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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.
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.
In this episode of MicrobeWorld Video we visit the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., for the opening of "An Iconography of Contagion," an art exhibition featuring more than 20 public health posters from the 1920s to the 1990s. Covering infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, gonorrhea, and syphilis, the posters come from North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
In the final episode of this 3 part video series on how to optimize antibiotic use and how to minimize the emergence of drug resistant pathogens, Dr. Linda Tollefson, Assistant Commissioner for Science at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, goes in depth on the use of antimicrobial drugs in agriculture, their efficacy, and adverse human health consequences. Dr. Stuart Levy, professor of Molecular Biology and Microbiology at Tufts University School of Medicine, discusses policy, regulatory and funding issues around antibiotic resistance. Both Dr. Tollefson and Dr. Levy take a handful of questions from the audience.