michiel Postema and his colleagues tested three different frequencies on a particularly harmful species of blue-green algae, Anabaena sphaerica, which can cause respiratory ...

Oregon researchers isolate RNA from specific cells using fruit flies

05/19/2009
A team of University of Oregon biologists, using fruit flies, has created a way to isolate RNA from specific cells, opening a new window on how gene expression drives normal development and disease-causing breakdowns. While DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) provides an identical genetic blueprint in every cell, RNA (ribonucleic acid) decodes ...

Milestones in Microbiology: Bergey's Lab

05/17/2009
Alison O'Brien, President at American Society for Microbiology and professor and chair of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences’ (USU) Department of Microbiology and Immunology, in Philadelphia.

A Solar Powered Micro-machine Commands Bacteria Movement

05/16/2009
"Researchers in Canada have created a solar-powered micro-machine that is no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. The tiny machine can carry out basic sensing tasks and can indirectly control the movement of a swarm of bacteria in the same Petri dish." "On such a small device ...

Termites and Protozoa Discovered Together in 100 Million-year-old Amber

05/16/2009
The analysis of a termite entombed for 100 million years in an ancient piece of amber has revealed the oldest example of "mutualism" ever discovered between an animal and microorganism, and also shows the unusual biology that helped make this one of the most successful, although frequently despised insect groups ...

Plague Doctor

05/16/2009
Doctors in the 17th Century wore penguin-like masks stuffed with flowers and herbs to protect themselves from the Plague. Image from NIH.

17th Century Doctors Wore Pengiun-like Masks to Treat Plague Patients

05/16/2009
I've always scene these types of masks featured in freaky movies, but had no idea that they were used by doctors in the 17th century to treat people who got infected by the plague. "Scientists thought the plague was caused by breathing harmful gases emitted from the ground, and doctors put ...

Chemist shows how RNA may have been the first building blocks of life

05/14/2009
This is an exciting discovery for chemists, biologists and microbiologists alike. It's a great read. John D. Sutherland, a chemist at the University of Manchester, has solved a problem that for 20 years has thwarted researchers trying to understand the origin of life — how the building blocks of RNA, called ...

Swine flu vaccine may not be ready for next wave

05/14/2009
The World Health Organization is now considering whether to advise the world's vaccine makers to switch from ordinary flu vaccine to the swine flu one. While a pandemic declaration is still probable, and the WHO gives the go-ahead, the swine flu vaccine will arrive too late for many. Here's what the ...

UC Davis researchers get $2 million to develop the first electron microscope capable of filming

05/14/2009
A proposal by a team of UC Davis scientists to develop the world’s first electron microscope capable of filming live biological processes has been awarded a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The team’s plan is to extend the capabilities of a powerful new imaging tool called the ...

Cholesterol-busting bug with a taste for waste

05/14/2009
I wonder if this could replace Lipitor? A novel species of bacteria with cholesterol-busting properties has been discovered by scientists at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. Dr Oliver Drzyzga and colleagues isolated the new bug, called Gordonia cholesterolivorans, from sewage sludge. Their findings are reported in the current issue of ...

Microbial RNA Ocean Catch Surprises MIT

05/14/2009
Press release from MIT - An ingenious new method of obtaining marine microbe samples while preserving the microbes' natural gene expression has yielded an unexpected boon: the presence of many varieties of small RNAs - snippets of RNA that act as switches to regulate gene expression in these single-celled creatures. ...

E.coli May Promote Bowel Cancer

05/13/2009
Scientists at Edinburgh University have found a "strong" suggestion the bacteria is able to hamper the body's fight against bowel cancer. They now hope the findings from their pilot study will lead to more research into the causes of the disease. "Our laboratory work does strongly suggest that the bacteria are ...
05/12/2009
DNA synthesis technology, in combination with other rapidly-evolving capabilities in the life sciences, such as directed molecular evolution and viral reverse genetics, has galvanized segments of the scientific community.1 It also has captured the attention of the general public and policymakers, and prompted far-reaching questions about the potential uses ...

Serious Sediment

05/12/2009
Rutgers' Donna Fennell is reclaiming chlorine-contaminated sediments in New Jersey 's urban Meadowlands through smart environmental engineering and microbiological enrichment. Serious Sediment is a segment from CSREES' Partners Video Magazine's 19th episode, The Soil Explorers. To view the entire episode, go to http://www.csrees.usda.gov/newsroom/partners/soil_explorers.html.

Trading Futures on the Swine Flu (H1N1)

05/11/2009
Just as the media chatter about H1N1 influenza reached a fever pitch, traders were expressing a more sober outlook. At least that's the word from the Iowa Electronic Health Markets, which opened H1N1 futures contracts on April 28th to assess the breadth, speed and severity of the outbreak. "Overall, the conclusion ...

A Global Call to Action From HIV Co-Discoverers Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier

05/11/2009
HIV co-discoverers Drs. Robert C. Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Luc A. Montagnier, president of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention, called on international organizations and governments to immediately implement six objectives to end the HIV/AIDS ...

Analysis of swine flu spread supports pandemic plan

05/11/2009
H1N1 swine flu is spreading fast enough to justify the preparations for a pandemic, say epidemiologists who've analysed the pattern of spread so far. "The message is that the epidemic is spreading very much as expected based on past flu epidemics," says Christophe Fraser of Imperial College London, and co-leader of ...

Iran's Salt Mummies Find a New Home

05/11/2009
Iran's four saltmen, unique salt mummies, have found a new resting place is one of the most advanced display cases in the world. The vacuum chamber in Zanjan can precisely control humidity and airflow and is provided with a nitrogen-rich mixture deadly to known bacteria and mold. I had no idea ...

Hunting for sudden oak death disease

05/11/2009
The University of California-Berkeley is incorporating volunteers to help pinpoint the flash points of sudden oak death syndrome. "The furtive, runaway disease earned its name by killing oaks from the inside. After about a year, infected oaks succumb to the disease. Sudden oak disease has killed thousands of trees — ...

New paint shows germ-fighting potential

05/11/2009
Scientists have created a new antimicrobial paint kills disease-causing bacteria, mold, fungi and viruses. Apparently it can be "recharged" using a simple chlorination process. "The paint contains a new antimicrobial polymer with a type of N-halamine, a bleach-like substance that kills germs. The polymer has no negative effects on the quality ...

ASM Launches new Laboratory Capacity Building Program Website

05/11/2009
In resource-limited countries, a lack of training, proper reagents, supplies, and equipment has impacted their laboratories' ability to identify key pathogenic bacteria and detection of antimicrobial resistance. This has led to an environment of syndromic diagnosis by clinicians who have little confidence in the accuracy and quality of laboratory test ...

The Mitochondria Song

05/08/2009
Over at the World's Fair Science blog David Ng has come up with this song about mitochondria. {mp3remote}http://scienceblogs.com/worldsfair/mitochondria.mp3{/mp3remote} It sort of reminds me of a Social Distortion song.

Digital Disease Detection — Harnessing the Web for Public Health Surveillance

05/08/2009
Wow, the NEJM is really knocking out some great "perspectives" in their most recent issue. The Internet has become a critical medium for clinicians, public health practitioners, and laypeople seeking health information. Data about diseases and outbreaks are disseminated not only through online announcements by government agencies but also through ...

Researchers have developed a formula to reduce methane gas in cattle

05/08/2009
The air smells cleaner in Canda thanks to thanks to University of Alberta researchers who have developed a formula to reduce methane gas in cattle. By developing equations that balance starch, sugar, cellulose, ash, fat and other elements of feed, a Canada-wide team of scientists has given beef producers the tools ...

Viruses represented as lace doilies

05/08/2009
Artist Laura Splan has created lace doilies, aka ornamental mats, of the herpes and SARS viruses. Excerpt from Artists's Bio: My work explores perceptions of beauty and horror, comfort and discomfort. I use anatomical and medical imagery as a point of departure to explore these dualities and our ambivalence ...

Salmonella

05/08/2009
A photomicrograph of Salmonella bacteria. Courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Raw milk bill moves to Vermont's Senate

05/08/2009
Raw milk is often criticized as a vessel for foodborne pathogens, but advocates claim when handled and consumed correctly it's as safe as pasteurized milk. Artisan cheese makers in particular are in favor of raw milk because in their view it makes better, tastier and unique cheeses. Vermont, which is a ...

F.B.I. to Pay for Anthrax Inquiry Review of Bruce Ivins Investigation

05/07/2009
Interesting, the FBI is paying the National Academy of Sciences almost $1M for a scientific review of their Anthrax investigation of Bruce E. Ivins, who is accused of sending the deadly letters in 2001. The academy panel will review genetic fingerprinting that led agents to Dr. Ivins’s Maryland laboratory, as ...

Conserved amino acid markers from past influenza pandemic strains

05/07/2009
A recent paper published on Biomedcenteral by Jonathan E Allen , Shea N Gardner , Elizabeth A Vitalis, and Tom R Slezak discovers that new genetic markers for human host-specificity and high lethality in influenza viruses were identified by considering combinations of amino acids conserved among past pandemic strains ...

World's Largest, Unique Virus Photographed for First Time

05/05/2009
These images are amazing and beautiful. From Wired - "A virus so large and strange that it’s redefined the very concept of a virus has been photographed for the first time. It’s even weirder than expected."

Help Spread the Flu (and learn about viruses at the same time)

05/05/2009
The Welcome Trust has funded an interactive Flash game that can be played on the web that teaches young people how the flu is spread. You start off as a flu virus and the goal is to infect others. Along the way, you get educational information about viruses. Here are ...

Bacteria that inspires artificial photosynthetic systems discovered

05/05/2009
An international team of scientists has determined the structure of the chlorophyll molecules in green bacteria that are responsible for harvesting light energy. The team’s results could one day be used to build artificial photosynthetic systems such as those that convert solar energy to electrical energy. The scientists found that the chlorophylls ...

Bonnie Bassler on the secret, social lives of bacteria

05/05/2009
This recent talk at TED by Bonnie Bassler on bacterial communication (aka quorum sensing) was a viral hit among the science geeks on Twitter. It is a very educational and well thought out presentation that is great for personal viewing or showing in the classroom. It's a must watch!

Disrupting Quorum Sensing

05/05/2009
An interesting article on the challenges facing researchers who are developing the second generation of antibiotics. "Quorum sensing is now known to be widespread in the bacterial world, and many researchers hope to develop ways to disrupt it. Kim Janda, a chemical biologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La ...

Common Sense Advice for People Concerned About H1N1 (Swine Flu)

05/05/2009
The New York Times has published a nice FAQ ,if you will, about H1N1 and what the general public should keep in mind in terms of worry, protection and symptoms. The article also talks about what public health response is feasible and should be expected.

CDC Audio/MP3 Public Service Announcements for H1N1 (Swine Flu)

05/05/2009
The CDC has provided and updated MP3s of three H1N1/swine flu-related PSAs for broadcasters, radio stations or the public to use. The latest versions now use the name Influenza A/H1N1 as opposed to swine flu. Hopefully this won't confuse people.

Swine Flu Portraits from Mexico City

05/05/2009
Freelance photographer Nicola “Okin” Frioli has taken a collection of photographs/portraits of people wearing surgical masks in Mexico City. It's an interesting art project that looks at the impact swine flu has on the city's residents.

Outbreak focuses attention on flu treatments

04/29/2009
There is no vaccine for the current strain of swine flu - at least not yet. However, federal health authorities said two antiviral drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza, may play a key role in the response to the outbreak because they are in wide supply and, based on laboratory tests, appear ...

CDC Swine Flu Site

04/29/2009
The CDC's all in one Swine Flu website with resources, updates, guidelines and data.

French Researchers Challenge Effectiveness of Antibiotics Targeting Fatty Acid Biosynthesis

04/29/2009
"The importance of fatty acid biosynthesis to bacterial survival has made the pathway fertile ground for antibiotic targets, and at least three companies are pursuing compounds that block the process. French researchers, however, have challenged the approach with a paper in Nature that describes how Gram-positive bacteria can assimilate host ...

Swine Flu is all pork, not avian or human, claims researchers

04/29/2009
Turns out reports that Swine Flu is a combination of pig, human and avian influenza strains may be inaccurate. Frome Wired.com - "The deadly H1N1 influenza virus that’s fueling fears of a global pandemic is a hybrid of two common pig flu strains, scientists who have studied the disease told ...
04/29/2009
From Sciam: "Influenza's unpredictability has stymied efforts to create a universal vaccine that could be mass-produced in advance of a pandemic threat and used to treat a variety of different virus strains. Instead, drug companies annually try to predict which strains are most likely to circulate and then make enough ...

The New Scientist's Swine Flu Resources Page

04/29/2009
The New Scientist has put together a nice collection of articles and information about the swine flu on it's site.

The Ghost Map - Author Steven Johnson on the 1854 Cholera Outbreak in London

04/29/2009
Author Steven Johnson discusses The Ghost Map, his book about a cholera outbreak in 1854 London and the impact it had on science, cities and modern society.

Swine Flu Music Mash Up! Using the genomic sequence of swine flu hemagglutinin, FJ966952

04/29/2009
Blogger Stephan Zielinski has taken the decoded genomic sequence for Swine Flu and has set it to music using a complicated algorithm. "Each beat corresponds to one amino acid, and the piece is in 3/4 time, so each six measures would correspond to five turns around the alpha structure. ...

Too much knowledge can exaggerate the danger of a pandemic

04/29/2009
Amid the uncertainty over whether this swine flu outbreak will expand from a serious Mexican epidemic into the global pandemic long expected by public health authorities, one thing is certain. As events unfold, the public will know more about the viral disease, its progress through human populations, what authorities are ...

Flies may be the vector that transmitted swine flu to humans

04/29/2009
The swine flu virus that is smoldering in this country and triggering a full-blown outbreak in Mexico is one of a growing number of animal pathogens to jump the species barrier -- and may be the microbe that jumpstarts the first globe-circling pandemic of the 21st century, experts said Tuesday. ...

Temperature scanners give cold comfort during flu outbreak

04/29/2009
Alarmed by the spread of a new swine flu virus, airports around the world have rushed to install temperature scanners to pick out the sick, but the microbe is proving too clever for modern technology. Experts say an infected person can easily pass through these heat sensors without detection as the ...

Millennium Network - Facebook Cause to Support AIDS/HIV, Malaria, Global Warming, etc.

04/29/2009
Inspired by President Clinton’s vision to encourage the next generation of leaders and philanthropists to address the challenges of global interdependence, the William J. Clinton Foundation Millennium Network seeks to engage individuals, age 45 and younger, in the work of the Clinton Foundation. Through the Clinton Foundation, President Clinton continues to ...

Collection of Microbial Discovery Activities for K-12

04/29/2009
The American Society for Microbiology has posted a collection of Microbial Discovery Activities designed for K-12 teachers to facilitate the incorporation of microbiology within science courses. Activities come from the community at large. All submissions are reviewed by the ASM Committee on K-12 Education for scientific and educational content, pedagogical ...

First US Death from Swine Flu in Texas | France calls to suspend all flights from EU to Mexico

04/29/2009
A Mexican toddler who came to the United States with his family on a visit has died in Texas of the swine flu, Texas officials said, as President Obama recommended that schools with confirmed or suspected cases of the disease “strongly consider temporarily closing.” In France, the health minister took ...

Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs

04/27/2009
Common sense information from the CDC on how you can prevent flu transmission and prevent getting sick yourself.

Interim CDC Swine Flu Guidance for States, Territories and Communities

04/27/2009
This document provides interim planning guidance for state, territorial, tribal, and local communities that focuses on several nonpharmaceutical measures that might be useful during this outbreak of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus aimed at reducing disease transmission and associated morbidity and mortality.

CDC: Key Facts About Swine Influenza

04/27/2009
Good basic info on Swine Flu in humans and pigs.

CDC: Swine Flu & You

04/27/2009
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, ...

In Mexico City, The Infection Is Fear

04/27/2009
Journalist and blogger Daniel Hernandez talks about the mindset of people in Mexico City during the swine flu outbreak. Often scientists and researchers skip over the psychological impact of infectious disease. It's an important factor in my opinion and I think this piece highlights the consequences of fear - "“We're ...

Follow the Pigs! - Swine Flu, Factory Farms, Mapping and Public Health

04/27/2009
Janet Ginsburg at TrackerNews.com has a great read on the recent evolution/mutation of swine flu and public health dilemmas from a one health perspective.

Local Economic Impact of Swine Flu in Mexico City

04/27/2009
Freelance reporter Deborah Bonello looks at the impact swine flu is having on the local economy in Mexico City. To visit her site for the full story go to http://www.mexicoreporter.com/?p=2080. This video is in English.

A Guide to Malaria

04/24/2009
In observation of World Malaria Day this April 25, 2009 Scientific American has published a great online resource for people interested in malaria. "The international community has just two years to meet the United Nations's 2010 goal of providing protection and treatment to every person threatened by malaria. Can it ...

Canadian man treated for mysterious illness, possible relation to swine flu?

04/24/2009
The mysterious Swine Flu is all the rage in the papers today. New report from Canada - A Cornwall Crown attorney who returned from Mexico with a mysterious illness is believed to be one of a handful of people in Ontario who may be linked to an outbreak that is ...

CDC Press Conference at 2:30 p.m. EST April 23, 2009 on Swine Flu

04/24/2009
CDC will host a press briefing to discuss an update in the investigation of cases of swine influenza in California and Texas. CDC issued an MMWR dispatch on Tuesday April 21. The briefing will update information included in the dispatch.

A First! Genome of Foodborne Pathogen Arcobacter Exposed

04/24/2009
This comes from the ARS... "Agricultural Research Service microbiologist William Miller and colleagues have deciphered the sequence of the bacterium’s genetic material. This scientific coup—a first for any of the world’s Arcobacters—may speed discovery of innovative ways to control the microbial miscreant."

Could Llama Blood Save Your Life in a Bioterror Attack?

04/24/2009
This week's guest blogger on BoingBoing.net Maggie Koerth-Baker has an interesting post about the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory's research into using specific antibodies from Llama blood as a possible detection measure for Small Pox, Anthrax and other harmful agents. "Llama blood may one day be able to help soldiers, ...

Bacterial biocontrol product improves potato yields

04/24/2009
Now if only Ireland had this product in 1845... Injecting beneficial bacteria into the furrow when planting potatoes could help increase marketable yields and decrease skin blemishes, according to trials. The microbes in Omex's Biomex Starter - a liquid formulation of the naturally-occurring plant-friendly bacteria Bacillus amyloliquefaciens - improve the release ...

Study Says Cannabinoids Show "Exceptional" Antibacterial Activity Against MRSA

04/24/2009
Not sure if I buy into this idea, especially since the press release doesn't definitively say anything. However, it is interesting... Dr. Robert Melamede, PhD., Director and Chief Science Officer, reported to the Board on the current state of research into the use of natural plant cannabinoids to reduce the ...

Strange new flu virus strikes 7in the U.S.

04/23/2009
Seven people have been diagnosed with a strange and unusual new kind of swine flu in California and Texas, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday. All seven people have recovered but the virus itself is a never-before-seen mixture of viruses typical among pigs, birds and ...

FDA clears human trials for malaria vaccine from mosquito spit

04/23/2009
A unique malaria vaccine extracted from the saliva of infected mosquitoes this week received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration to be tested in people. Unlike other malaria vaccines under development, the one from saliva is a weakened version of the entire parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, which causes malaria. Sanaria, the ...

Scientific American Reorganizations puts it within the Nature Publishing Group

04/23/2009
Looks like the recession is starting to strike home at popular science news mediums. This blog post is currently breaking the story... "The recession has finally come to Scientific American. Editor in chief John Rennie and half a dozen or so of his underlings are leaving amid a major reorganization ...

Syracuse University professors make a breakthough in biofilm formation

04/23/2009
SU professors Dacheng Ren and Yan-Yeung Luk have created a platform to control biofilm formation in specific patterns over extended periods of time. They can now manipulate and confine biofilm growth four times longer than previous technologies.

New Diagnostic for Deadly Listeria

04/23/2009
Scientists in Indiana are reporting development of a new biosensor for use in a faster, more sensitive test for detecting the deadliest strain of Listeria food poisoning bacteria.

A new electrical farting machine could improve fuel cell technology

04/23/2009
I think Discovery.com just used the word "fart" to drive traffic, but it's a notable story nonetheless - It sounds like a gag gift instead of serious science, but a new electrical farting machine could improve fuel cell technology by turning C02 in the atmosphere into methane. The technique won't combat ...

3 Vials of Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Missing from Fort Detrick

04/23/2009
From CNN - The Army's Criminal Investigation Command agents have been visiting Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, to investigate the disappearance of the vials. Christopher Grey, spokesman for the command, said this latest investigation has found "no evidence of criminal activity."

Of Terms in Biology: Obligate Parasite

04/23/2009
Here's an interesting blog post from www.smallthingsconsidered.us about the definition of Obligate Parasite.

Bacteria Galore by Sunday at Four

04/22/2009
This is a great online children's book about the role of bacteria in our lives by Dr. Mel Rosenberg for ages 3+.

The Curse of the Pharaohs: Truth, Myth or Microbiology?

04/22/2009
The Curse of Pharaohs that made headline in the 70's and 80's may be microbiology-related in origin. Scientists are starting to believe in the curse --or at least in an explanation for why the series of curse-like coincidences could have happened. Here’s a recipe for a curse: Take one ...

Life without Sex: An Evolutionary Scandal

04/22/2009
Life without sex?!?! An evolutionary scandal?!?! Science pron?! Do Tell!! (OK, maybe I embellished a bit here, LOL) Sexually reproducing organisms that abandon sexual reproduction are typically doomed to early extinction. This phenomenon, it has been said, is the chief reason that evolutionary biologists think that sex is essential. ☺ ...

New Ebola Vaccine on the Horizon

04/22/2009
A new experimental Ebola vaccine is one step closer to realization, having proven its ability to protect against lethal infections in animal models. The researchers report their findings in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of Virology. “Our study demonstrates the potential of the EbolaÄVP30 virus as a new ...

Sugar on bacteria surface serves as base for a web of resistance

04/21/2009
The bacteria responsible for chronic infections in cystic fibrosis patients use one of the sugars on the germs' surface to start building a structure that helps the microbes resist efforts to kill them, new research shows. Scientists have determined that the bacterial cell-surface sugar, a polysaccharide called Psl, is anchored on ...

Silent Human Cases of H5N1|Avian Flu May be Lurking in Egypt

04/21/2009
An unusual pattern of avian flu cases in Egypt — almost all are in toddlers, all of whom have survived — has led some flu-tracking Web sites to speculate that dozens of silent cases are circulating there. However some experts like Dr. Robert G. Webster, say “I hope to hell ...

New Polio Outbreaks in Africa and India Prompt Aid Organizations to Plea for Cash

04/21/2009
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has made an emergency appeal for millions of dollars to fight a new polio outbreak across Africa. Despite more than 20 years of eradication efforts, two strains of polio have spread out from northern Nigeria and northern India — both ...

Rollover Beethoven Here Comes Hip Hop Darwin

04/21/2009
UK microbiologist Mark Pallen has commissioned a rap version of Darwin's theory of evolution by Baba Brinkman, a former English literature student and Canadian hip hop artist. The idea is that the music can serve as a pedagogical tool for students. There is also a nice video of it on ...

A recipe for sustainable biofuel

04/21/2009
Take 1 part brewer's yeast, add a gene from a salt marsh plant, grow it with an obscure microbe from a French landfil and viola! Biofuel. Christopher Voigt, a synthetic biologist at UCSF, "and colleagues had assembled the perfect microbial team – A. fermentans converts cellulose into acetate, which ...

The Dances of Algae

04/20/2009
Freshwater algae can dance around each other in stable groups, held together only by fluid flows in the surrounding water. In fact they have two dances, the waltz and the minuet. There is a nice video that accompanies this article as well.

Scientists for a Better PCR

04/20/2009
Another great science music video find. An amusing take on We are the World from Bio Rad who manufactures PCR machines. This is what I would call a viral science video. Obviously they have the money to make this a stellar production. Best lyric "PCR... When You Wanna Know Who ...

Regulatin' Genes Y'all

04/20/2009
This is a very fun video about regulating genes done hip hop style.

New antibacterial paint may provide superior protection from superbugs

04/20/2009
I am always skeptical about products that claim to be antibacterial because even though they may have antimicrobial compounds in them, their efficacy is often questionable. Mainly, because their shelf life is limited and no one has really proved how these compounds get out to fight the microbes. However, this ...

Bacteriophage Can Turn a Harmless E.coli into a more virulent one

04/20/2009
A researcher from the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science has found that transmission of bateriophage between bacteria can occur, and that in the case of E. coli it can transform a harmless bacterium into one capable of causing disease in man.

Microbe Robots for Biomedical Applications

04/20/2009
Researchers from ETH Zurich have built E.coli sized robots that they hope will be used for various biomedical applications. "They look like spirals with tiny heads, and screw through the liquid like miniature corkscrews. When moving, they resemble rather ungainly bacteria with long whip-like tails. They can only be ...

Coxiella Escapes from Cell!

04/16/2009
Surprise! Coxiella burnetii, the agent of Q fever, has been grown in cell-free media. This is news because, along with rickettsiae and a few others, C. burnetii is the stereotypical obligate intracellular bacterial parasite. Until now, coxiellae could only be grown within a host or in host cells in culture. ...

Boston's BSL-4 Delayed Again

04/16/2009
The opening of a biosafety laboratory level 4, built by Boston University for the study of dangerous microbes, has been delayed again after the National Institutes of Health asked for more time to complete a safety analysis, The Boston Globe reported. The National Institutes of Health now estimates that it ...

Ozone in a Bag

04/16/2009
Ozone in a bag. That's the novel method being developed by the food process engineer Dr Kevin Keener, of Purdue University, Indiana, to eliminate harmful bacteria on packaged foods such as spinach, tomatoes, and whole fruit. But rather than use an ozone generator to pump it in, Keener creates the ...

Egyptions Spiked Wine with Herbal Remedies

04/16/2009
We all know that wine is the result of a microbiological process involving fermentation and yeast, but what's interesting about this story is the evidence that suggests Egyptians fortified their wine with certain herbs to treat disease symptoms. Some of the trace elements that have been found are savory, balm, ...

Waste Treatment May Spur Antibiotic Resistance Traits in Bacteria

04/16/2009
New study suggests waste treatment process can have an unintended consequence of spreading of extra-hardy bacteria. "To determine if sewage-treatment plants might be a source of resistant bugs, Chuanwu and fellow researchers collected several species of the common bacteria Acinetobacter from a plant in Ann Arbor, Mich. that dumps its ...

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

04/15/2009
Here's a nice historical video about Antonie van Leeuwenhoek from AJ Cann of the Microbiologybytes podcast at Microbiologybytes.wordpress.com.

'Two-handed' Marine Microbes Point To New Method For Isolating Harmful Forms Of Chemicals

04/15/2009
Scientists studying how marine bacteria move have discovered that a sharp variation in water current segregates right-handed bacteria from their left-handed brethren, impelling the microbes in opposite directions. This finding and the possibility of quickly and cheaply implementing the segregation of two-handed objects in the laboratory could have a big ...

Geoengineering the High Seas

04/15/2009
Would adding iron to the Southern Ocean's Drake Passage promote planktonic growth that in turn would help reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and curb global warming? Researchers on the high seas are considering the options in a post on Wired's Science blog. "While we concern ...

A new test for bioterror agent ricin

04/15/2009
Scientists say they have developed a fast and super-sensitive new test for ricin, a poison found in castor beans that scientists say is a prime candidate for use in bioterrorism attacks. The new method, described in research recently published in Analytical Chemistry, takes only three minutes to detect ricin and ...

New Treatment Benchmark for Starting AIDS Treatment

04/15/2009
Researchers have identified a new benchmark for starting drug treatment for AIDS. "The question of when to start therapy has been a “swinging pendulum,” notes an editorial accompanying the study. The marker in question is the CD4 count, which represents how many of the cells that the AIDS virus attacks are ...

Q: Are we men or microbes?

04/15/2009
Great post on the symbiotic relationship between humans and microbes (aka The Microbiome). "there’s a growing consensus among scientists that the relationship between us and our microbes is much more of a two-way street. With new technologies that allow scientists to better identify and study the organisms that live ...

Vinegar may aid in groundwater cleanup

04/15/2009
A University of Leeds research team found adding dilute acetic acid - vinegar - to groundwater sites contaminated with harmful chromium compounds boosts the growth of naturally-occurring bacteria by providing an attractive food source. This is turn halps the bacteria to biodegrade the harmful compounds.

Bill on drug-resistant infections advances in Washington state

04/15/2009
A bill in Washington State's legislature designed to cut the spread of drug-resistant staph infections passed the Senate Monday. It requires health professionals to note on death certificates when the deadly bacteria played a role in a patient's demise. The bill is designed to aid the state in monitoring efforts. ...

Bacteria protect soybeans from aphids

04/15/2009
U.S. entomologists claim a careful choice of nitrogen-fixing bacteria might provide soybean farmers protection against an invasion of soybean aphids. "Our results demonstrate that plant-rhizobia interactions influence plant resistance to insect herbivores and that some rhizobia strains confer greater resistance to their mutualist partners than do others," the researchers said, noting ...

Custom Made Steam Collector Isolates Bacteria from Hydrothermal Vents

04/13/2009
This video shows a demonstration of how to use a custom made steam collector designed to condense steam from geothermal vents (aka., fumaroles). This device was used used to collect samples of halophilic Archaea from fumaroles around the world, work which was published in: Ellis, D., R.W. Bizzoco, and S.T. Kelley. ...

Fracas Erupts Over Climate Change and Potential for Disease Spread

04/13/2009
A fray has broken out among ecologists over a study suggesting that climate change might not spread tropical diseases far and wide after all. When the paper triggered an uproar, editors at the journal Ecology decided to publish not one but six responses alongside the original research. The collection appears ...

In Georgia, Rain Increases the Risks of Salmonella in Waterways

04/13/2009
Researchers at the University of Georgia in Athens (U.G.A.) have found that rain ups the risk of salmonella in rivers and streams—and, in turn, in products nourished by and washed in tainted runoff waters. The scientists report in Applied and Environmental Microbiology that 79 percent of water samples from rivers ...

Foodborne illnesses hold steady in U.S.

04/13/2009
Cases of food-borne illnesses, including infections such as salmonella and Escherichia coli that have been at the center of recent outbreaks, have held steady for the past four years, federal health officials said today. The good news is that this is after several years of falling case numbers.

Long-term care facilities harbor reservoirs of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria

04/13/2009
The prevalence of a certain form of drug-resistant bacteria, called multidrug-resistant gram-negative (MDRGN) organisms, far surpassed that of two other common antimicrobial-resistant infections in long-term care facilities, according to a study conducted by researchers at Hebrew SeniorLife's Institute for Aging Research.

Bonnie Bassler: Discovering bacteria's amazing communication system

04/13/2009
Bonnie Bassler, ASM President-elect, gave a rousting presentation on how bacteria communicate at TED that has Twitter and the rest of the online science-interested community buzzing.

Scientists fight bluetongue by hunting midges

04/13/2009
A good video on YouTube shows how UK scientists are combining ingenious ways to trap and monitor midges, one of the vectors of bluetongue virus, with cutting edge computer modeling and weather predictions.

Smoking HIV Meds to Get High?!?! What will the Kids Think of Next?

04/08/2009
This is crazy. People South Africa have found a new use for efavirenz , an antiretroviral drug that prevents HIV from making copies of itself in the body, by crushing it up and smoking it to get high. "When taken as prescribed, efavirenz can cause side effects, including drowsiness and ...

PEPFAR Efforts May Prevent Death from AIDS, But Hasn't Halted Spread of HIV

04/08/2009
According to an evaluation study of the The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in Africa released in the May 19, 2009 edition of the Annals of Medicine, the difference in the annual change in the number of HIV-related deaths was 10.5% lower in the focus countries than the ...

Easter Chocolate in Peril!!!

04/08/2009
The Easter bunny may not be bringing chocolate to the tots this year according to an article in the New Scientist that say a viral infection is impacting cacao trees on the Ivory Coast and a fungal infection called Witches Broom is doing the same for the cacao tree ...

Researchers Believe HIV is Becoming more Virulent

04/08/2009
A press release from the Infectious Disease Society states "damage to patients’ immune systems is happening sooner now than it did at the beginning of the HIV epidemic, suggesting the virus has become more virulent," according to a new study in the May 1, 2009 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases. ...

New MRSA Diagnostic Test - No Cultures, No DNA Amplification

04/08/2009
A sensitive new diagnostic test for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)--a drug-resistant bacterium that can run rampant in hospitals--could help broaden access to fast, cheap testing. The test, being developed by Adnavance Technologies, a startup in San Diego, is simpler to perform than existing molecular diagnostics, potentially making it accessible to ...

DC Science Writers - Professional Development Day, April 18, 2009

04/02/2009
The theme for this year's Professional Development Day is "renewing your career." Sessions include a plenary on coping with change, the ever-popular pitch slam, a panel on how to shoot and edit video, and another on why you might want to, and a plenary on harnessing social media. The cost ...

Canadian Hospitals Cautioned Against Using

04/02/2009
More than 70% or Quebec's health care facilities use environmentally safe cleaning products to keep germs at bay, but health officials are warning that these products are ineffective at preventing the transmission of pathogens. "With little regulation in the area, many manufacturers are marketing products that are simply diluted versions of ...

XDR TB May Be A Ticking Time Bomb

04/01/2009
At a conference in Beijing, China, World Health Organization officials announced that "the growing prevalence of drug-resistant tuberculosis is a potentially explosive situation." Countries participating in the talks are expected to commit themselves to scale up their TB diagnosis and treatment programs.

The Power of Citizen Scientists Needs to be Realized

04/01/2009
I found this very interesting post over at www.scienceprogress.org. Here's an excerpt "The Scientists and Congress should trust the public’s capacity to learn, draw conclusions, and contribute. Invite the public to do more, and put a process in place so citizens and researchers can work together to impart sound policy ...

Flickr Group for Microbiology Lab Training

04/01/2009
This is a great visual resource for learning and teaching microbiology lab techniques. You have to join Flickr.com and then sign up to access the groups contents.

How to streak a plate

04/01/2009
I found this video on YouTube of a teacher showing a class how to streak a plate. Thumbnail photo by musicalwds on Flickr.

ASM Sets up Shop in Pakistan

04/01/2009
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) has set up its country liaison office in Pakistan at the Jinnah University for Women (JUW) and Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi, Professor at the Department of Microbiology and Dean Faculty of Science, University of Karachi (KU) has been appointed the First Country Liaison officer.

The Two Faces of Photorhabdus

03/31/2009
The Small Things Considered blog has an interesting post on the insect pathogen Photorhabdus , the only land-based bacterium which carries out bioluminescence, and nematodes. What I found interesting is that the bacterium also infects wounds. From STC - "This is the stuff of legends, with stories going back to ...

San Diego Science Festival - Dr. Stanley Maloy on Salmonella

03/30/2009
Dr. Stanley Maloy discusses microbiology and Salmonella with the students of High Tech Middle in Pt. Loma during the San Diego Science Festival.

Sweet Home Microbiology?!

03/26/2009
Found this little southern rock classic reworked for the microbiology-minded via YouTube. It's pretty funny, if not outright ridiculous. Here are the lyrics: Big spores keep on drifting Carry me to my new hosts skin Contact airborne isolation Its time to infect someone again I know its a sin ...

Beneficial Bacteria at Risk from Sunscreen

03/24/2009
A study by University of Toledo researchers discovered that nano-titanium dioxide used in personal care products reduced biological roles of bacteria after less than an hour of exposure. The findings suggest that these particles, which end up at municipal sewage treatment plants after being washed off in showers, could eliminate ...

New Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV Research Created in South Africa

03/24/2009
A groundbreaking partnership between the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa will establish an international research center focused on making major scientific contributions to the worldwide effort to control the devastating co-epidemic of tuberculosis and HIV and on training a new generation ...

Death Nets and Premature Babies

03/24/2009
When locked in mortal combat with infection, some mature white blood cells have a formidable weapon: they literally cast a DNA net—called a neutrophil extracellular trap (NET)—that captures and kills bacteria that invade the human body. But the ability to form this "death" NET is missing in the white blood ...

Flies May Spread Drug-resistant Bacteria From Poultry Operations

03/24/2009
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found evidence that houseflies collected near broiler poultry operations may contribute to the dispersion of drug-resistant bacteria and thus increase the potential for human exposure to drug-resistant bacteria. The findings demonstrate another potential link between industrial food animal production and ...

World Tuberculosis Day 2009

03/24/2009
Today is World Tuberculosis Day. "World TB Day, 24 March 2009, is about celebrating the lives and stories of people affected by TB: women, men and children who have taken TB treatment; nurses; doctors; researchers; community workers--anyone who has contributed towards the global fight against TB." Check out www.stoptb.org for more ...

No Phosphorus? No Problem! (There’s More Than One Way to Skin a Phytoplankton)

03/24/2009
A recent post from the Small Things Considered blog comments on an interesting paper on how phytoplankton in the ocean use non-phosphorus lipids in response to phosphorus scarcity. "A recent paper revisits an earlier finding that marine cyanobacteria and small eukaryotes (the “phytoplankton”) make do in a phosphate-deficient oceanic environment by ...

Algal blooms dump toxins on the ocean floor

03/23/2009
Toxic algal blooms are bad enough on the ocean surface, but now it turns out that the toxin in them sinks to the ocean floor – where it persists for weeks. Far from degrading soon after the bloom, as previously assumed, new research suggests that the neurotoxin that causes shellfish poisoning, ...

Fungus Time-lapse Video

03/19/2009
I have no idea why this video was posted to StupidVideos.com, but it is a fantastic time-lapse video of slime molds, stinkhorn mushrooms, and many more types. This is well worth viewing.

Open Science: The Risks, Challenges and Rewards

03/11/2009
The landscape of science communication is changing rapidly. On the horizon we are starting to see the birth of online science-related social networks and movement towards "open science," a concept in which scientists and researchers can collaborate on projects, communicate results, share data, and publish papers with the same recognition ...

This Week in Virology Live at ASM's General Meeting

03/11/2009
Please join hosts Vincent Racaniello, Professor of Microbiology at Columbia University Medical Center, Dick Despommier, Professor of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences and Microbiology at Columbia University Medical Center, and Alan Dove, science writer, for a live web broadcast of This Week in Virology. This Week in Virology (TWiV) is ...

MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)

03/10/2009
Image of MRSA from the CDC

Microbe-Made-Chemicals Could Save Empty Ethanol Plants

03/10/2009
Genomatica has come up with a new microbe that can turn sugar into an industrial solvent with a $2 billion worldwide market – and it believes idled ethanol plants will be perfect places to do it.

Secrets Of C. Difficile's Protective Shell Revealed, Paving The Way For New Superbug Drugs And Vaccines

02/27/2009
The detailed structure of a protective 'jacket' that surrounds cells of the Clostridium difficile superbug, and which helps the dangerous pathogen stick to human host cells and tissues, is revealed in part in the 1 March issue of Molecular Microbiology.

Nanotechnology drafts plant viruses for drug delivery

02/23/2009
Researchers at North Carolina State University have successfully modified a common plant virus to deliver drugs only to specific cells inside the human body, without affecting surrounding tissue. These tiny “smart bombs” - each one thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair - could lead to ...

Borrelia Species

02/17/2009
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