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Oddly Microbial: Programmed Cell Death

The lab was a crime scene; dead and dying cells were everywhere—but did they commit mass suicide or were they murdered? The burly young post doc who discovered the corpses sat in the corner sobbing softly, his PI by his side. She was trying in vain to comfort her most promising young scientist i... Read More

Proteins discovered in gonorrhea may offer new approach to treatment

Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered novel proteins in, or on the surface of the bacteria that causes gonorrhea, which offer a promising new avenue of attack against a venereal disease that is showing increased resistance to the antibiotics used to treat it.

Only a single, t... Read More

'Bacterial raincoat' found to protect bacteria from the environment

Research led by scientists at the University of Dundee has uncovered the workings of a 'bacterial raincoat' that helps to protect bacteria from the changing environment in which they live.

Many bacteria grow in large communities called biofilms, where the cells work together and produce a sti... Read More

"Microbe-Powered Jobs: How Microbiologists Can Help Build the Bioeconomy" Infographic

The American Academy of Microbiology has just released a new report, "Microbe-Powered Jobs: How Microbiologists Can Help Build the Bioeconomy," and along with it, an infographic, that summarizes the main points of the report. The full report can be found here: http://bit.ly/1lk346I, and a link t... Read More

Adult Vaccination Rates Rise, but Not Enough

Vaccines are just for kids, right? Not any more. U.S. health officials now recommend at least a half dozen vaccines for adults, to prevent pneumococcus virus, hepatitis, shingles and other ailments. And although the portion of adults who get these vaccinations rises slightly each year, the rates... Read More

MRSA strain in humans originally came from cattle

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 Staphyl... Read More

Gut Microbes Respond within Days to Major Diet Changes

Microbiologists have known for some time that different diets produce different gut flora, but new research indicates that the changes take hold with startling quickness. Bacterial populations shift measurably in the first few days following a big shift in what we eat, according to a recent stud... Read More

Turkeys inspire smartphone-capable early warning system for toxins

Some may think of turkeys as good for just lunch meat and holiday meals, but bioengineers at UC Berkeley saw inspiration in the big birds for a new type of biosensor that changes color when exposed to chemical vapors. This feature makes the sensors valuable detectors of toxins or airborne pathog... Read More

Get dangerous germs out of your home

(upwave.com) -- Even if you're one of the many people who believe that exposing yourself to day-to-day germs is healthy for your immune system, it's still wise to take steps to protect yourself from the most infectious germs in your home. "Bugs like Escherichia coli (E.coli), salmonella and camp... Read More

Poop pill may treat stubborn, deadly C. diff bacteria

Transplanting fecal matter has been one of the best remedies at treating a tough bacterial infection known as Clostridium difficile (C. diff). Scientists are now saying they can give all the benefits of poop in a tiny pill.

This new pill method is a less yucky way to do "fecal transplants." A... Read More

Spectacular Microscopic Art Is Also World-Changing Science

Fernan Federici’s microscopic images of plants, bacteria, and crystals are a classic example of finding art in unexpected places.

A couple years ago, Federici was working on his Ph.D. in biological sciences at Cambridge University studying self-organization, the process by which things organi... Read More

Resistance is Not Futile: Joint BioEnergy Institute Researchers Engineer Resistance to Ionic Liquids in Biofuel Microbes

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), a multi-institutional partnership led by Berkeley Lab, have identified the genetic origins of a microbial resistance to ionic liquids and successfully introduced this resistance into a strain of E. coli bact... Read More

New Research Gives Clues of Antibiotic Use and Resistance in U.S. Children's Hospitals

Two studies published in the December issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology show antibiotic resistance patterns for children have held stable over a seven-year period and surgical patients in U.S. children's hospitals account for 43 percent of all antibiotic use in children's hosp... Read More

Changing influenza virus neuraminidase into a receptor binding protein

The hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) glycoproteins of the influenza virus particle serve distinct functions during infection. The HA binds sialic acid-containing cellular receptors and mediates fusion of the viral and cell membranes, while the NA removes sialic acids from glycoproteins.... Read More

Fear Not the Fecal Transplant

Officially called a fecal microbiota transplantation, or FMT, the procedure involves the insertion of a small, diluted sample of stool from a donor into the colon of a recipient. (Clearly disgusting.) The swap imports a healthy community of bacteria, the intestinal microbiota, into the system of... Read More

Scientists think mysterious virus could be a signal of a weak immune system

Genomic analysis of transplant patients finds an opportunistic microorganism whose elevated presence could be used an indicator in treatment.

More than 260,000 Americans are alive today thanks to transplant operations that have replaced their failing kidneys, hearts, lungs or livers with hea... Read More

Antibiotics Can't Keep Up With 'Nightmare' Superbugs

We're used to relying on antibiotics to cure bacterial infections. But there are now strains of bacteria that are resistant to even the strongest antibiotics, and are causing deadly infections. According to the CDC, "more than 2 million people in the United States every year get infected with a ... Read More

Mapping The Hidden Universe In Your Kitchen

On a recent morning, Noah Fierer, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, found himself standing 1,000 feet above the farmland of eastern Colorado. He was perched near the pinnacle of the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory, a cellphone-tower-like spir... Read More

Harvard scientists control cells following transplantation, from the inside out

Harvard stem cells scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and MIT can now engineer cells that are more easily controlled following transplantation, potentially making cell therapies, hundreds of which are currently in clinical trials across the United States, more functional and efficient.
... Read More

Retrospective, June 2013

We continue our semi-annual ritual and post this quick tour of our blog posts published since December, 2012.

Pictures Considered

Our new section dealing with “pictures that made a difference but may be nearly forgotten by now” seems to be off to a good start. Please send us suggestions of... Read More

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