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Retroviruses R us

About eight percent of human DNA is viral – remnants of ancestral infections with retroviruses. These endogenous retroviral sequences do not produce infectious viruses, and most are considered to be junk DNA. But some of them provide important functions. The protein called syncytin, which is ess... Read More

Top chefs, artisanal food producers, and microbiologists join forces to explore new tastes and textures

Chefs from top-notch restaurants are reaching out to microbiologists, seeking advice that goes beyond traditional food safety or conventional food-processing concerns. With or without professional scientific advice, some chefs and food producers are doing their own microbiological experiments, s... Read More

The neuraminidase of influenza virus

The influenza virus particle is made up of the viral RNA genome wrapped in a lipid membrane (illustrated). The membrane, or envelope, contains three different kinds of viral proteins. The hemagglutinin molecule (HA, blue) attaches to cell receptors and initiates the process of virus entry into c... Read More

Chemistry: A festive ferment

Rare is the holiday meal that does not owe many of its pleasures to invisible cooks with tongue-twisting names. Do you enjoy charcuterie and pickles? Bread with cultured butter? A drizzle of vinaigrette on this or that? A bit of cheese? Some chocolates? Wine, beer or cider? Then raise a glass to... Read More

Bacteriophage T4 (video)

This is an accurate visualization of the Bacteriophage T4 based on Cryo-EM datasets of the virus. The scope of the animation is to show the infection process of the T4 into an E. coli cell. All scientific data sets and motion based off of research from Michael Rossmann Laboratory (Purdue Univers... Read More

Under the Microscope and the new science blog network by PopSci

Popular Science has just launched a new science blogging network with 13 blogs. Among them are two that have a focus on microbiology, Under the Microscope by JA Tetro and Our Modern Plague by Brooke Borel. Each blog has an inaugural post that outlines the author's vision for future subject matte... Read More

TWiV 298: MV-NIS de myelo

The TWiV gang answers follow-up questions about the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, then discuss treatment of  disseminated multiple myeloma with oncolytic measles virus.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello... Read More

De-discovering pathogens: Viral contamination strikes again

Do you remember the retrovirus XMRV, initially implicated as the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, and later shown to be a murine virus that contaminated human cells grown in mice? Another virus thought to be associated with human disease has recently been shown to be a contaminant, derived fro... Read More

TWiP 75 letters


David writes (re lice and iron):


All I remember that I know is that one time I let my cat endure a heavy flea infestation for an unconscionably long time. I redeemed myself, if at all, by the knowledge that I slept with her a lot, and so endured a share myself (b... Read More

TWiP 76 letters


Daniel writes:


Dear Vincent and Dickson,


I just returned from the annual meeting of the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) where I enjoyed many fantastic lectures and caught more Cutthroat Trout fly fishing the upper Snake River during one ev... Read More

BacterioFiles 175 - Bacteria Build Better Biofilms

This episode: Engineered bacteria can be made to produce many different useful kinds of biofilm!


(10.5 MB, 11.5 minutes)


Show notes: 
News item 1/ Read More

Bat SARS-like coronavirus that infects human cells

The SARS pandemic of 2002-2003 is believed to have been caused by a bat coronavirus (CoV) that first infected a civet and then was passed on to humans. The isolation of a new SARS-like coronavirus from bats suggests that the virus could have directly infected humans. Read More

ASM GM 2014 - The Next Emerging Threat

Over the past few decades there appears to have been a never-ending stream of emerging diseases from AIDS to SARS and now MERS. Predictions are that global warming will bring... Read More

Interview with Dr. Amy Apprill

Amy Apprill is a researcher of Marine Microbiology. Her work focuses on the relation of Bacteria and Archaea to the health and ecology of marine animals. Her interest is on how animal associated microbes reflect the alterations in the surrounding marine environment that may be related to climate... Read More

BacterioFiles Micro Edition 155 - Cells Save Superannuated Sequences

This episode: Bacteria are able to incorporate DNA from the environment into their genomes, even if it's thousands of years old!


(9.6 MB, 10.5 minutes)


Show notes: 
Read More

Happy Birthday to a Microbial Hero™---Moselio Schaechter!

Until we have "action figures" of scientists, I do what I can to recognize scientists that have had a large and lasting influence on my academic career. In this blog post, I praise Dr. Moselio Schaechter for his clear and insightful approaches to microbiology. His enthusiasm, breadth of interes... Read More

How naked is naked? Scales of the Gymnamoeba (naked amoeba) show remarkable details!

In memory of Eugéne Penard (1855-1954) we have created a website to show the variety and beauty of amoeboid organisms in light- and electron-microscopic images. Read More

Let's declare WAAAR to antimicrobial resistance

We must change how antibiotics are used and adopt proactive strategies, similar to those used to save endangered species. Preservation of the efficacy of antibiotics and to stabilization of antibiotic-susceptible bacterial ecosystems should be global goals.

We urge all of you to participate i... Read More

Interview of Dr. Sikandar K Sherwani, Chairman of MAP

Mr. Sikandar K Sherwani, chairman of Microbiology Association of Pakistan (MAP).
He is a Lecturer of Microbiology (Sp. Immunology & Infectious Diseases) at the Department of Microbiology in Federal Urdu University for Arts, Science & Technology (FUUAST). He is also a research scholar at Immunol... Read More

Human Microbiome Report & Infographic

The human microbiome, the collection of trillions of microbes living in and on the human body, is not random, and scientists believe that it plays a role in many basic life processes. As science continues to explore and better understand the role of the human microbiome. A new report from the Am... Read More

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