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TWiP 38 Letters

Carlos writes:


Dear Vincent Racaniello and Dickson Despommier


I am an avid listener of TWIP since its start, have been following TWIV for at least two years and, surprise, also follow TWIM.


My field is Computer Science, but I crave for... Read More

Moffitt Cancer Center Researchers Discover How Cancer Cells “Hijack” a Mechanism to Grow

Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center and colleagues at the University of South Florida have discovered a mechanism that explains how some cancer cells “hijack” a biological process to potentially activate cell growth and the survival of cancer gene expression.

Their study appeared in a recen... Read More

Microbes Capable of Surviving Harsh, Mars-Like Conditions Discovered

Soil samples obtained from South American volcanoes have revealed a smattering of different microbe types that have somehow managed to survive in extreme conditions, the University of Colorado-Boulder (CU-Boulder) announced in a June 8 press release.

According to the university, the scientist... Read More

“Snowing Microbes” On Saturn’s Moon?

Enceladus, Saturn’s 318-mile-wide moon that’s become famous for its ice-spraying southern jets, is on astronomers’ short list of places in our own solar system where extraterrestrial life could be hiding — and NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is in just the right place to try and sniff it out.


On ... Read More

Killer whales facing an airborne threat

New research shows that killer whales are inhaling bacteria, fungi and viruses once believed to be found only on land. Some of the pathogens are highly virulent. And some are even antibiotic-resistant.

The scientists followed the killer whales by boat, trying to catch the precise moment the a... Read More

E. coli: can subtractive reverse vaccinology help design a vaccine?

Escherichia coli is no stranger to the human body. In around 20% of us, E. coli is the predominant species in our gastrointestinal tract, where it lives as a commensal. But when E. coli gets out of hand it can cause anything from gastroenteritis to sepsis to urinary tract infections. It's those ... 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

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

Fermented Fashion via @wabibitotweets @phylogenomics

The Micro'be' project by contemporary textile artist and lecturer Donna Franklin, and scientist Gary Cass, explores fashion and technology's newest frontier: garments made from the bacterial fermentation of wine and beer.

The project's eureka moment came about through a vat of Australian red... Read More

Rapamycin, Easter Island Drug, Shows Promise In Boosting Aging Brain, Mice Study Shows

Scientists at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio are investigating a potential new drug that could improve learning and memory during aging -- thanks to Easter Island?

The drug, called rapamycin, comes from isolated bacterial products in the soil of the Polynesian islan... Read More

U.S. Tightens Rules on Antibiotics Use for Livestock

Farmers and ranchers will for the first time need a prescription from a veterinarian before using antibiotics in farm animals, in hopes that more judicious use of the drugs will reduce the tens of thousands of human deaths that result each year from the drugs’ overuse.

The Food and Drug Admin... Read More

Cat Litter Parasite Tied to Suicide Risk in New Moms

Mothers with IgG antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii at delivery are at risk for later self-harm or suicide, particularly if they have higher titers against the parasite, a Danish study found.

The risk of self-directed violent behavior was increased 1.53-fold (95% CI 1.27 to 1.85, Psk rose to 1.9... Read More

The Dog Bacteria That Can Protect You From Asthma

Studies suggest that infants who grow up with dogs in their home are less likely to develop asthma. Researchers may now have found one reason why. Pets, dogs in particular, may protect infants from the effects of a common virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Infants with severe RSV infec... Read More

Blogs by the American Society for Microbiology

Small Things Considered


The purpose of Small Things Considered is to share appreciation for the width and depth of the microbial activities on this pla... Read More

Orchestrating change: Protein signaling between soybean root hairs, bacteria reveals core cellular processes

Understanding what happens to a soybean root hair system infected by symbiotic, nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria, Bradyrhizobium japonicum, could go a long way toward using this symbiosis to redesign plants and improve crop yields, benefitting both food and biofuel production. Because of their exte... Read More

Influenza H5N1 is not lethal in ferrets after airborne transmission

Ron Fouchier has discussed his influenza H5N1 transmission experiments in ferrets at an ASM Biodefense Conference, clarifying several assumptions about the transmissibility of the virus in this animal model. Read More

Earth’s virology professor

Nearly four months ago I stood at the front of a crowded classroom at Columbia University and began teaching the third year of my undergraduate virology course. Twice a week we discussed the basic principles of virology, including how virions are built, how they replicate, and how they cause dis... Read More

WHOI Scientist Receives Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Marine Microbiology Initiative Investigator Award

Mak Saito, a biogeochemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has been selected for a Marine Microbiology Initiative (MMI) investigator award by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Saito is one of 16 scientists from 14 different institutions who will receive funds from a total of up to ... Read More

Evidence for influenza H5N1 infections in humans

The fatality rate for human infections with avian influenza H5N1 is widely quoted at >50%, based on the number of deaths among the fewer than 600 cases confirmed by the World Health Organization. Wang, Parides, and Palese suggest that this number is an overestimate. Read More

Epidemic bacteria can damage mucins to enter and infect a body part

Scientists from the Schepens Eye Research Institute, a subsidiary of Mass. Eye and Ear and affiliate of Harvard Medical School, have found for the first time that a bacterial pathogen can literally mow down protective molecules, known as mucins, on mucus membranes to enter and infect a part of t... Read More

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