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An Exquisite Ode to Bacteria, Painstakingly Carved in Paper

A few years back Rogan Brown moved from London to a remote region of France. “It was an overwhelming experience,” he says, “and as an artist I was looking for a way to come to terms with my new environment.” Landscape painting seemed too staid, so he started trying to recreate bits of the teemin... Read More

Choosing cheese: Research identifies microbial communities in cheese

After studying 137 varieties of cheese collected in 10 different countries, researchers have been able to identify three general types of microbial communities that live on cheese, opening the door to using each as a 'model' community for the study of whether and how various microbes and fungi c... Read More

‘Tis the Season to be Sweating

This is the time of the year of increased physical activity when we pay special attention to certain parts of the body, including the armpit. As is usually the case, our microbiota is involved because the odor associated with sweating is produced by microbial activity. The main culprits are skin... Read More

Will Wolbachia help defeat dengue?

One of the Wellcome Trust’s areas of focus for research funding is combatting infectious disease. We have recently agreed a strategic award of over £7.5 million to continue development of an effective and sustainable approach to reducing the transmission of dengue fever. The research is an inte... Read More

Can a DNA Test for HPV Replace the Pap Smear?

A new test for HPV has been cleared as way to screen for cervical cancer, but doctors are concerned that it doesn't do enough to protect younger women.

By its name alone, the Pap smear sounds like an uncomfortable procedure. Say it aloud: Pap smear. And it’s not too pretty to experience eithe... Read More

Host genetics can contribute to lung damage in severe tuberculosis

A third of the global population is infected with the bacterial pathogen that causes tuberculosis. Most carriers control the infection and are asymptomatic, but severe forms of the disease kill over a million people every year. A new article now identifies a factor made by the host that exacerba... Read More

GW Researcher Unlocks Next Step in Creating HIV-1 Immunotherapy Using Fossil Virus

The road to finding a cure for HIV-1 is not without obstacles. However, thanks to cutting-edge research by Douglas Nixon, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues, performed at the George Washington University (GW), Oregon Health & Science University, the University of Rochester, and UC San Francisco, the sc... Read More

Protein's "hands" enable bacteria to establish infection, research finds

When it comes to infecting humans and animals, bacteria need a helping hand.

Kansas State University biochemists have found the helping hand: groups of tiny protein loops on the surface of cells. These loops are similar to the fingers of a hand, and by observing seven individual loops on the ... Read More

Malaria control: The great mosquito hunt

The armed guards at Mali's Bamako Senou International Airport had never seen a German shepherd before. The only dogs they were familiar with were the small, scrappy mixed breeds that are common in West Africa. So when Dana, a wolf-like purebred from California, stepped off a plane and into the a... Read More

Ocean microbes display a hidden talent: releasing countless tiny lipid-filled sacs

In the search for a renewable energy source, systems using algae look like a good bet. Algae can grow quickly and in high concentrations in areas unsuitable for agriculture; and as they grow, they accumulate large quantities of lipids, carbon-containing molecules that can be extracted and conver... Read More

HIV detected in “cured” Mississippi Baby, Creating Huge AIDS Therapy Setback

Disappointed federal officials today announced that the “Mississippi baby,” thought to have been cured of HIV with an aggressive treatment regimen, now has detectable levels of virus. The sad news, upsetting for the family of the 46-month-old girl, also dashed the hopes of clinicians who believe... Read More

Animating the Inanimate

Concrete is the most widely used building material in the world, with untold amounts being produced yearly. It has always been regarded as a strong, solid, impenetrable, almost indestructible material yet it can make cracks that are vulnerable to penetration by water. As the result, structures ... Read More

When the Microbe Hits the Metal

Some heavy metals share a long history with microbes. Many of the metabolic processes that sustain life are believed to have originated from spontaneous reactions involving metals present in the early Earth. Our microbial ancestors figured out quickly how to use those metal catalysts to generate... Read More

Pictures Considered #18. Pictures of Shigella by Shiga

The journal Zentralblatt für Bakteriologie, Parasitenkunde u. Infektionskrankheiten was one of the leading publication in the early days of Microbiology. Many of the great discoveries of microbial pathogens were published therein. An example is the 1898 Japanese microbiologist Kiyoshi Shiga acco... Read More

Oregon geologist says Curiosity's images show Earth-like soils on Mars

Soil deep in a crater dating to some 3.7 billion years ago contains evidence that Mars was once much warmer and wetter, says University of Oregon geologist Gregory Retallack, based on images and data captured by the rover Curiosity.

NASA rovers have shown Martian landscapes littered with loos... Read More

Molecular Computer Detects Ebola and Marburg Viruses

Material from deadly pathogens triggers alerts directly, and could speed detection. Early detection is key to slowing outbreaks of Ebola, such as the one currently spreading across west Africa that is estimated to have infected almost 1000 people, according to the latest World Health Organizatio... Read More

Calcium makes for an environmentally friendly pickle

George Washington had a collection of 476 kinds of pickles. To prevent scurvy, Christopher Columbus stocked pickles on the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Julius Caesar, believing pickles to be invigorating, added them to the Roman legions' diet. In 5000 BCE, the Babylonians were known for picklin... Read More

TWiP 75 letters


David writes (re lice and iron):


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

New analysis of 'swine flu' pandemic conflicts with accepted views on how diseases spread

The most detailed analysis to date of the spread of the H1N1 2009 pandemic influenza virus, known informally as ‘swine flu’, has found that short-range travel was likely the primary driver for the 2009 pandemic in the United States, in contrast with popularly accepted views on the way diseases s... Read More

New material improves wound healing, keeps bacteria from sticking

As many patients know, treating wounds has become far more sophisticated than sewing stitches and applying gauze, but dressings still have shortcomings. Now scientists are reporting the next step in the evolution of wound treatment with a material that leads to faster healing than existing comme... Read More
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