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Contagion, the movie

Contagion is the name of a new action-thriller movie about a global outbreak of a deadly viral disease. Slated to be released in 2011, it is directed by Steven Soderbergh and stars Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Lawrence Fishburne. That’s certainly an ... Read More

BacterioFiles Episode 7

In this show, I report on five exciting stories: a bacterial electric grid, engineering biofilms, beewolves that use antibiotics, tiny bacterial magnets, and microbial life's potential on Mars.





























(14 MB, 15 mi... Read More

Large Pockets of Methane May Be Building Under Antarctic Ice

Microbes living under ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland could be churning out large quantities of the greenhouse gas methane, a new study suggests.

In recent years scientists have learned that liquid water lurks under much of Antarctica’s massive ice sheet, and so, they say, the potentia... Read More

3-D cell culture: Making cells feel right at home

The film "Avatar" isn't the only 3-D blockbuster making a splash this winter. A team of scientists from Houston's Texas Medical Center this week unveiled a new technique for growing 3-D cell cultures, a technological leap from the flat petri dish that could save millions of dollars in drug-testi... Read More

Sigh of relief: Mutations don’t help H1N1

The H1N1 pandemic hasn’t been the devastating and deadly global event the WHO once feared it might be, but public health officials worry that a more virulent form of the virus could emerge and cause a second, more lethal wave of cases. Mutations in genes that encode the viral ribonucleoprotein ... Read More

Obama’s C.D.C. Director, Wielding a Big Broom

No federal health agency changed more during the Bush administration than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It got new buildings, new managers and an entirely new operating structure.

A year into the Obama administration, only the new buildings remain. Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, th... Read More

Study finds dental bib chain contamination

A study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Dentistry Oral Microbiology Laboratory found that dental bib clips may be potential sources of cross-contamination in a dental office.

Researchers sampled 50 bib clips from hygiene and dental operatories. One out of five... Read More

New Powerful Microscopy Shows Antimicrobial Proteins Killing Bacteria

US researchers have developed a new powerful microscopy technique and used it to show proteins killing bacteria in real time, thus revealing the deadly workings of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), naturally occurring proteins that scientists are pursuing as a new approach to treating bacterial inf... Read More

It came from your keyboard!

Its a lot more crowded in your cubicle than you probably thought eh? With these little guys, even when you're by yourself you're never alone! Read More

The Poppy’s Secret: Scientists Find the Genes That Make Morphine

For millennia, humans have used the codeine and morphine of the poppy plant as painkillers—or recreational drugs. For the last half-century, says Peter Facchini, biologists have tried to unlock just how the plant produces these powerful chemicals, and wound up frustrated. But now, in a study in... Read More

Did 'midwife molecule' assemble first life on Earth?

The primordial soup that gave birth to life on EarthMovie Camera may have had an extra, previously unrecognised ingredient: a "molecular midwife" that played a crucial role in allowing the first large biomolecules to assemble from their building blocks.

The earliest life forms are thought by ... Read More

Heating up the climate may light a fire under fungal diseases

Will global warming make fungal infections a bigger problem for humans?
Fungi usually prefer to keep the thermostat turned down around 12ºC to 30ºC, a bit colder than the human body. This preference for cooler temperatures is part of the reason relatively few fungi have emerged as human path... Read More

Complete genomics finds its first diseases

Whole-genome sequencing is touted as the tech that will finally unmask our genetic "dark matter" - as-yet unknown disease-drivers that are missed by current gene scans. It hasn't done that yet, but for the first time two separate groups of researchers have used it to uncover mutations underlying... Read More

University of Michigan scientists identify chemical in bananas as potent inhibitor of HIV infection

A potent new inhibitor of HIV, derived from bananas, may open the door to new treatments to prevent sexual transmission of HIV, according to a University of Michigan Medical School study published this week.

Scientists have an emerging interest in lectins, naturally occurring chemicals in pla... Read More

Microscopic Photography Reveals Bacteria Destroying Grape Plant Cell Wall

Like a band of detectives surveying the movement of a criminal, researchers using photographic technology have caught at least one culprit in the act.

In this case, electron microscopy was used to watch a deadly bacteria breakdown cell walls in wine grape plants -- an image that previously ha... Read More

Outwitting germs that never say die

In the ongoing battle between pathogens and humans, bacteria have an unusual survival tactic: playing dead.

cientists in Boston and elsewhere are increasingly interested in mysterious “persisters’’ — a small number of cells in a bacterial population that are not growing, but are also not dead... Read More

New Microscopy Technique Offers Close-Up, Real-Time View of Cellular Phenomena

For two decades, scientists have been pursuing a potential new way to treat bacterial infections, using naturally occurring proteins known as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). Now, MIT scientists have recorded the first microscopic images showing the deadly effects of AMPs, most of which kill by po... Read More

Rays of Hope in Battling an Agonizing Disease

It wasn’t until Ileana Peralta was in junior high school that she summoned the courage to Google her own disease.

The teenager from Livermore knew almost everything about her inherited condition, Epidermolysis bullosa, a tongue twister even doctors call just EB. The disease is caused by the ... Read More

TWiV 73: Entering the ends

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On episode #73 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent, Dickson, and Rich discuss multipotent progenitor bone marrow cells as a reservoir of HIV-1, integration of HHV-6 into telomeres, and dis... Read More

Barrier in Mosquito Midgut Protects Invading Pathogens

Scientists studying the Anopheles gambiae mosquito -- the main vector of malaria -- have found that when the mosquito takes a blood meal, that act triggers two enzymes to form a network of crisscrossing proteins around the ingested blood. The formation of this protein barrier, the researchers f... Read More

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