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Scientists explore the mechanisms of viruses' shells

The genome of viruses is usually enclosed inside a shell called capsid. Capsids have unique mechanic properties: they have to be resistant and at the same time capable of dissolving in order to release the genome into the infected cell. The scientists of the International School for Advanced Stu... Read More

Reprogrammed Bacteria Build Self-Healing ‘Living Materials’

How handy would it be if, instead of taking your broken circuit board to the Genius Bar (again), you could just prompt it to heal itself? That’s the futuristic possibility researchers have recently inched ever so slightly toward, with the development of hybrid “living materials” made from bacter... Read More

Pathogens in Cheese – Researchers Follow the Traces of Deadly Bacteria

If food products are not produced in a hygienic environment, consumers can face the threat of dangerous pathogens. This is exactly what happened in 2009 and 2010 when two different strains of Listeria monocytogenes were found in the traditional Austrian curd cheese known as “Quargel”. 34 people ... Read More

How bacteria with a sweet tooth may keep us healthy

Some gut bacterial strains are specifically adapted to use sugars in our gut lining to aid colonisation, potentially giving them a major influence over our gut health.

We live in a symbiotic relationship with trillions of bacteria in our gut. They help us digest food, prime our immune system ... Read More

Kawasaki Disease Traced to Winds from Northeast China Carrying Unusual Fungal Load

In 2012 I wrote a story for Nature about a strange illness called Kawasaki Disease whose cause has eluded scientists for over 50 years. The diseases causes inflammation of the blood vessels in small children that leads to fever, rashes and reddening, and even coronary aneurysms that can cause he... Read More

Yellow Light Grows the Best Algae for Biofuels

Aaron Wheeler is the director of an interdisciplinary research group at the University of Toronto in Canada. The group develop lab-on-a-chip techniques for applications in biology, chemistry and medicine.

You recently reported an exciting technique that can screen algae grown under different ... Read More

Cancer Survivor Saved by Measles Virus Raises Funds for Expanded Trial

After battling blood cancer for 10 years, Stacy Erholtz has no signs of the disease, thanks to an experimental treatment that used an engineered version of the measles virus.

Now, a year after finishing her treatment, the 50-year-old mother of three is transitioning from patient to advocate, ... Read More

Of Terms in Biology: Metagenomic Binning

Summer's almost gone. Imagine you're strolling along the shores of a lake enjoying nature's colors during sunset. Sparkle catches your eyes where the lake languidly laps against the shore. You start pondering whether microbes — and if so which ones, and how many different — cause these glistenin... Read More

Nibbled to Death: U.Va. Researchers Discover New Way Human Cells Are Killed

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine studying a potentially deadly parasitic infection have discovered a previously unknown way that human cells are killed, with the parasitic amoeba essentially nibbling cells to death – as a piranha might attack its prey.

Until now, r... Read More

Stopping malaria transmission: A Virginia Tech biochemist is out for blood

Fighting malaria in today’s world will require a new, targeted approach, and Virginia Tech researchers are out for blood.

The parasites responsible for the mosquito-borne infectious disease are increasingly resistant to current drug approaches, and almost half of the world is at risk of cont... Read More

State's Flu Shot Rule for Preschoolers Helped

A Connecticut law requiring flu shots for children entering preschool or daycare has reduced flu-related hospitalizations of young children by 12 percent, according to a new study. The jump in flu vaccinations of young children -- to 84 percent in 2012-2013 from about 68 percent in 2009-2010 -- ... Read More

Researchers find that going with the flow makes bacteria stick

In a surprising new finding, researchers have discovered that bacterial movement is impeded in flowing water, enhancing the likelihood that the microbes will attach to surfaces. The new work could have implications for the study of marine ecosystems, and for our understanding of how infections t... Read More

Researchers Identify Protein That Helps Control Common Viral Infection

Infectious disease specialists at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center have identified a protein that regulates the body’s immune response to cytomegalovirus (CMV), a common pathogen that causes lifelong infections and can lead to devastating illness in newborns and those with weakened immune sys... Read More

Scientists discover how a killer fungus attacks HIV patients

Researchers have discovered that a type of white blood cell carries a deadly fungus into the brains of HIV positive patients, causing meningitis which kills more than 600,000 people a year. The discovery could lead to more effective ways of tackling the deadly fungus as it infects the human body... Read More

Light-Induced Delivery of Nitric Oxide Eradicates Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have developed a novel approach for eradicating drug-resistant bacteria from wounds and skin infections, using light to trigger the controlled release of nitric oxide. The UCSC team developed a photoactive compound that releases nitric oxide when exposed to light, an... Read More

Microbe, Enzyme or Mineral? A Riddle in the Soil

When most people look at soil, they just see dirt. When I look at soil, I see billions of microorganisms crawling atop one another, consuming the dead in a feasting frenzy that stops for nothing save a deep freeze. I see microbes and their enzymes, the digestive juices that break down, transform... Read More

Scientists Figure Out How Microbes Make Wine Good

Yeast aren’t the only microbes that help turn boring grapes into the delicious, seductive, complex, confusing, subtle, and totally splendiferous tonic known as wine. In addition to those well-known fermenters, a type of bacteria called Oenococcus oeni (for reasons that will be obvious to oenophi... Read More

Muddled about MERS? Here’s A Quick Guide

While I was working on the “H1N-What?” post, I also knew there would soon be questions about MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), just as there were about SARS. So here are the essentials of what we know and don’t know about MERS—which has just been reported in the U.S.—as well as intriguing... Read More

Immune cell ‘defenders’ could beat invading bacteria

An international team of scientists has identified the precise biochemical key that wakes up the body’s immune cells and sends them into action against invading bacteria and fungi.
The patented work, published in Nature today, provides the starting point to understanding our first line of defen... Read More

Facilitation of horizontal transfer of antimicrobial resistance by transformation of antibiotic-induced cell-wall-deficient bacteria

It is universally accepted that the use of antibiotics will lead to antimicrobial resistance. Traditionally, the explanation to this phenomenon was random mutation and horizontal gene transfer and amplification by selective pressure. Subsequently, a second mechanism of antibiotic-induced antimic... Read More

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