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New study maps hotspots of human-animal infectious diseases and emerging disease outbreaks

A new global study mapping human-animal diseases like tuberculosis (TB) and Rift Valley fever finds that an "unlucky" 13 zoonoses are responsible for 2.4 billion cases of human illness and 2.2 million deaths per year. The vast majority occur in low- and middle-income countries.

The report, wh... Read More

TWiP 33 Letters

Howie writes:



Twivers,


Great podcast!!!


A while ago, Dick made a comment along the lines that Sir... Read More

Jekyll and Hyde bacteria aids or kills, depending on chance

Living in the guts of worms are seemingly innocuous bacteria that contribute to their survival. With a flip of a switch, however, these same bacteria transform from harmless microbes into deadly insecticides.

In the current issue of Science, Michigan State University researchers led a study t... Read More

Microbes found thriving in Mars-like conditions

The discovery of microbes in any icy lava tube in Oregon raises hope that similar microorganisms could survive in the very similar conditions to be found on Mars.

The microbes are coping with near-freezing temperatures and low levels of oxygen, and can even grow in the absence of organic food... Read More

Eternal Yogurt: The Starter That Lives Forever

If you make your own yogurt, there's a chance your yogurt could outlive you.
That's because some bacteria that grow and feed on the sugar in milk – the process that ferments milk into yogurt — can procreate indefinitely in new generations of yogurt.

But not all yogurts have these immortal po... Read More

Kawaoka paper published on aerosol transmission of H5 influenza virus in ferrets

One of two papers on avian influenza H5N1 virus that caused such a furor in the past six months was published today in the journal Nature. I have read it, and I can assure you that the results do not enable the construction of a deadly biological weapon. Instead, they illuminate important requir... Read More

TWiV 179 Letters

Ebrahim writes:


Dear Dr. Racaniello


I was watching the conference in Dublin and I wanted to thank you for sharing my e-mail with the people in the panel, since I saw how nice it was for me to reach the specialists with that ease through TWIV.<... Read More

Human Response to Bacterial Infection and Resolution in Mice, Simulated

Reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of Jefferson immunologists found that a specialized "human immune system" mouse model closely mimics a person's specific response and resolution of a tick-borne infection known as relapsing fever, caused by the bacteria Bor... Read More

The Microbiology of Speciation

The fields of microbial symbiosis and speciation have achieved astonishing advances during the past two decades, yet symbiosis and speciation are not commonly discussed together and can seem to be odd partners in their capacity to operate synergistically in nature. Indeed, microbial symbiosis is... Read More

Knight Science Journalism Tracker review of TWiM Episode 32 with Rosie Redfield

"Take a listen to four very savvy and plain-talking biologists chatting on their business at an inside-the-academy site called This Week in Microbiology, and more specifically at episode TWiM 32. There host and Columbia U. faculty member Vincent Racaniello and two colleagues talk of arsenic and ... Read More

TWiM 36 Letters

Todd writes:

Just a quick note to say how much I enjoy TWiM, and in particular, how much I enjoyed episode 32 featuring Rosie Redfield. I don't know how you find time to do this, but I'm gl... Read More

Cyanobacterium demonstrates promise for biotechnology feedstock production

Harvard Medical School researchers have engineered a photosynthetic cyanobacterium to boost sugar production, as a first step towards potential commercial production of biofuels and other biotechnologically and industrially useful carbon compounds. As feedstock producers, cyanobacteria have adva... Read More

Swine Flu Type Virus Reported In Iowa

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed three mildly ill children with viruses similar to the swine-origin influenza A (H3N2) viruses identified in three other states. These viruses contain the "matrix (M) gene segment" from the 2009 "Swine Flu" pandemic known as H1N1 virus.... Read More

Small Comfort: Nanomedicine Able to Penetrate Bodily Defenses

Researchers use stealthy nanoscale particles to infiltrate vaginal mucus and keep herpes at bay in mice.

Tears and a runny nose can be unpleasant on a windy day, but these mucosal secretions play a vital role in protecting the body from viruses and other malicious microbes. Unfortunately, muc... Read More

Chickenpox lollipops? Some moms may be sending in mail‎

You’ve probably heard of "chickenpox parties," where parents get unvaccinated kids together (in the home of an infected child) in the hopes they'll catch the disease. They think making their kids suffer through the disease will help them develop stronger immunity than immunization would provide.... Read More

Ultra high-res images with no-lens microscope

A new electron microscope that works without a lens may create the highest resolution images ever seen.

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), which looks through an object to see atomic features within it, has been constrained for over 70 years by the relatively poor lenses that are used to... Read More

The Microbial Academy of Sciences: What Bacteria Can Discover That We Can’t

Other than basic stuff like the Earth rotating around the sun and E=MC2, how much do you know about the universe? Most people would say: not very much. But if you’re a theoretical physicist, you probably know quite a bit more--but still not that much; most of the mysteries of the universe still ... Read More

Air pollution and tuberculosis may be connected

In a new study, scientists have determined a possible link between exposure to a common component of urban air pollution and a change in the function of important immune cells that protect against the bacteria that cause tuberculosis.

In their finding, a team of researchers, led by Dr. Steph... Read More

Bacteria that live on the Atkins Diet

Bacteria have adapted to live in many niches; from the environmental bacteria that live in the soil and the seas, to the highly specialised intracellular bacteria that rely exclusively on their surrounding host for nutrients. While all bacteria face challenges in adapting their environment to su... Read More

TWiV 157: Better innate than never



Hosts: Vincent RacanielloRich Condit... Read More

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