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A few reminiscences on Hilary Koprowski

Virologist Hilary Koprowski died on 11 April 2013 at the age of 96. His main accomplishments are nicely summarized in the New York Times, but for a more comprehensive overview of his life, I highly recommend his biography Listen to the Music by Roger Vaughan. I did not have many opportunities to... Read More

Study describes pump mechanism that enables bacteria to evade antibiotic attack

Researchers have uncovered details of a mechanism that bacteria use to avoid the effects of antibiotics, which could pave the way for developing new drugs to counteract antibiotic resistance.

The discovery, from researchers at Durham University and the University of Birmingham, gives the firs... Read More

The microbes you inhale on the New York City subway

The microbial population in the air of the New York City subway system is nearly identical to that of ambient air on the city streets. This research, published ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, establishes an important baseline, should it become necessary to m... Read More

Thanks to Rare Alpine Bacteria, Researchers Identify One of Alcohol’s Key Gateways to the Brain

Thanks to a rare bacteria that grows only on rocks in the Swiss Alps, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the Pasteur Institute in France have been the first to identify how alcohol might affect key brain proteins.

It’s a major step on the road to eventually developing drugs ... Read More

Eggs, Too, May Provoke Bacteria to Raise Heart Risk

For the second time in a matter of weeks, a group of researchers reported a link between the food people eat and bacteria in the intestines that can increase the risk of heart attacks.

Two weeks ago, the investigators reported that carnitine, a compound found in red meat, can increase heart d... Read More

A Good Defense Is Worth Stealing

One widely-used tactic for defense against phage and other mobile genetic elements is to deploy a CRISPR-Cas system (click here and here) to recognize and chop them into pieces. Based on sequenced genomes, 60% of Bacteria and 90% of Archaea have the wherewithal to dispatch invaders this way. But... Read More

TWiM #55: In the copper room



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Michael Schmidt, and  Read More

TWiM 55 Letters


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WHO: H7N9 virus 'one of the most lethal so far'

As the death toll from China's bird flu outbreak rose to 22 with news of another victim in eastern Zhejiang Province, the World Health Organization warned the H7N9 virus was one of the most lethal that doctors and medical investigators had faced in recent years.

"This is an unusually dangerou... Read More

Iron in Primeval Seas Rusted by Bacteria

Researchers from the University of Tübingen have been able to show for the first time how microorganisms contributed to the formation of the world's biggest iron ore deposits. The biggest known deposits -- in South Africa and Australia -- are geological formations billions of years old. They are... Read More

Is There Evidence of a Supernova in the Fossils of Ancient Bacteria?

Back when the Time Lord and I were still engaged, we went shopping for wedding rings. He only had one criteria: he wanted his ring to be made of platinum or a similar material forged in a supernova. It’s not quite as exotic as it sounds: most heavy elements were formed in supernovae, via a proce... Read More

Battling With Bugs to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance

New scientific research published today in the journal PLoS Biology shows that bacteria can evolve resistance more quickly when stronger antibiotics are used.

Researchers from the University of Exeter and Kiel University in Germany treated E. coli with different combinations of antibiotics in... Read More

H7N9 is a virus worth worrying about

Warnings about the emergence of another influenza virus may elicit scepticism, but we should not be complacent, cautions Peter Horby.

Once again an animal influenza A virus has crossed the species barrier to cause an appreciable number of human cases. Now, two months after the first known hum... Read More

Holy Virus Treasure Trove, Batman!

Think about the type of animal that would make an ideal host for a virus. It would gather in large dense groups, making it easier for the virus to jump into fresh hosts. It should have a relatively long lifespan, so any single individual has many chances of becoming infected. It would certainly ... Read More

Contact killing of Salmonella by human faecal bacteria

Our gut is home to trillions of bacteria, numbering more than the cells in the rest of our body, and these bacteria help us to digest our food, absorb nutrients and strengthen our immune system. This complex bacterial ecosystem, called the gut microbiota, also helps to prevent bad bacteria from ... Read More

Radioactive bacteria attack cancer

Two dangerous things together might make a medicine for one of the hardest cancers to treat. In a mouse model of pancreatic cancer, researchers have shown that bacteria can deliver deadly radiation to tumours — exploiting the immune suppression that normally makes the disease so intractable.

... Read More

Gut Microbe Makes Diesel Biofuel

Reconfiguring the genetics of the food pathogen E. coli produces hydrocarbons indistinguishable from those burned in trucks. Welding bits and pieces from various microbes and the camphor tree into the genetic code of Escherichia coli has allowed scientists to convince the stomach bug to produce... Read More

Bacteria may contribute to premature births, STDs

New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis points to a common species of bacteria as an important contributor to bacterial vaginosis, a condition linked to preterm birth and increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

The condition affects one in every three wo... Read More

E. coli Cells Face FACS and Get Back into Shape

There’s no question that variation in size and shape has conferred selective advantages over the course of evolutionary time. One of the most obvious examples is the long neck and legs of the giraffe, which allow it to snatch foliage that is unreachable by vertically challenged competitors. The ... Read More

New study shows how Salmonella colonises the gut

Salmonella is a major cause of human diarrhoeal infections and is frequently acquired from chickens, pigs and cattle, or their products. Around 94 million such infections occur in people worldwide each year, with approximately 50,000 cases in the UK per annum.

In a BBSRC-funded collaboration ... Read More

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