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Predicting the virulence of MRSA from its genome sequence

Microbial virulence is a complex and often multifactorial phenotype, intricately linked to a pathogen’s evolutionary trajectory. Toxicity, the ability to destroy host cell membranes, and adhesion, the ability to adhere to human tissues, are the major virulence factors of many bacterial pathogens... Read More

Lassa Fever Reported in U.S. Traveler to West Africa

A Minnesota man who returned from a trip to West Africa has been diagnosed with Lassa fever, a severe and sometimes deadly viral disease rarely seen in the United States, health officials said.

The man, who was hospitalized with fever and confusion on March 31, was confirmed to have Lassa fev... Read More

An immune system for Algernon?

I haven't read it (yet) but heard Daniel Keyes' 1960 short story/1966 novel is a sci-fi masterpiece.

And it's the first place my mind went upon reading about this fascinating breakthrough by researchers at Yale. Read More

Using tobacco to thwart West Nile virus

An international research group led by Arizona State University professor Qiang "Shawn" Chen has developed a new generation of potentially safer and more cost-effective therapeutics against West Nile virus, and other pathogens. The therapeutics, known as monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and their de... Read More

Baker's Yeast Gets a Genetic Makeover

The humble baker's yeast has been enlisted to serve the needs of humanity, responsible for beer, wine and bread, among other staples. A domesticated servant for at least millennia, the microscopic fungus has now had one of its chromosomes swapped out by a host of undergraduate students in favor ... Read More

New probiotic improves pig health, reduces manure output

A new probiotic for pigs could mean less manure to manage, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) studies. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists conducted the first published investigation of the use of bacteria as a probiotic to increase fiber fermentation rates and reduce ... Read More

Computing with Slime

A future computer might be a lot slimier than the solid silicon devices we have today. In a study published in the journal Materials Today, European researchers reveal details of logic units built using living slime molds, which might act as the building blocks for computing devices and sensors.... Read More

Are tiny microbes outwitting us to steal our food?

It's long been know that microbes are to blame for food going off and becoming rotten but in the late 1970's, Dan Janzen of the University of Pennsylvania, and a winner of ecology's version of the Nobel Prize, suggested that making something rotten may be to the advantage of the microbes living ... Read More

Oldest Living Things In the World (video)

For nearly a decade, Brooklyn-based artist, photographer, and Guggenheim Fellow Rachel Sussman has been traveling the globe to discover and document its oldest organisms — living things over 2,000 years of age. Her breathtaking photographs and illuminating essays are now collected in The Oldest ... Read More

Risk of dengue fever epidemic in Europe

The risk of dengue fever beginning to spread in Europe is imminent. According to researchers from Umeå University, this is no longer just an issue for the scientific community but also for politicians and policy makers, who need to be prepared and develop preventive measures.

With a changing ... Read More

From Geology to Biology: A Serpentine Story of Early Life

Over 4.5 billion years ago, the Earth was a superheated sphere of molten rock, radiating heat to space at over 2000 K. A billion years later, it had global oceans, teeming with microorganisms. In that time, the Earth underwent massive geological changes, somehow serendipitously creating conditio... Read More

Virology question of the week

On the science show This Week in Virology we receive many questions and comments, which are read every week. I also get many questions here on virology blog, which I tend to answer by email. However I think that everyone could benefit from these questions, so I’ve decided to post one here each w... Read More

Raw Oysters Spike U.S. Rise in Bacterial Infections

Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

Infections with vibrio, a saltwater-based bacteria that can pool in shellfish, jumped 75 percent last year from 2006-2008, the U.S. Cent... Read More

Nanocrystalline cellulose modified into an efficient viral inhibitor

Researchers have succeeded in creating a surface on nano-sized cellulose crystals that imitates a biological structure. The surface adsorbs viruses and disables them. The results can prove useful in the development of antiviral ointments and surfaces, for instance.

There are many viral diseas... Read More

Structural insights into inner workings of viral nanomachine

Researchers are using new nanoscale imaging approaches to shed light on the dynamic activities of rotaviruses, important pathogens that cause life-threatening diarrhea in young children. Once a rotavirus enters a host cell, it sheds its outermost protein layer, leaving behind a double-layered pa... Read More

Book Review: 'The Amoeba in the Room' by Nicholas P. Money & 'Missing Microbes' by Martin J. Blaser

From the WSJ:

In 2004, the rebel geneticist Craig Venter took a sailing trip to Bermuda and, unable to resist doing a little research on the side, hauled up 50 gallons of the Sargasso Sea and began trawling it for DNA. It looked for all the world like cold, sterile saltwater, but Mr. Venter h... Read More

Fighting bacteria with weapons from fungi

In order to survive, organisms produce small molecules known as ‘primary metabolites’ which help it to grow, develop and reproduce. Examples include nucleic acid used to make DNA, amino acids to make proteins, and simple sugars. Once the organism is established it will often start to produce ‘se... Read More

Researchers find way to reduce E. coli in cows, improving food safety

A new biological treatment could help dairy cattle stave off uterine diseases and eventually may help improve food safety for humans, a University of Florida study shows.

Kwang Cheol Jeong, an assistant professor in animal sciences and UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, examined cattle uterin... Read More

Former Research Students and Their Success Stories, Part I!

As an educator and researcher at a small liberal arts institution, my success is measured (to me) in watching former students from my classroom and laboratory go on to do great things after graduation. Here, I share some great information about (and by) a former student of mine, Franny Gilman, ... Read More

Some immune cells defend only one organ

Scientists have uncovered a new way the immune system may fight cancers and viral infections. The finding could aid efforts to use immune cells to treat illness. The research, in mice, suggests that some organs have the immunological equivalent of “neighborhood police” – specialized squads of de... Read More

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