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Streptococcus pyogenes

Throat swab of (5) years old child from emergency department for culture and sensitivity clinical summary scarlet fever.

Streptococcus pyogenes, or Group A Streptococcus, is a spherical, Gram-positive bacterium.[1] S. pyogenes displays streptococcal group A antigen on its cell wall and typic... Read More

Virologists, start your poliovirus destruction!

I have worked on poliovirus for over thirty-six years, first as a posdoctoral fellow with David Baltimore in 1979, and then in my laboratory at Columbia University. The end of that research commences this year with the destruction of my stocks of polioviruses. Read More

TWiP 86 letters

Jan writes:


Dear Doctors


This one is a bit more tricky; both Giardia and Cryptosporidium are possible. The symptoms are more those of Cryptosporidium, so that would be my semi-educated guess. Most of that education comes through you, with some help of some CDC... Read More

"Never Really Alone" with Margaret McFall-Ngai

Last Fall, the great Dr. Margaret McFall-Ngai "virtually visited" my freshman writing class at the University of Puget Sound to discuss symbiosis and Microbial Supremacy with my new students. I had my students read some papers by Dr. McFall-Ngai (including the wonderful "Animals in a Microbial ... Read More

Borrelia burgdorferi / host interactome

Referenced dataset of host/pathogen interactions for Borrelia burgdorferi: linked to Kegg pathway interactome analysis Read More

Designer viruses for killing tumor cells

A major goal of viral oncotherapy – the use of viruses to destroy tumors – is to design viruses that kill tumor cells but not normal cells. Two adenoviruses provide perfect examples of how this specificity can be achieved.

Adenovirus CG0070, designed to treat bladder cancer, and adenovirus O... Read More

Antibiotics Vs Human

The World Health Organization launched the first World Antibiotic Awareness week, and from November 16-22 2015 discussion centered on the emerging threat of antibiotic resistance. In this post, I will review the science behind antibiotic resistant-bacteria and how this phenomena is poised to imp... Read More

Describing a viral quasispecies

Virus populations do not consist of a single member with a defined nucleic acid sequence, but are dynamic distributions of nonidentical but related members called a quasispecies (illustrated at left). While next-generation sequencing methods have the capability of describing a quasispecies, the ... Read More

My First #LuxArt Class Competition!

In this blog post, I discuss making student designed artwork using bioluminescent bacteria as "paint." As student "buy in" is critical for any course, such fun "creative" approaches act synergistically to improve learning and outcomes. Feel free to vote on your top six images---the students ar... Read More

A new cell receptor for rhinovirus

Rhinovirus is the most frequent cause of the common cold, and the virus itself is quite common: there are over 160 types, classified into 3 species. The cell receptor has just been identified for the rhinovirus C species, which can cause more severe illness than members of the A or B species: it... Read More

Prions in plants

Chronic wasting disease is a prion disease of cervids (deer, elk, moose) that is potentially a threat to human health. A role for environmental prion contamination in transmission is supported by the finding that plants can take up prions from the soil and transmit them to animals. Read More

Happy #MicrobialHalloween From My #Bio350 Students (Plus Some Happy #ParasiticHalloween Wishes)!

I enjoy mixing Hallowe'en with my classes. In this blog post, I show how my microbiology students do exactly that, with humor and style. In addition, my freshman writing students do the same with their course on symbioses and parasitism. Enjoy...and #HappyMicrobialHalloween! Read More

Overexpression of Enterococcus faecalis elr operon protects from phagocytosis

This study investigates how the overexpression of a specific ORF affects the virulence of E. faecalis. Read More

Covering up a naked virus

Viruses can be broadly classified according to whether or not the particle is enveloped – surrounded by a membrane taken from the host cell – or naked. Some naked viruses apparently are more modest than we believed. Read More

Study reveals intestinal bacteria succession during recovery from cholera in Bangladesh

A new study delineates a sequential pattern of changes in the intestinal microbial population of patients recovering from cholera in Bangladesh, findings that may point to ways of speeding recovery from the dangerous diarrheal disease. The report also finds what appear to be consistent differenc... Read More

Microbiology, Creativity, and Extra Credit!

I have long believed that there are many ways for students to learn. In several of my classes, I encourage students to use "creative" approaches to explore course concepts. In the Fall of 2015, here is what my micronauts in my Microbiology course at the University of Puget Sound came up with..... Read More

HeLa RNA is everywhere

The first immortal human cell line ever produced, HeLa, originated from a cervical adenocarcinoma taken from Henrietta Lacks. The cell line grew so well that it was used in many laboratories and soon was found to contaminate other cell lines. Now HeLa RNA has made its way into human sequence dat... Read More

Let It (Microbially) Snow...

I made this video in October of 2015, with my Biology 350 Microbiology students at the University of Puget Sound. A drop of Pseudomonas syringae expressing ice nucleation protein hits supercooled pure water, and fun results. This is the way that Snomax works to commercially generate snow, inci... Read More

Freshman Biology Creative Projects

I am a big believer that different pedagogical approaches can "reach" different students. In most of my classes, I give students an optional assignment: come up with a creative project that explores some aspect of class. This takes several steps. First, I make the students come up with an ide... Read More

Sushi protects mosquitoes from lethal virus infections

As far as I know, mosquitoes do not eat sushi. But mosquito cells have proteins with sushi repeat domains, and these proteins protect the brain from lethal virus infections. Read More
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