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The Zika Effect

Having worked on viruses for over 40 years, I know a fair number of people in the field, and I am amazed at how many of them have started to work on Zika virus. What exactly is attracting virologists to this emerging virus?

There are probably many reasons why Zika virus would be of interest t... Read More

BacterioFiles 272 - Parasite Prevents Pollution Poisoning

This episode: Worm parasites infecting brine shrimp help them survive better in arsenic-polluted environments!


(7.9 MB, 8.6 minutes)


Show notes: 
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Tuberculosis virulence factor identified, may be target for new drug

Scientists have discovered the mechanism that hijacks the immune system's response to tuberculosis, revealing an important new drug target for the disease that kills more than 1 million people each year.

Herman Sintim, Purdue University's Drug Discovery Professor of Chemistry, collaborated wi... Read More

We Know You Want To, but You Really Shouldn't Be Kissing Your Pet on the Mouth

If you live with pets, you know where their tongue has been, yet you let them kiss and lick you all they want without even thinking twice about it. I've heard people say that a dog's mouth is very clean, and that their saliva, delivered by licking, can help heal wounds, but is that really true?
... Read More

New tools to detect new virus

In fall 2015, a new human hepegivirus (HHpgV-1) was identified by using a novel, high throughput sequencing technique. Concerns were raised that this virus was found in blood to be used for transfusions, potentially passing on the infection. But without tools to test for its presence, there was ... Read More

Regular dental visits may help prevent pneumonia, study shows

That twice-yearly trip to the dentist could do more than keep teeth and gums healthy: It may decrease the risk of pneumonia by reducing bacteria in the mouth, suggests research being presented at IDWeek 2016™.

Bacteria that commonly cause pneumonia include streptococcus, haemophilus, staphylo... Read More

Potential pathway for emergence of zoonotic malaria identified

Boston, MA - The parasite responsible for a form of malaria now spreading from macaques to humans in South Asia could evolve to infect humans more efficiently, a step towards enhanced transmission between humans, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The resear... Read More

TWiM 147 Letters

Kala writes:


Dear Micro Crew,


Hello from frozen Ireland, it's 5 degrees Celsius but feels like -2, cloudy and generally miserable haha


I was wondering if you could give me some advice as I am stuck between a micr... Read More

Cause of Maryland Food Poisoning Outbreak Traced to Asia

Washington, DC – April 6, 2016 – Vibrio parahaemolyticus caused an outbreak of food poisoning in Maryland in 2010. The pathogen strain sequenced from patients proved to be the same strain as one of those found in raw oysters from local restaurants, strong evidence that the oysters were the sourc... Read More

CRISPR screening identifies potential HIV treatment targets

Investigators from the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have used the revolutionary new gene-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9 to identify three promising new targets for treatment of HIV infection. In their report receiving advance online publicati... Read More

TWiV 430: The persistence of herpesvirus

The TWiX cabal discuss sexual transmission of Zika virus in mice, and how immune escape enables herpes simplex virus escape from latency.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello Read More

Scientists learn how to ramp up microbes' ability to make memories

Some microbes can form memories—although, inconveniently for scientists who study the process, they don’t do it very often.

Rockefeller University researchers and their colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, have found a way to make bacteria encode memories much more frequently... Read More

First chikungunya vaccine from virus that does not affect people

Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have developed the first vaccine for chikungunya fever made from an insect-specific virus that doesn’t have any effect on people, making the vaccine safe and effective. The newly developed vaccine quickly produces a strong immu... Read More

A Citizen Microbiology project on the Built Environment

There is a growing popular and policy interest in the microbiome, and the possibilities of more nuanced or ‘probiotic’ ways of living with germs. To date however there has been limited public engagement with the science and technology of metagenomics. The project engages with the growing scienti... Read More

New Model Sheds Light on Secondary Bacterial Pneumonia

Washington, DC – August 9, 2016 – For years, researchers have known that the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) can trigger severe, sometimes deadly secondary bacterial pneumonia, in some people who are subsequently infected with influenza A virus, but scientists have not known exactly h... Read More

Feed a cold, starve a fever? Not so fast, according to Salk research

The last time you had a stomach bug, you probably didn’t feel much like eating. This loss of appetite is part of your body’s normal response to an illness but is not well understood. Sometimes eating less during illness promotes a faster recovery, but other times—such as when cancer patients exp... Read More

How lack of oxygen makes bacteria cause acne and how to stop it

It’s like Jekyll and Hyde. One moment bacteria on the skin are harmless, the next they are causing a full-on spotty break out. Now researchers have discovered exactly why this happens – a breakthrough that could yield new acne treatments, possibly in two years.

Richard Gallo of the University... Read More

Vaccinations are more effective when administered in the morning

New research from the University of Birmingham has shown that flu vaccinations are more effective when administered in the morning. Read More

Does the hologenome address the whole picture?

How do we define the genetic makeup of an individual? Is it the genetic material found in each cell of that individual (that’s not entirely accurate; mutations and recombinatorial differences can lead to multiple genomes in one individual). And what about the genes carried by our microbiome? The... Read More

ASM hosts Wikipedia Edit-a-thon as part of the Year of Science

“Wikipedia is the first place people go for information about science – and everything else,” says John Tracey, Research Assistant in Education & Outreach at the Simons Foundation. The Simons Foundation has teamed up with Google to sponsor the Wikipedia Year of Science 2016, an initiative to inc... Read More
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