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One microbial pathogen 'disguised' as another leads to misdiagnoses

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s likely a duck – so goes the saying that illustrates the simplest explanation is usually the right one. But what about duck decoys used in conjunction with bird calls? Misidentification can be a deadly error – and the same goes for microbes. Mi... Read More

TWiV 412: WO, open the borders and rig the infection

The TWiVome reveal the first eukaryotic genes found in a bacteriophage of Wolbachia, and how DNA tumor virus oncogenes antagonize sensing of cytoplasmic DNA by the cell.


Hosts: Vincent Ra... Read More

Student Thoughts On The First Day of Microbiology Class

I teach Microbiology at the University of Puget Sound every fall semester. The swiftly changing field of microbiology has depth and breath...and I was interested to learn what my students thought of the topic at the beginning of the first day of class. We will revisit this subject at the end o... Read More

Moving beyond metagenomics to find the next pandemic virus

I was asked to write a commentary for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to accompany an article entitled SARS-like WIV1-CoV poised for human emergence. I’d like to explain why I wrote it and why I spent the last five paragraphs railing against regulating gain-of-function experi... Read More

Getting closer to understanding Zika virus, one genome at a time

Several papers published in Genome Announcements recently describe the sequences of new Zika virus isolates. Scientists have known the genomic sequence of at least one Zika virus isolate since 2007, but continue to publish newly isolated strains. What is the importance of these additional sequen... Read More

TWiV 421: Like flies on shot

The TWiVnauts present another example of an infectious but replication incompetent vaccine, an insect specific arborvirus bearing chikungunya virus structural proteins.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello,&n... Read More

Tracking Bacterial Imbalance in the ICU

The human microbiome is the diverse population of microorganisms that live on and in the body. Many thrive on the skin and in the mouth, but the majority live in the intestines. Over the last decade or so, microbiologists have become increasingly aware of how a person's microbial mix likely play... Read More

Antibiotic stewardship - a community effort

As we highlighted in our previous blog, antibiotic stewardship – the careful use of appropriate antibiotic administration – can have positive effects. A small change from a difference in clinical lab reporting led to less drug use, which led to fewer drug-resistant infections. When we think of a... Read More

Zika Sharing

Of all the scientific results that my laboratory has produced over the years, I am most satisfied by those that maximally benefit the field. In this category falls the assay for determining the titer of Zika virus in plaque forming units per milliliter.

In ‘Counting Zika Virus’ I described o... Read More

You don't win friends with (precut) salad

Given that the holidays are right around the corner, many of us will be trying to eat healthy outside of celebratory meals, and that includes turning to salad as a healthy meal option. Salads do provide fresh nutrients, but new research in Applied and Environmental Microbiology suggests pre-cut ... Read More

TWiM #141: Nutritional immunity and polymicrobial infections

Jennifer joins Vincent, Elio, and Michael to talk about the work of her laboratory on how a respiratory virus enhances bacterial growth by dysregulating nutritional immunity.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, ... Read More

Microbial Identification and Tracking: the Next Generation

How do you identify an unknown microbe? If you’ve taken an introductory microbiology lab course in the past twenty years, chances are you were assigned an unknown bacterium that you had to identify through differential media and biochemical assays. Newer techniques like qPCR are being standardiz... Read More

Environmental disturbances decrease the variability of microbial populations

A central pursuit of microbial ecology is to accurately model changes in microbial community composition in response to environmental factors. This goal requires a thorough understanding of the drivers of variability in microbial populations. However, most microbial ecology studies focus on the ... Read More

Targeting the gut microbiome to fight heart disease

Is the way to treat heart disease through a person's stomach? According to a new study, the answer is yes. Researchers have found that a compound found in red wine, resveratrol, reduces the risk of heart disease by changing the gut microbiome.

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause ... Read More

My first year at the wheel: reflections on ASM

Perhaps with more enthusiasm than originality, I feel compelled at the end of the year to look back on what has happened in my life. The compulsion is even stronger this December, since the end of the calendar year coincides with my first year at the helm of ASM as its CEO.

When I joined AS... Read More

The classic and current studies of bacterial endospore morphology

Recently, one of the Journal of Bacteriology Classic Spotlight series highlighted the numerous studies on bacterial spores that have been published in the journal throughout the years. Bacterial endospores, the resilient and relatively quiescent bacterial structures first identified in the 1800s... Read More

¿Is it possible to teach microbiology with Twitter?

Here, we present the results of our pioneering experience teaching a full Basic Microbiology course via Twitter (#microMOOCSEM), consisting of 28 lessons of 40-45 minutes duration each, at a tweet per minute rate during 10 weeks. Read More

Communicating your science via social media

ASM aims to promote and advance the microbial sciences in a myriad of ways. In addition to promoting scientific education and discoveries, we also hope to engage the public with the diverse world of microbes! Last year, we held our first Agar Art contest, to highlight the often-overlooked beauty... Read More

Stilton Cheese, Alexis de Toqueville, and turning ASM into the Tesla of Scientific Societies

“Stefano, you seem like a smart person. Can I ask you why you decided to take a job with a scientific society?” I had just helped myself to a slice of a very sharp Stilton cheese, after a wonderful dinner supported by wonderful wine. All of a sudden the Stilton seemed even sharper. The question ... Read More

Microbiology Myths Debunked: Scientific Analysis of the Five Second Rule

While walking through your house, you drop a granola bar you were eating. Quick – do you pick it up and eat it? Is the ground too dirty to eat from? Does the amount of time the food sits on the ground matter? Will more microbes gather onto the snack as you decide whether or not to continue noshi... Read More
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