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There Is No ‘Healthy’ Microbiome - NY Times Opinion Piece #microbiome

Ed Yong, a freelance science writer who authors the Not Exactly Rocket Science blog for National Geographic, has penned an opinion piece in the NY Times Sunday Review on how society needs to start thinking about the microbiome as an ecosystem with all the complexities that it entails and not as ... Read More

Virus Sleuths Chip Away At Ebola Mysteries

Vincent Racaniello, who studies viruses at Columbia University, says Ebola has recently become his obsession.

"I find myself reading incessantly about Ebola when I should be doing other things," says Racaniello, host of the online show This Week in Virology, which has devoted several recent p... Read More

BacterioFiles 189 - Saliva Slows Sprout Supporter

This episode: Fungi living in grasses make toxic compounds to defend against herbivores, but some animals can overcome this defense with their saliva!


(5.4 MB, 5.9 minutes)


Show notes: 
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Immune cells proposed as HIV hideout don't last in primate model

Where does HIV hide? Antiretroviral drugs can usually control the virus, but can’t completely eliminate it. So any strategy to eradicate HIV from the body has to take into account not only the main group of immune cells the virus targets, called CD4 or helper T cells, but other infected cells as... Read More

On The Definition of Prokaryotes

As will be argued below the present definition of a prokaryote is highly unsatisfactory. To give an example: a prokaryote is "a cell or organism lacking a nucleus and other membrane-enclose organelles, usually having its DNA in a single circular molecule" (Brock, Biology of Microorganisms, 10th ... Read More

We'd all like to get to Mars. Let's make sure we don't get sick along the way.

While Hollywood loves to imagine humans encountering all manner of horrific monsters in the depths of space, the greatest threat to a long-term, manned space mission may not come with tentacles, or extra mouths, or an insatiable love for human flesh. It may, in fact, be the invisible microbes t... Read More

TWiV 309: Ebola email

The TWiVocytes answer questions about Ebola virus, including mode of transmission, quarantine, incubation period, immunity, and much more.


 Hosts: Vincent Racaniello Read More

More scary than Halloween: this month in germophobia microbophobia

From microBEnet, by Jonathan Eisen

It seems that any time a holiday comes around in the US, the press starts to ramp up the writing of stories about evil microbes that are lurking all around us. And Halloween appears to be no exception. I am now planning on referring to this attitude as “micr... Read More

Microbial ‘Vaccine’ Helps Keep Mosquitoes Disease-Free

Mosquitoes that harbor a soil microbe called Chromobacterium Csp_P have a harder time catching dengue virus and the malarial parasite. Christopher Intagliata reports.

The human microbiome is the community of tiny organisms that live on us and inside us. These critters play vital roles in our ... Read More

Could copper prevent spread of Ebola?

Research from the University of Southampton has indicated that copper could help to prevent the spread of Ebola.

Hand washing, disinfectants and quarantine procedures alone have been found to be insufficient to contain the spread of the virus. Research by Professor Bill Keevil at the Universi... Read More

Breakdown in gut barriers to bacteria may promote inflammation and craving in alcoholics

Bacteria in the GI tract fulfill many vital functions and are critical for digestion. Yet, these same bacteria can induce strong inflammatory responses by the immune system if they penetrate the gut and enter the bloodstream. Prior research has established the involvement of inflammatory process... Read More

Emerging Disease Could Wipe Out American, European Salamanders

A deadly disease that is wiping out salamanders in parts of Europe will inevitably reach the U.S. through the international wildlife trade unless steps are taken to halt its spread, says University of Maryland amphibian expert Karen Lips.

The recently described fungus, Batrachochytrium salama... Read More

Ebola virus: Genes 'play significant role in survival'

Genetic factors could play an important role in whether people survive the Ebola virus, say US scientists.

A study of mice infected with the virus found they showed a number of different symptoms, with 19% remaining unaffected by the disease.

This could explain why some people recover from... Read More

7 Amazing Scientists and 1 Music Video Raise Hope for Ebola Researchers

A music video making the rounds on YouTube entitled “One Truth,” is dedicated to all of the brave researchers, healthcare workers, and others who have put their lives on the line to save people during the recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease. Pardis Sabeti, MD, DPhil, an NIH-funded New Innovat... Read More

TWiM #90: Think globally, act locally

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello.


Special guests: Laurene Mascola and Read More

Ebola Exacerbates West Africa’s Poverty Crisis

The virus spreading in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has led to food shortages and neglect of other devastating tropical illnesses.

When Ebola came to Dorcas's home on the outskirts of Freetown in Sierra Leone, the virus spared no one. Her mother brought it home from the clinic where she w... Read More

More attention to measles, vaccine experts urge

Doctors and public health authorities need to renew their attention to measles, researchers from Emory Vaccine Center urge in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Because of its high level of contagiousness, measles is the indicator disease for weaknesses of an immunization p... Read More

Koala chlamydia vaccine trial raises hope

Australian scientists say they have successfully tested a vaccine aimed at protecting wild koalas from chlamydia.

The disease has ravaged the native marsupial, which is under increasing threat.

Microbiologists in Queensland now hope to protect some of the remaining population after success... Read More

Ebola and the Vast Viral Universe

Behind the hellish Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa lies an agent that fittingly embodies the mad contradictions of a nightmare. It is alive yet dead, simple yet complex, mindless yet prophetic, seemingly able to anticipate our every move.

For scientists who study the evolution and behavio... Read More

Epidemiological Study by Penn Vet Professor Investigates Parasite-Schizophrenia Connection

Many factors, both genetic and environmental, have been blamed for increasing the risk of a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Some, such as a family history of schizophrenia, are widely accepted. Others, such as infection with Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite transmitted by soil, undercooked meat and cat... Read More
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