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Would you live in a house made of sand and bacteria? It's a surprisingly good idea

Peter Trimble found his formula through trial and error. A design student at the University of Edinburgh, he was aiming to produce an artistic exhibition for a module on sustainability, when he stumbled on "Dupe," a living alternative to concrete.

A lab technician introduced Trimble to Sporos... Read More

My No-Soap, No-Shampoo, Bacteria-Rich Hygiene Experiment

For most of my life, if I’ve thought at all about the bacteria living on my skin, it has been while trying to scrub them away. But recently I spent four weeks rubbing them in. I was Subject 26 in testing a living bacterial skin tonic, developed by AOBiome, a biotech start-up in Cambridge, Mass. ... Read More

BacterioFiles 168 - Plentiful Plant Pathogen Partners

This episode: Multiple different fungi kill insects and give their nutrients to plant partners!


(8.3 MB, 9 minutes)


Show notes: 
Journal Paper


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TWiP 72 letters


Robin writes:


plethora (n.)


1540s, a medical word for "excess of body fluid," from Late Latin plethora, from Greek plethore "fullness," from plethein "be full" (see pleio-). Figurative meaning "too-muchness, overfullness in any respect" i... Read More

TWiP 72: Wormholes

Vincent and Dickson discuss five ways that helminths manipulate host tissues to survive.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Dickson Despommier


{aud... Read More

A WORD on the constraints of influenza virus evolution

Evolution proceeds by selection of mutants that arise by error-prone duplication of nucleic acid genomes. It is believed that mutations that are selected in a gene are dependent on those that have preceded them, an effect known as epistasis. Analysis of a sequence of changes in the influenza vir... Read More

Rising star uses paper to tackle food-borne diseases

A University of Alberta researcher’s star is rising thanks to her idea to detect deadly pathogens such as E. coli using a paper device only slightly larger than a postage stamp.

Frédérique Deiss, a post-doctoral fellow in the Faculty of Science, is working on ways to help detect food- and wat... Read More

The protective milk shot – How mother’s milk protects piglets from parasite infections

Coccidiosis is a serious disease in new-born piglets. Caused by the parasite Cystoisospora suis, it exclusively infects pigs and often causes severe diarrhoea in suckling piglets. Parasitologists at the Vetmeduni Vienna have developed a new strategy for protecting the piglets: They infected sows... Read More

Why a MERS Vaccine Won't Be Easy

Two years ago, the virus didn't even have a name. A year ago it had infected roughly 50 people, half of whom died. Now, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome has been confirmed in more than 600 people, and killed nearly 30 percent of its victims.

Originating on the Arabian Peninsula, MERS has been... Read More

TWiV 286: Boston TWiV party

Vincent and Alan meet up with Julie and Paul at the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Boston, to talk about their work on the pathogenesis of poliovirus and measles virus.


Hosts: V... Read More

Gene discovery may halt a deep-rooted pepper disease

For more than a century, the global hot pepper industry has been dealing with a problem. A funguslike pathogen, known as Phytophthora capsici, has spread a root rot disease that severely diminishes crop yields. Despite highly adaptive management practices and the availability of wild pepper vari... Read More

Soil bacteria may provide clues to curbing antibiotic resistance

Drug-resistant bacteria annually sicken 2 million Americans and kill at least 23,000. A driving force behind this growing public health threat is the ability of bacteria to share genes that provide antibiotic resistance.

Bacteria that naturally live in the soil have a vast collection of gene... Read More

Fungi clean oil-polluted soil

Fungi can be harnessed to clean polluted soil which cannot be cleaned using traditional composting. This was the finding of Erica Winquist, M.Sc. (Tech.), in her dissertation for Aalto University.

Soil that has been polluted by organic pollutants such as oils can be treated by composting. How... Read More

Nasal bacteria may be predictor of skin infections

Bacteria found in the nose may be a key indicator for future development of skin and soft-tissue infections in remote areas of the body, researchers say. The nose is the primary S. aureus reservoir in humans and nearly 80% of the time, an individual's colonizing strain is the same strain that ca... Read More

Bird flu experiments pose risk of accidental release

Research in mammals that aims to prevent future influenza pandemics raises ethical, public health concerns. Experiments creating dangerous flu strains that are transmissible between mammals pose too great a risk to human life from potential release, according to an editorial by researchers from... Read More

Pictures Considered #17. The Meselson-Stahl Experiment

Described as the “Most Beautiful Experiment In Biology” the demonstration by Meselson and Stahl that DNA replicates semiconservatively is one of the major landmarks in the genesis of modern biology. And indeed it is most pleasing, both visually and cerebrally.

By semiconservative is meant tha... Read More

Microbe, enzyme or mineral? A riddle in the soil.

When you look at soil, you probably see dirt. When I look at soil, I see billions of microorganisms, crawling atop one another, consuming the dead in a feasting frenzy that stops for nothing save a deep freeze. I see microbes and their enzymes, the digestive juices that break down, transform and... Read More

Therapeutic teamwork: Coupling oncolytic viruses with immunotherapy to destroy tumor cells

A recent study by scientists at the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy offers a new, multifaceted therapy for destroying tumors. A team of researchers led by Dmitriy Zamarin combined checkpoint blockade, a technique aimed at enhancing antitumor immune responses, with oncolytic viral therapy,... Read More

White House: CIA has ended use of vaccine programmes

The CIA has ended the use of vaccine programmes in its spying operations amid concerns for the safety of health workers, the White House has said.

In a letter to US public health schools, a White House aide said the CIA stopped such practices in August.

The CIA reportedly used a fake vacci... Read More

No, your urine is not sterile, new research finds

Bear Grylls, that intrepid survival expert from "Man vs. Wild," might want to rethink his penchant for drinking his own urine. Contrary to popular belief, new research shows that urine from an otherwise healthy person may not be as germ-free as we were led to believe.

“For years, actually for... Read More

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