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The Microbes Living in Our Bodies Were Probably Once Evil Pathogens

Like pretty much all multi-cellular organisms, humans enjoy the benefits of helpful bacteria. (As you may have heard, there are more bacteria in the human body than cells.) These mutualistic microbes live within the body of a larger organism, and, like any good long-term houseguest, help out the... Read More

BacterioFiles 165 - Bacillus Biofilms Balk Bilks

This episode: Interview with Jordi van Gestel: cheaters in bacterial communities don't always succeed!


(13.1 MB, 14.25 minutes)


Read More

Ten years of virology blog

Ten years ago this month I wrote the first post at virology blog, entitled Are viruses living? Thanks to EE Giorgi for pointing out the ten year anniversary, and also for publishing an interview with me at her blog, Chimeras. Here is how this blog got started. Read More

TWiP 74 letters


voxsciurorum writes:


Dear water-based life forms:


It is 24 degrees in Overland Park, Kansas and I am looking at a slide labeled "Giardia lamblia", part of a museum exhibit on water and human (over) use of water.


I see a greenish lump. I don't know... Read More

Human Interferon Kills Resistant H7N9 Influenza - ICAAC 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 fo... Read More

TWiV 285: Hokies go viral

Vincent meets up with XJ Meng and Sarah McDonald at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg to talk about their work on viruses of swine and rotaviruses.


Host: Vincent Racaniello


Guests: Read More

Unnecessary TB deaths to be thing of the past thanks to new mobile drug resistance test device

Thousands of deaths from tuberculosis (or TB), an infectious bacterial disease, could be prevented using a new hand-held device that is being developed to detect potentially fatal drug resistance in less than 15 minutes.

Currently neither the TB infection itself, nor those people with strains... Read More

Your Ethnicity Determines the Species of Bacteria that Live in Your Mouth

In recent years, scientists have found out all sorts of remarkable things about a group of creatures that are entirely invisible to the naked eye: the trillions of bacteria that colonize every surface of our bodies.

These organisms—collectively known as the microbiome—deeply affect our health... Read More

Meet the Germs That Infect Your Water

It's natural to expect that the water coming out of our taps is safe without worry of gastrointestinal or other infectious disease. Yet every year there are dozens of outbreaks linked to drinking water in the United States alone. In the majority of cases, a failure of proper water treatment is t... Read More

First Look at How Individual Staphylococcus Cells Adhere to Nanostructures Could Lead to New Ways to Thwart Infections

The bacterium Staphylococcus Aureus (S. aureus) is a common source of infections that occur after surgeries involving prosthetic joints and artificial heart valves. The grape-shaped microorganism adheres to medical equipment, and if it gets inside the body, it can cause a serious and even life-t... Read More

A Simple Tree Branch Can Become a Backyard Water Filter

For people in too many developing countries, clean water is often a luxury. Chlorine treatments are too expensive for small villages, boiling requires a hefty investment in fuel, and UV radiation demands regular high-tech maintenance. But now, scientists say that a simple, inexpensive water filt... Read More

TWiP 67 letters


CN writes:


Greetings Profs,


After having listened to your discussions on Plasmodium (TWiP 64), I explored papers on treatment options that are actually available. After having read some papers, I realized that one of the main roadblocks are the hypnozoite... Read More

New Pills Deliver Bacteria, Not Drugs to Cure us

It seems that nearly every day, scientists connect another medical condition to atypical gut bacteria populations. Researchers have claimed that gut bacteria play a role not just in digestive health but even in basic brain function and mental health. Certain bacteria are so clearly good for us t... Read More

TWiM 73 Letters

Mark writes:


Hello Team TWiM,


I’ve followed with interest your coverage of Michael’s research into use of copper to fight hospital infection. Of all the interesting papers covered in 2013, I think the one most actionable is episode 55, The Copper Room. His res... Read More

Concrete-Dissolving Bacteria Are Destroying Our Nation's Sewers

Underground in places nobody likes to look, bacteria are doing terrible things to our sewage pipes. The concrete pipes that carry our waste are literally dissolving away, forcing engineers into a messy, expensive battle against tiny microbes.

"The veins of our cities are in serious trouble, a... Read More

Secrets of the Giant, Ancient, Frozen, Killer Virus

It all started with a tiny chunk of dirt. The sample of 30,000-year-old permafrost, a frozen layer of soil from the Siberian tundra, weighed just a fraction of an ounce. But, as TIME reported on Tuesday, that scrap was carrying within it a surprise worthy of a pulp comic book: a gargantuan virus... Read More

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

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 bacte... Read More

Rare bacteria outbreak in cancer clinic tied to lapse in infection control procedure

Improper handling of intravenous saline at a West Virginia outpatient oncology clinic was linked with the first reported outbreak of Tsukamurella spp., gram-positive bacteria that rarely cause disease in humans, in a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The repor... Read More

How virus sleuths and public health officials track the cause of a mysterious illness

When a mysterious disease fells people — as happened in California recently, with as many as 20 children experiencing unexplained paralysis — teams of physicians and epidemiologists quickly mobilize. Perhaps you saw the movie “Contagion”? The idea is to find the culprit before it spreads but als... Read More

UA Study on Flu Evolution May Change Textbooks, History Books

A new study published in the journal Nature provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the evolutionary relationships of influenza virus across different host species over time. In addition to dissecting how the virus evolves at different rates in different host species, the study chall... Read More

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