Clostridium difficile is a dangerous superbug. Infections with this bacterium can cause life-threatening diarrhea, and they are most likely to affect the elderly or people with health problems who spend a lot of time in hospitals (where C. difficile flourishes). The Centers for Disease Control a... Read More
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
Virus Watch is a new weekly video series that explores the amazing world of viruses. This week: the latest research on Zika virus, including finding virus in Brazilian monkeys, dengue antibodies helping Zika virus infection, and brain organoids to study how Zika virus causes microcephaly. Read More
Imagine taking an ocean-side vacation, with the sun, sand, and water lulling you to relaxed bliss. After day at the beach, you experience an intense bout of stomach cramps and – more delicately put – GI distress. A rare day off is ruined because of a bug you picked up. Next, imagine a situation ... Read More
In this blog post, I describe how I had students create their own cartoon depicting microbiological ideas and concepts that most tickled their fancy. I did this on their final exam, and the students came up with really interesting and entertaining ideas. IT's always interesting to see what stu... Read More
Can Zika virus be sexually transmitted? Perhaps in very rare cases, but the main mode of transmission is certainly via mosquitoes. That’s why I’ve shamelessly stolen a quote on this topic from Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University: Mosquito transmission is the highway, whereas sexual tr... Read More
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
In four months, 155 countries will together switch from using trivalent to bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine. Will this change lead to more cases of poliomyelitis? Read More
How critical illness alters the microbiome, and the consequences of a sewage spill into an aquatic environment, from the TWiM team.
Feeling a bit under the weather? There’s a decent chance you’re suffering from an infection with an enterovirus. Enteroviruses are a commonly encountered virus, especially in the summer and fall. They can cause a variety of symptoms, from cold-like symptoms such as runny nose or fever to more se... Read More
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
The TWiXers discuss a study on vertical transmission of Zika virus by Aedes mosquitoes, and uncovering Earth's virome by mining existing metagenomic sequence data.
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
Polio returns to Nigeria, Zika virus spreads in Miami, and virus infection of plants attracts bumblebees for pollination, from the virus gentlepeople at TWiV.
Near Kisameet Bay on the central coast of British Columbia sits a deposit of clay that covers 5 acres and spans a depth up to 42 feet in places. This vast smear formed 10,000 years ago as glacial melt filled a granite basin and fine minerals silted out.
The ancient clay likely holds secrets t... Read More
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
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
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
A benefit of the voluminous wealth of research produced is that it allows us to stand on the shoulders of giants – we can take advantage of established facts, tools, and datasets. This may mean using a mutant library to find genes in your organism that are important for the process you study; ac... Read More
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