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UA Study on Flu Evolution May Change Textbooks, History Books

A new study published in the journal Nature provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the evolutionary relationships of influenza virus across different host species over time. In addition to dissecting how the virus evolves at different rates in different host species, the study chall... Read More

Liquid soap in public toilets may be covering you in bacteria

Liquid hand soap in many public toilets is doing the opposite of improving hygiene, CCTV reports.

One sample was found to have 600 times more than the standard amount of bacteria, bringing it up to fast food ice levels of grossness. Experts warned that use of the soap could result in skin irr... Read More

Bacterial food web may be key to cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis patients suffer from chronic bacterial infections and thick mucous in their lungs, due largely to a combination of microbial infections and resulting inflammation. A common pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can lay dormant in healthy individuals, becomes virulent in the lun... Read More

BacterioFiles 165 - Bacillus Biofilms Balk Bilks

This episode: Interview with Jordi van Gestel: cheaters in bacterial communities don't always succeed!


(13.1 MB, 14.25 minutes)


Read More

Rare bacteria outbreak in cancer clinic tied to lapse in infection control procedure

Improper handling of intravenous saline at a West Virginia outpatient oncology clinic was linked with the first reported outbreak of Tsukamurella spp., gram-positive bacteria that rarely cause disease in humans, in a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The repor... Read More

TWiV 285: Hokies go viral

Vincent meets up with XJ Meng and Sarah McDonald at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg to talk about their work on viruses of swine and rotaviruses.


Host: Vincent Racaniello


Guests: Read More

Small microbes almost killed all life on Earth, study suggests

Tiny microbes on the bottom of the ocean floor may have been responsible for the largest extinction event our planet has ever seen, according to a new study.

These microbes of death were so small, that 1 billion of them could fit in a thimble-full of ocean sediment, and yet, they were almost... Read More

USDA reviews whether bacteria-killing chemicals are masking salmonella

The Agriculture Department is reviewing research showing that new bacteria-killing chemicals used in chicken slaughterhouses may be masking the presence of salmonella and other pathogens that remain on the birds that consumers buy, according to records and interviews.

Academic researchers agr... Read More

In Search of the Perfect Gut Microbiome with a Tribe of Tanzanian Hunter-Gatherers

It might sound strange to say that humans have forgotten what human-food is, but many scientists believe this is the case. For thousands of years, the environment in which humans lived evolved at a glacial pace—our nutrition and culture changed slowly, and our bodies adapted to it at a matching ... Read More

A retrovirus makes chicken eggshells blue

When you purchase chicken eggs at the market, they usually have white or brown shells. But some breeds of chicken produce blue or green eggs. The blue color is caused by insertion of a retrovirus into the chicken genome, which activates a gene involved in the production of blue eggs. Read More

Ebola’s ‘Fist’: U.Va. Unlocks How Deadly Virus Smashes Into Human Cells

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have discovered how the deadly Ebola virus punches its way into the cytoplasm of cells. The finding identifies an important target for blocking the infection process of this incurable disease that many fear may be used for bioterror.
... Read More

Secrets of the Giant, Ancient, Frozen, Killer Virus

It all started with a tiny chunk of dirt. The sample of 30,000-year-old permafrost, a frozen layer of soil from the Siberian tundra, weighed just a fraction of an ounce. But, as TIME reported on Tuesday, that scrap was carrying within it a surprise worthy of a pulp comic book: a gargantuan virus... Read More

How Bacteria in Placenta Could Help Shape Human Health

The placenta is full of microbes, a new study finds, raising questions about how that ecosystem and mothers' oral health influence the risk of pre-term birth.

Even before a baby is born a microbial ecosystem takes up residence in the placenta, creating a microbiome that may help shape the new... Read More

Light zaps viruses: How photosensitization can stop viruses from infecting cells

A UCLA-led team of researchers has found evidence that photosensitizing a virus's membrane covering can inhibit its ability to enter cells and potentially lead to the development of stronger, cheaper medications to fight a host of tough viruses.

The UCLA AIDS Institute study, published in th... Read More

TWiV 267: Snow in the headlights



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Alan Dove, Read More

BacterioFiles 173 - Illuminated Invader Inhibits Irritation

This episode: Virus helps to modify mice such that certain colors of light can cause or prevent pain!


(10 MB, 10.8 minutes)


Show notes: 
Jour... Read More

'Paleo Ale' Brewed From Yeast Found On A 40-Million-Year-Old Whale Fossil

A Virginia brewer soon plans to serve a beer made from yeast found hanging out on a 40-million-year-old whale fossil, the blog Symbiartic reports. Depending on your disposition, I imagine you're reacting in one of two ways right now, "Yecchh!" or "Cool!" The beer will be called Bone Dusters Pale... Read More

Frontline Investigates the Rise of Deadly, Drug-Resistant Bacteria that Modern Antibiotics Can’t Stop - Press Release

FRONTLINE Presents
Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria
Tuesday, October 22, 2013, at 10 p.m. on PBS

Addie Rerecich was a happy 11-year-old girl who loved sports and talked a mile a minute. But when a mysterious pain in her hip landed her in the hospital in 2011, she began a downward spiral into ... Read More

TWiM 73 Letters

Mark writes:


Hello Team TWiM,


I’ve followed with interest your coverage of Michael’s research into use of copper to fight hospital infection. Of all the interesting papers covered in 2013, I think the one most actionable is episode 55, The Copper Room. His res... Read More

The Energizer Bacterium

Many bacteria have a trick for surviving a water shortage: They dry up like raisins and turn into spores, protecting their essential genetic code. But moisten a spore and it swells right up again.

Those capabilities give bacterial spores some interesting potential as an energy source, as scie... Read More

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