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Source of Justian Plague Sequenced?

In a fascinating story that was presented on NPR by Nell Greenfieldboyce we learn that the source of the Justian Plague (541-543AD) was recently identified by sequencing blood extracted from the dental pulp of the teeth associated with two skeletons recovered from Munich. For many years it was... Read More

From the archives: life at 90°C

Prokaryotes are by far the most successful superkingdom in terms of both biochemical diversity and the variety of environments conquered. Bacteria can be found living in all kinds of adverse conditions; from high alkaline lakes, to below freezing temperature, to hot volcanic vents which in some ... Read More

Insight into pathogenic fungus

The fungal pathogen Candida albicans causes yeast infections, diaper rashes and oral thrush, and is the most common fungal pathogen to infect humans. Researchers have identified a protein that the fungus uses to defend itself against the human body. Another concern with the fungus is that it can... Read More

A Cheap, Promising Way to Filter Water: Through A Twig

One way to avoid getting sick while traveling is to only eat fruit that you peel yourself, since plants can filter out bacteria and prevent it from traveling throughout their tissues. Well, why not apply this principle to filtering water directly? A team of scientists have done just that, testi... Read More

Nutrient-absorbing surface’s assembly revealed: study

Vanderbilt University researchers have now discovered how intestinal cells build this specialized structure, which is critical for absorbing nutrients and defending against pathogens. The findings, published April 10 in the journal Cell, reveal a role for adhesion molecules in brush border assem... Read More

A Letter to STC from Julian Davies

Bravo Randy Schekman!

I strongly support your comments on the tyranny of "impact factors" and I will be pleased to join in efforts to prevent the misuse of these ratings.

Impact Factors have become a symbol of terror for scientists in all disciplines and their use in promotion and other ... Read More

Six to Tango

One genome at a time can be exciting, but two even more so. I’m not entirely sure why this is, although it may explain our fascination with sex. And what if more than two entities were involved? What if the intimacy were not just between two individual organisms, but between a greater number of ... Read More

Vials of E. coli found in Ark. apartment

Vials of E. coli bacteria found in the refrigerator of a Jonesboro apartment have been safely removed, authorities said.

A maintenance man cleaning out the unit at the Willow Creek Apartments on Friday found 25 vials marked "E. coli" in a foam box in a refrigerator, officials said. The mainte... Read More

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

The virus detective who discovered Ebola in 1976

Nearly 40 years ago, a young Belgian scientist travelled to a remote part of the Congolese rainforest - his task was to help find out why so many people were dying from an unknown and terrifying disease.

In September 1976, a package containing a shiny, blue thermos flask arrived at the Instit... Read More

A Snippet: One Fungus, Two Bacteria

How often have you heard of two or more bacterial species coexisting within the same cell of a host? It’s known to happen with some frequency in some amebas, insects and other invertebrates (including the strange case of the mealybug bacteria, which have an endosymbiotic bacterium that carries a... Read More

Antibiotic resistance mechanisms of clinically important bacteria.

Antibiotic resistance mechanisms of clinically important bacteria. Read More

Soft ray looks to save lives by developing rapid, low-cost system for detection of bacteria in blood platelets

Paul E. Johnson envisions the day when most citizens can have their blood platelets checked quickly for bacteria at a low cost. And he has created the technology that he believes can make a difference in eventually saving lives.

Johnson, a University of Wyoming professor of physics since 1981... Read More

US Travelers Return Home With Tropical Disease. Will It Spread In The States?

If you happened to be reading state health departments’ outbreak announcements this past weekend, you might have seen something interesting.

(You don’t do this? Hmm.)

Three states — Rhode Island, North Carolina and Tennessee — all said that they have identified residents who have been diag... Read More

Printable Biotechnology

Cells, biological circuits, and individual biomolecules organize themselves and interact with the environment. Use of these capabilities in flexible and economically efficient biotechnological production systems is in the focus of the "Molecular Interaction Engineering" (MIE) project. It is the ... Read More

Bacteria: A day in the life

MIT study finds ocean bacteria follow predictable patterns of daily activity.

We are all creatures of habit, and a new MIT study finds ocean bacteria are no exception.

In a paper published this week in Science, researchers from MIT and elsewhere report that microbes in the open ocean follo... Read More

Bird flu 'danger zones' mapped

The "danger zones" in Asia which are vulnerable to a deadly bird flu have been mapped by scientists.

The virus, called H7N9, has infected 433 people mostly in China and has killed 62.

The study, published in Nature Communications, showed parts of Bangladesh, India and Vietnam could easily ... Read More

Progress in the fight against harmful fungi

A group of researchers at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories has created one of the three world's largest gene libraries for the Candida glabrata yeast, which is harmful to humans. Molecular analysis of the Candida glabrata fungus mutations led to the discovery of 28 new genes that are partly respon... 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

‘Wormy’ Pills Might Fend Off Autoimmune Diseases

Scientists have identified peptides from parasitic hookworms that can calm the body’s immune response and perhaps pave the way to treat autoimmune diseases.

Experts believe the peptide molecules could help explain why worm infections can effectively treat diseases such as multiple sclerosis, ... Read More

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