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MTS28 - Joseph DeRisi - New Tech Approaches to Infectious Disease

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Grow Your Own Oyster Mushrooms Classroom Experiment

The UK's National Center for Biology Eduction has an interesting experiment involving toilet paper, hot water and oyster mushroom starter culture.

"Gastronomes will no doubt be aware of the presence of an increasing range of exotic mushrooms on the supermarket shelves. In the Far East, oyster... Read More

Microbiology Dilution Series Demonstration

Here's a nice demonstration video by Dr. Conor O'Bryne from the Dept. of Microbiology at National University of Ireland, Galway, showing how to perform a serial dilution on a liquid food sample (in this case raw unpasteurised milk). The raw milk sample is diluted down to 1/1000 in a sterile dil... Read More

Bashing Botulism: Scientists Sleuth World’s Most Powerful Toxins

The May Issue of Agricultural Research published by the USDA-ARS contains several stories about microbes involved in everything from anthrax to zoonoses—diseases that can spread from animals to people.

One story that I found interesting is on the research being done to faster identify and de... Read More

Of Terms in Biology: Metabolomics and Metabonomics

What is metabolomics? Oh, that's easy. It's the study of the metabolome. Very good. Now, what is the metabolome?

* the collection of all metabolites in a biological organism, which are the end products of its gene expression. (Source)
* the complete set of small-molecule metabolites ... Read More

Complex Microbial Community Structure in Adult Cystic Fibrosis Airways as Revealed by 16S rRNA PhyloChip

This poster, presented at the 109th ASM general meeting demonstrates the relationship between clinical measures of cystic fibrosis, a common and serious genetic disease, with the microbial ecology of bacteria that colonise the airways of these patients. The technique used to characterise the mi... Read More

Laurie Garrett: What can we learn from the 1918 flu?

In 2007, as the world worried about a possible avian flu epidemic, Laurie Garrett, author of "The Coming Plague," gave this powerful TED talk to a University audience. Her insights from past pandemics are may be more relevant than ever today as we strive to understand the potential threat from s... Read More

MTS27 - Melanie Cushion - Pneumocystis carinii

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Melanie Cushion holds down two jobs: she’s a research career scientist at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and she’s also professor and associate chair for rese... Read More

Addressing Biosecurity Concerns Related to the Synthesis of Select Agents

DNA synthesis technology, in combination with other rapidly-evolving capabilities in the life sciences, such as directed molecular evolution and viral reverse genetics, has galvanized segments of the scientific community.1 It also has captured the attention of the general public and policymaker... Read More

Pandemic Potential of a Strain of Influenza A (H1N1) : Early Findings

The authors analyze the influenza outbreak in Mexico, and make an early assessment of transmissibility and severity. Read More

ASM Launches new Laboratory Capacity Building Program Website

In resource-limited countries, a lack of training, proper reagents, supplies, and equipment has impacted their laboratories' ability to identify key pathogenic bacteria and detection of antimicrobial resistance. This has led to an environment of syndromic diagnosis by clinicians who have little ... Read More

Rating Pandemics: Tweaking the WHO Scale for Next Time…

The title pretty much sums up the main thrust of the post, which also includes section on cheap, rapid diagnostic tests that not only can identify known pathogens, but provide quite a bit of information about novel pathogens (link to a great Pop!Tech video lecture by Ian LIpkin). There's also a ... Read More

Digital Disease Detection — Harnessing the Web for Public Health Surveillance

Wow, the NEJM is really knocking out some great "perspectives" in their most recent issue.

The Internet has become a critical medium for clinicians, public health practitioners, and laypeople seeking health information. Data about diseases and outbreaks are disseminated not only through onli... Read More

MTS26 - Ian Orme - Tuberculosis

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Interesting Rhinovirus Study + Bonus Chicken Soup Recipe

This 2000 paper, published in Chest, shows that chicken soup is capable of inhibiting neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro, thus providing some evidence for the soup's traditional role as a home cure for respiratory infections.

Helpfully, the soup recipe used in the study is also included. And it ... Read More

Conserved amino acid markers from past influenza pandemic strains

A recent paper published on Biomedcenteral by Jonathan E Allen , Shea N Gardner , Elizabeth A Vitalis, and Tom R Slezak discovers that new genetic markers for human host-specificity and high lethality in influenza viruses were identified by considering combinations of amino acids conserved amon... Read More

CDC offers handwashing flyer for distribution

The link in the source field above will download the CDC's handwashing flyer which they just pushed out for public distribution in response to concerns about H1N1 (Swine Flu). Read More

10 Genes, Furiously Evolving

This is a great article by Carl Zimmer in the NY Times (@carlzimmer on Twitter) about the evolution process of viruses.

"Some viruses use DNA, like we do, to encode their genes. Others, like the influenza virus, use single-strand RNA. But viruses all have one thing in common, said Roland Wolk... Read More

Help Spread the Flu (and learn about viruses at the same time)

The Welcome Trust has funded an interactive Flash game that can be played on the web that teaches young people how the flu is spread. You start off as a flu virus and the goal is to infect others. Along the way, you get educational information about viruses. Here are some of the instructions: Y... Read More

Bonnie Bassler on the secret, social lives of bacteria

This recent talk at TED by Bonnie Bassler on bacterial communication (aka quorum sensing) was a viral hit among the science geeks on Twitter. It is a very educational and well thought out presentation that is great for personal viewing or showing in the classroom. It's a must watch! Read More

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