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A video podcast by the American Society for Microbiology that highlights the latest in microbiology, life science, and related topics. ASM is composed of over 42,000 scientists and health professionals with the mission to advance the microbial sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide. Click here for more information about ASM.
From the flu to HIV, RNA viruses challenge our immune systems like no other infectious agent on the planet. RNA viruses provide unique insights into the patterns and processes of evolutionary change in real time. The study of viral evolution is especially topical given the growing awareness that emerging and re-emerging diseases (most of which are caused by RNA viruses) represent a major threat to public health. How do RNA viruses adapt and change, and how do our bodies respond? Why are diseases like HIV so difficult to predict and contain?
In episode 35 of MicrobeWorld Video, Eddie Holmes, professor in Biology at Pennsylvania State University leads a discussion before a live audience at Busboys & Poets in Washington, D.C. on the genetics and evolution of RNA viruses and how we can combat them.
The Dish was created by the Marian Koshland Science Museum and is made possible by a Science Education Partnership (SEPA) grant from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the National Institutes of Health. This program was held in collaboration with the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Mobile health or mHealth is part of a movement towards citizen-centered health services delivered through cellular technologies. Mobile phones in particular are becoming a first line of defense against emerging infectious diseases by keeping healthcare practitioners and the public informed about outbreaks. For individuals mHealth technologies can provide real-time monitoring of vital signs and even deliver treatment services in the form of risk assessments, medication regimens and doctor appointment reminders. In addition, this new technology also has the potential to supply researchers and public health officials with up-to-date community and clinical health data.
In episode 34 of MicrobeWorld Video, we talk with William Warshauer about the work he's doing with Voxiva, a company that specializes in interactive mobile health information services. By leveraging the web, email, text messaging, interactive voice response systems and smart phone apps, he hopes to stay one step ahead of infectious disease outbreaks wherever they may occur.
We also speak with Amy Sonricker from Healthmap.org about their unique web interface and iPhone application that allows for real-time viewing and reporting of disease-related events around the globe.
This episode of MicrobeWorld Video was filmed in October 2009 at the Marian Koshland Science Museum in Washington, D.C., at one of their frequent events for the public.
For more information about the Koshland Museum, upcoming events and online resources visit them online at www.koshland-science.org.
Whether you are making lunch for work, school or a summer picnic, knowing what food to pack and how to prepare it can be the difference between enjoying your day or going home sick. From recent peanut butter and pistachio nut recalls to E. coli outbreaks associated with hamburger patties, people are increasingly concerned about the safety of the food they eat. Many illnesses can be prevented with proper food preparation and a clean kitchen.
Animal, human and environmental health are inexorably intertwined. Diseases are making the jump from animals to humans and vice-versa at an increasing pace. The emergence of animal borne diseases such as Avian flu, Ebola, and most recently H1N1 (swine flu), demonstrate the need for an integrated strategy across several scientific, medical and environmental fields for improved public health.
Bacteria communicate with chemical languages that allow them to synchronize their behavior and thereby act as multi-cellular organisms. This process, called quorum sensing, enables bacteria to do things they can’t do as a single cell, like successfully infect and cause disease in humans.
Bonnie Bassler, Ph.D., the Squibb Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University and President-elect for the American Society for Microbiology, has been researching strategies that can interfere with quorum sensing and will hopefully yield novel antibiotics to prevent disease.
In this episode of MicrobeWorld Video we present the full presentation Dr. Bassler gave at the Marian Koshland Science Museum in Washington, D.C. on June 18, 2009. Not only does Dr. Bassler explain the mechanisms of bacterial communication, but she also puts forth her theories on how we can disrupt this communication for human benefit.
Video/Audio Running Time 1 hour 14 minutes and 22 seconds
Puerto Rico is widely known as the "La Isla del Encanto," which translated means "The Island of Enchantment." And while its beaches, tropical rain forest, and biolumescent bays are wonders of nature, the island is not without its problems. From energy needs to economics, Puerto Rico shares many issues facing the rest of the world.
In this MicrobeWorld Video episode we talk with Nadathur S. Govind, Ph.D., Professor, Marine Sciences Department at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, and William Rosado, Marine Sciences Department at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, about the sustainable biofuel program they are launching in southwestern Puerto Rico.
According to Govind, the island's successful sugarcane industry died in the 1990's. In fact, local rum manufacturers now import their molasses from as far away as Malaysia. As a result, approximately 70 percent of the population in southwestern Puerto Rico is on welfare.
Govind believes he can rebuild the local economy by harnessing bacterial enzymes extracted from the guts of termites and shipworms (mollusks) found in the mangroves off the coast to break down the lignocellulose in sugarcane and hibiscus. The idea is that if he can bring agricultural production back to his community, he can use the crop waste to produce ethanol to supplement Puerto Rico's demand for fuel. And since the byproduct of ethanol is carbon dioxide, he also plans to use algae to capture the gas and produce biodiesel. The waste that he has left over can then be returned to the soil as fertilizer or given to livestock as feed, completing the cycle.
For more information about Govind's program please read the article, "Combining Agriculture with Microbial Genomics to Make Fuels," found in the American Society for Microbiology's Microbe magazine.
Alternate File Types
MicrobeWorld Video presents episode 33 of This Week in Virology. Hosts Vincent Racaniello, Alan Dove, Dick Despommier and guest Raul Andino recorded TWiV live at the ASM General Meeting in Philadelphia, where they discussed increased arterial blood pressure caused by cytomegalovirus infection, restriction of influenza replication at low temperature by the avian viral glycoproteins, first isolation of West Nile virus in Pennsylvania, and current status of influenza.
Links for this episode:
Cytomegalovirus infection causes an increase of arterial blood pressure
Avian influenza virus glycoproteins restrict virus replication at low temperature
First West Nile virus isolation of the year in PA
CDC press release of 18 May 2009
Glaxo’s influenza vaccine with adjuvant
NY Times article on Guillain-Barré and a more scientific view
Weekly Science Picks
Dick - National Museum of the History of Science and Medicine, Leiden
Alan - Beginning Mac OS X Programming
Vincent - Vaccinated by Paul Offit
Raul - HubbleSite
Please send your virology questions and comments to twiv [at] twiv [dot] tv. To listen, click the play button next to the title of this entry. You can subscribe for free to TWIV via iTunes, through the RSS feed with a podcast aggregator or feed reader, or by email.
Thanks to Chris Condayan and ASM for making TWiV live possible. Recorded by Chris Condayan and Ray Ortega.
TWiV #33 (Audio Only) (51 MB .mp3, 74 minutes)
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Fine cheeses are like fine wines. Producing and aging them properly is both an art and a science. From cave-aging to the use of raw milk, watch Dr. Catherine Donnelly, Co-director of the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheeses, describe the microbial world of cheese.
Parents are often presented with conflicting messages about germs and cleanliness. On the one hand, the news headlines warn us about dangerous "superbugs." On the other hand, there is growing concern that over-cleaning and excessive hygiene may weaken children's immune systems. Fortunately, there is real, vetted science available to help us understand how to best protect, without overprotecting, our kids.