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MWV Episode 94 - TWiM #99: Careers in Biodefense
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Emergence of bacterial vortex explained

Bacteria in a drop of water spontaneously form a bi-directional vortex, with bacteria near the center of the drop swimming in the opposite direction of bacteria swimming near the edge. New computer simulations, confirmed by a novel experiment, explain how that vortex comes to be.

Click "sourc... Read More

Microbial Edu-Tainment Board Game In the News: Microvores: A Game of Parasites

Microvores: A Game of Parasites is a microbial themed educational strategy game that has been funded on Kickstarter.com and has made the main-stream news! Read More

Ocean microbes display remarkable genetic diversity in each drop of seawater

The smallest, most abundant marine microbe, Prochlorococcus, is a photosynthetic bacteria species essential to the marine ecosystem. An estimated billion billion billion of the single-cell creatures live in the oceans, forming the base of the marine food chain and occupying a range of ecological... Read More

Ebola 101: The Facts Behind A Frightening Virus

Health workers have called the Ebola outbreak in West Africa unprecedented, overwhelming and even out of control.

With 844 cases so far, it's the largest and deadliest outbreak since the virus was discovered in 1976. And it doesn't show signs of slowing down. On Tuesday, the World Health Orga... Read More

As MERS virus reaches U.S., public health system springs into action

The man arrived at the hospital with a fever and a bad cough. Relatives accompanied him through the doors, beneath the red neon sign reading "Emergency."

It looked like pneumonia, but when doctors at Community Hospital learned that the patient was a healthcare worker in Saudi Arabia, they beg... Read More

The Strange Connection Between Germs and Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes was as much a scientist as a detective. Maybe that’s because his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, was influenced by a detective of science: Robert Koch, a German doctor who helped prove the existence of germs. In his new book, The Remedy, Thomas Goetz traces connections between the t... Read More

TWiP 77 letters

Andy writes:


Dear Professors,


I have been following TWIP for several years. I am a software engineer and parasitology is only an avocation. As an undergraduate in the early 80's I discovered my love of history of science and ecology, although I continued the p... Read More

TWiV 298: MV-NIS de myelo

The TWiV gang answers follow-up questions about the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, then discuss treatment of  disseminated multiple myeloma with oncolytic measles virus.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello... Read More

Diet Affects Men’s and Women’s Gut Microbes Differently

The microbes living in the guts of males and females react differently to diet, even when the diets are identical, according to a study by scientists from The University of Texas at Austin and six other institutions published this week in the journal Nature Communications. These results suggest ... Read More

The truth behind the '5-Second Rule': When in doubt, throw it out

The burger patty that slides off the plate, the ice cream treat that plops on the picnic table, the hot dog that rolls off the grill – conventional wisdom has it that you have five seconds to pick it up before it is contaminated.

Fact or folklore?

“A dropped item is immediately contaminate... Read More

Human Sweat's Filthy Attributes Stop Bacteria-Fighting Brass

Human sweat is actually much dirtier and bacteria-filled than we initially thought. Scientists have found that sweaty hands can reduce the effect that brass objects have of fighting bacteria. Brass objects can be found in hospitals and schools and sweat can fight off its abilities just an hour a... Read More

Multiple protocol breaches behind anthrax exposure at U.S. federal labs

The safety breach at a government lab that may have exposed 84 workers to live anthrax centered on a pivotal lapse in procedure: researchers working with the bacteria waited 24 hours to be sure they had killed the pathogens, half the time required by a new scientific protocol.

The lab designe... Read More

Ebola In The Air: What Science Says About How The Virus Spreads

Here's an Ebola puzzle for you: If the virus isn't airborne, why do doctors and nurses need to wear full protective suits, with face masks, while treating patients?

After we dug through studies and talked to scientists, the answer slowly emerged.

Ebola does spread through the air. But not ... Read More

Researchers map gene differences in yellow fever, malaria mosquitoes, to help prevent disease

Virginia Tech entomologists have developed a chromosome map for about half of the genome of the mosquito Aedes agypti, the major carrier of dengue fever and yellow fever.

With the map, researchers can compare the chromosome organization and evolution between this mosquito and the major carri... Read More

How the Body’s Cells Hold on Tight

When I was nine, biology gave me my first existential crisis. If I am built out of trillions of tiny cells, I worried, what’s to keep me from crumbling into a pile like a dried-out sandcastle? Almost two decades later, as a Ph.D. student in mathematics at the University of California, Davis, I’m... Read More

Soil microbiomes can set plant flowering time

Scientists grew Boechera stricta plants in soil inoculated with microbes from natural B. stricta habitats to study the flowering time phenotype.

The technique researchers employed to isolate soil microbes to study their effect on a single plant phenotype can potentially be applied to other st... Read More

Healthy Lung Microbes Keep Mice Breathing Easy

Like humans, mice start life with sterile lungs that soon get colonized by microbes, which appear to protect the lung tissue from an asthma-like reaction in the presence of dust mites.

Human cells are outnumbered ten-to-one by the microbes that thrive in and on us. Now a study finds that the ... Read More

This algae farm eats highway pollution

Plant-like microorganisms called algae are pretty interesting little creatures - some species form expansive 'algal blooms' that harm the environment, whereas others can be used to produce biofuel and food sources. Some can even infect humans and mess with their brains.

This diverse organism ... Read More

IS LIFE WITH A DOG LIKE TAKING PROBIOTICS?

A new study will explore whether living with a dog encourages the growth of positive microorganisms in the human gut—enough to improve physical and mental health in older adults. Read More

Antibiotics in Blood Can Make Malaria Mosquitoes Mightier

It's well known that antibiotics can disrupt our gut bacteria. But when mosquitoes snack on blood laced with antibiotics, the same can happen to their microbiome. And that depletion of gut bacteria actually increases mosquitoes' susceptibility to the malaria parasite. Meaning they may be more li... Read More
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