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Scientists are poised to redefine underlying conditions in a more profound way based on individual immune response

Attending physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and professors at Harvard Medical School Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband, author an op-ed in the New York Times that considers why in the midst of an epidemic some people become severely ill and die while others remain unscathed.
... Read More

Knockouts in human cells point to pathogenic targets

Whitehead researchers have developed a new type of genetic screen for human cells to pinpoint specific genes and proteins used by pathogens, according to their paper in Science.

In most human cell cultures genes are present in two copies: one inherited from the father and one from the mother.... Read More

School closures can have a substantial impact on the spread of newly emerging infectious diseases

A survey carried out in eight European countries has shown that closing schools in the event of an infectious disease pandemic could have a significant role in reducing illness transmission.

Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Infectious Diseases compared opportunities for infe... Read More

Martian meteorite surrenders new secrets of possible life

Compelling new data that chemical and fossil evidence of ancient microbial life on Mars was carried to Earth in a Martian meteorite is being elevated to a higher plane by the same NASA team which made the initial discovery 13 years ago.

Sources tell Spaceflight Now that the new data are provi... Read More

Farmer Ants Fertilize Their Gardens With Bacteria

(editor's note - this is an update to a story we featured earlier at http://www.microbeworld.org/index.php?option=com_jlibrary&view=article&id=1971)

Thanks to their vast underground fungus farms, leafcutter ants are one of Earth’s most successful species — and one secret of their agricultural... Read More

European Studies Find Unexpected Complexity in Compact Bacterial Genome

A trio of papers in this week's issue of Science are revealing the surprising genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic complexity that can exist in a bacterium with a miniscule genome.

Research groups from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Spain's Centre de Regulacio Genòmica, and elsewhe... Read More

Plasma produces KO cocktail for MRSA

(Editor's note -- this information comes from a press release, but these are interesting treatment developments.)

MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) and other drug-resistant bacteria could face annihilation as low-temperature plasma prototype devices have been developed to off... Read More

Cells Defend Themselves from Viruses, Bacteria With Armor of Protein Errors

When cells are confronted with an invading virus or bacteria or exposed to an irritating chemical, they protect themselves by going off their DNA recipe and inserting the wrong amino acid into new proteins to defend them against damage, scientists have discovered.

These "regulated errors" com... Read More

Greater Use of Vaccine for Infection Is Urged

There has been a “worrisome spike” in secondary bacterial infections among Americans with swine flu, federal health officials said Wednesday, urging more people at risk to get the underused vaccine that prevents some of those infections.

Bacterial infections are a common and sometimes deadly ... Read More

Expert Answers on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Denise Grady, a science writer for The New York Times, recently explored the link between a recently discovered virus called XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome, in “Is a Virus the Cause of Fatigue Syndrome?” Here, Dr. Nancy G. Klimas, who serves on the board of the International Association for C... Read More

Benson, Minnesota, gives thanks for turkey poo

Turkeys are not just good for Thanksgiving. They can help power a town and create jobs using just their waste.

A company in Benson, Minnesota called Fibrominn has come up with an ingenious way to turn that litter into energy - generating close to 55 megawatts! This has made Fibrominn the ver... Read More

Probing life's extremes in Yellowstone

Frank Roberto trawls Yellowstone’s thermal pools for viruses and microbes. On a recent trip to the park, he hunted for bacteria that could aid in the production of biofuels and bioplastics.

Roberto dips a small plastic vial into the pool by hand, scooping up a half-cup of water. He caps the v... Read More

Computational microscope peers into the working ribosome

Two new studies reveal in unprecedented detail how the ribosome interacts with other molecules to assemble new proteins and guide them toward their destination in biological cells. The studies used molecular dynamics flexible fitting (MDFF) to examine the interaction of the ribosome with two pro... Read More

Swine flu mutation fears may be premature

A mutation found in three cases of pandemic swine flu in Norway, one fatal and two severe, has raised fears that the virus is becoming nastier - but these may be premature.

The autumn wave of the pandemic may be peaking (PDF) in parts of Europe, the US and Japan, and virologists now fear that... Read More

River bacteria may reflect climate changes

U.S. scientists say bacteria in six large arctic river ecosystems might be used as markers for monitoring climate change in the polar region.

Researchers at the University of Maryland's Horn Point Laboratory said their study of bacterial communities in the ecosystems reveals predictable tempo... Read More

Alzheimer's research sheds light on potential treatments for urinary tract infections

Research into Alzheimer's disease seems an unlikely approach to yield a better way to fight urinary tract infections (UTIs), but that's what scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and elsewhere recently reported.

One element links the disparate areas of research: ... Read More

Synthetic Bio Group Finalizes Code of Conduct

The International Association of Synthetic Biology announced that it has finalized its code of conduct for gene synthesis, covering ethics, biosafety, and biosecurity aspects of gene synthesis.

The code of conduct put forth by the European group follows the establishment last week of an inter... Read More

Sticky Solution for Identifying Effective Probiotics

Scientists have crystallised a protein that may help gut bacteria bind to the gastrointestinal tract. The protein could be used by probiotic producers to identify strains that are likely to be of real benefit to people.

"Probiotics need to interact with cells lining the gut to have a benefici... Read More

Shifting Vaccine for Flu to Elderly

Federal health officials are trying to shift supplies of the seasonal flu vaccine away from chain pharmacies and supermarkets to nursing homes, hoping to counter a shortage that threatens to cause a wave of deaths this winter among the nation’s most vulnerable population.

The extent of the sh... Read More

Swine flu: doctors blast anti-vaccination sceptics

A leading association of clinicians on Monday accused an "anti-vaccination movement" of breeding suspicion about the (A)H1N1 swine flu vaccine in Europe and declared public health and lives were at risk.

The European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) said it wa... Read More

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