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Retrospective, December 2013

We continue our semi-annual ritual and post this quick tour of our featured blog posts published since June 2013.

Evolution

Microbial ‘Starstuff’. Associate blogger Gemma Reguera tells us how the remnants of a dying star become transmuted into microbial stuff, including cellular structures... Read More

Untapped Plant Microbiome Could Help Feed Billions

The Human Microbiome Project revealed tens of trillions of microbes residing in and on humans. Now scientists are taking a census of plant microbes—and not just the hundreds of billions found in soils. Distinct microbial communities live inside roots, on leaves and within flowers, and all in all... Read More

Drugs fail to reawaken dormant HIV infection

Scientists report that compounds they hoped would "wake up" dormant reservoirs of HIV inside immune system T cells -- a strategy designed to reverse latency and make the cells vulnerable to destruction -- have failed to do so in laboratory tests of such white blood cells taken directly from pati... Read More

GW Researcher Adapting Breakthrough Technologies to Combat Parasitic Worm Infections

Recent breakthroughs may pave the way for vaccines and new drugs for those infected by parasitic helminths. These flatworms, including tapeworms that cause hydatid diseases and neurocysticercosis, liver flukes, and blood flukes (schistosomes), infect more than 300 million people and cause approx... Read More

Scientists Call for Investigation of Mysterious Cloud-like Collections in Cells

About 50 years ago, electron microscopy revealed the presence of tiny blob-like structures that form inside cells, move around and disappear. But scientists still don’t know what they do — even though these shifting cloud-like collections of proteins are believed to be crucial to the life of a c... Read More

Why a bacterium got its curve — and why biologists should know

Drawing from his engineering background, Princeton University researcher Alexandre Persat had a notion as to why the bacteria Caulobacter crescentus are curved — a hunch that now could lead to a new way of studying the evolution of bacteria, according to research published in the journal Nature ... Read More

Second American infected with Ebola

A second American aid worker in Liberia has tested positive for Ebola, according to the Christian humanitarian group she works for.

Nancy Writebol is employed by Serving in Mission, or SIM, in Liberia and was helping the joint SIM/Samaritan's Purse team that is treating Ebola patients in Monr... Read More

UEA researchers discover Achilles’ heel in antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Scientists at the University of East Anglia have made a breakthrough in the race to solve antibiotic resistance.

New research published today in the journal Nature reveals an Achilles’ heel in the defensive barrier which surrounds drug-resistant bacterial cells.

The findings pave the way f... Read More

Sauerkraut: bacteria making food

Last week my husband needed some jars for cooking purposes. Tesco sell jars for somewhere around £3 each. However they also sell large jars full of sauerkraut for £1 each. Which means that last weekend we had an awful lot of sauerkraut to try and get through.

I’m not a great fan of sauerkraut... Read More

Antibiotic resistance mechanisms of clinically important bacteria.

Antibiotic resistance mechanisms of clinically important bacteria. Read More

Fecal Transplanters Fish Out Key Ingredient

These days, antibiotics are no silver bullet. In fact, if you get them in the hospital, you may end up with an additional infection. Like the bug Clostridium difficile, or C. diff — which infects more than 300,000 Americans a year and kills some 14,000. C. diff flourishes in the post-antibiotic,... Read More

How Cells Know Which Way To Go

Two new studies shed light on how cells sense and respond to chemical trails. Amoebas aren’t the only cells that crawl: Movement is crucial to development, wound healing and immune response in animals, not to mention cancer metastasis. In two new studies from Johns Hopkins, researchers answer lo... Read More

Smallpox Virus Found In Unsecured NIH Lab

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 vir... Read More

First Ebola Case Diagnosed in the U.S.

Federal officials today announced the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. The male patient was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and placed in strict isolation on September 28 after flying from Liberia to visit family in north Texas. The patient left Liberia on Septembe... Read More

Biological Samples

ILSbio is the company of choice for research institutions, biotech organizations and pharma companies looking for high quality, documented biological samples to support their research. With a wide range of specimens types available including diseased tissue, FFPE, blood, and serum, collections c... Read More

Scientists develop ‘electronic nose’ for rapid detection of C-diff infection

A fast-sensitive “electronic-nose” for sniffing the highly infectious bacteria C-diff, that causes diarrhoea, temperature and stomach cramps, has been developed by a team at the University of Leicester.

Using a mass spectrometer, the research team has demonstrated that it is possible to ident... Read More

Should experimental drugs be used in the Ebola outbreak?

Risks and benefits of unproven treatments, as World Health Organization approves use in crisis.

Two Liberian doctors are set to become the first Africans to receive an experimental drug against the Ebola virus. The news comes as the World Health Organization concludes that it is ethical to us... Read More

Using microscopic bugs to save the bees

For decades, honeybees have been battling a deadly disease that kills off their babies (larvae) and leads to hive collapse. It’s called American Foulbrood and its effects are so devastating and infectious, it often requires infected hives to be burned to the ground.

Treating Foulbrood is comp... Read More

Ebola Gorilla Vaccine Could Prevent Human Outbreaks

Humans are not the only primates ravaged by the deadly Ebola virus. Chimps and gorillas are also susceptible to the disease. The current Ebola epidemic, the biggest in human history, may have started with the butchering of an infected fruit bat. But it just as easily could have come from a chimp... Read More

Incidence of childhood tuberculosis could be 25 percent higher than previous estimates

New estimates indicate that over 650,000 children develop tuberculosis (TB) every year in the 22 countries with a high burden of the disease -- almost 25 percent higher than the total number of new cases worldwide estimated by WHO in 2012. The research also suggests that about 15 million childre... Read More

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