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Battling superbugs

Two new technologies could enable novel strategies for combating drug-resistant bacteria.

In recent years, new strains of bacteria have emerged that resist even the most powerful antibiotics. Each year, these superbugs, including drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis and staphylococcus, infect... Read More

Shigella Steals Host Nutrients... Economically

Intracellular pathogens face many daunting problems, among them how to obtain enough energy and nutrients for active growth while, preferably, keeping the host cell alive for as long as possible. This issue is especially acute for pathogens that grow at a fast rate and reach large numbers. When ... Read More

TWiV 303: Borna this way

The TWiV team discusses transmission of Ebola virus, and inhibition of Borna disease virus replication by viral DNA in the ground squirrel genome.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello Read More

TWiP 77: Mixed messages

Vincent and Dickson discuss the exchange of messenger RNAs between a parasitic plant and its hosts.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Dickson Despommier Read More

TWiP 77 letters

Andy writes:


Dear Professors,


I have been following TWIP for several years. I am a software engineer and parasitology is only an avocation. As an undergraduate in the early 80's I discovered my love of history of science and ecology, although I continued the p... Read More

White House Unveils Strategy to Combat Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance poses a dire threat in hospitals and communities. To help limit such risk, health care professionals should begin sequencing the DNA of offending bacteria, the White House’s council of science advisors said in a new report. Armed with genome-sequencing technology that enabl... Read More

How NASA's Microbe Detection Technology Speed Up Tissue Transplants

What do the Curiosity rover and a bone allograft have in common? They both have got to be super duper clean.

That’s why AlloSource, a Colorado-based nonprofit that specializes in human tissue donation, has signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), to make... Read More

What we are not afraid to say about Ebola virus

In a recent New York Times OpEd entitled What We’re Afraid to Say About Ebola, Michaeal Osterholm wonders whether Ebola virus could go airborne:

You can now get Ebola only through direct contact with bodily fluids. If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one... Read More

TWiM #87: Avogadro, archaeal fossils, and ICAAC

Hosts: Vincent RacanielloMichael Schmidt, ... Read More

TWiM 87 Letters

Varun writes:


Greetings TWiM Profz,


As a perso... Read More

This Bizarre Organism Builds Itself a New Genome Every Time It Has Sex

Oxytricha trifallax lives in ponds all over the world. Under an electron microscope it looks like a football adorned with tassels. The tiny fringes are the cilia it uses to move around and gobble up algae. What makes Oxytricha unusual, however, is the crazy things it does with its DNA.

Unlike... Read More

Recruiting bacteria to be technology innovation partners

For most people biofilms conjure up images of slippery stones in a streambed and dirty drains. While there are plenty of "bad" biofilms around – they even cause pesky dental plaque and a host of other more serious medical problems – a team at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineer... Read More

Ebola outbreak “out of all proportion” and severity cannot be predicted

A mathematical model that replicates Ebola outbreaks can no longer be used to ascertain the eventual scale of the current epidemic, finds research conducted by the University of Warwick.

Dr Thomas House, of the University’s Warwick Mathematics Institute, developed a model that incorporated da... Read More

Healthy humans make nice homes for viruses

The same viruses that make us sick can take up residence in and on the human body without provoking a sneeze, cough or other troublesome symptom, according to new research. On average, healthy individuals carry about five types of viruses on their bodies, the researchers report. The study is the... Read More

Motorcycling to Ebola Treatment Could Spread the Infection

Ambulances are scarce in areas of west Africa roiled by the Ebola outbreak, so when ill patients and their families need to go to the clinic they often turn to the next best thing—a motorcycle taxi. An ill passenger will wrap her arms around the driver’s waist and away they will go—sometimes dri... Read More

How I Learned to Think Like a Mushroom

We need fungal Solutions to Pollution, Global Pandemics, and Starvation, says Tradd Cotter, a microbiologist and professional mycologist.

I have been studying mushrooms, inside and out, macroscopically and microscopically, for the past 22 years. At times I imagine myself deep into their chemi... Read More

Strategic Self-Sabotage? MRSA Inhibits Its Own Growth

Scientists at the University of Western Ontario have uncovered a bacterial mystery. Against all logic, the most predominant strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in North American produces an enzyme that degrades skin secretions into compounds that are toxic to itself. Th... Read More

Pitt-Developed Vaccine Proves Effective Against Deadly Middle East Virus

A vaccine developed by an international team of scientists led by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine successfully protects mice against a contagious and deadly virus spreading across the Middle East. The vaccine is a promising candidate for immunizing camels, thought to be the sourc... Read More

Fighting Poisons With Bacteria - Going Inside the Rice Microbiome

When Harsh Bais grows rice plants in trays of water in his greenhouse at the University of Delaware, he can easily spot the ones that have been exposed to arsenic: They are stunted, with shorter stems and shrunken, yellow-tinged leaves.

Dr. Bais is working to develop rice plants that take up ... Read More

Enterovirus D68 sickens more than a dozen in New York

More than a dozen cases of Enterovirus D68 have been confirmed in New York state, according to officials.

"EV-D68 is causing cases of severe respiratory illness ... sometimes resulting in hospitalization, especially among children with asthma," the NYS Department of Health said in a statement... Read More

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