Star Wars – an epic story of war between the forces of good and evil in a galaxy far, far away. The Death Star – the ultimate weapon of destruction. The story is science fiction, but it could be considered an analogy for the constant battle between our immune system and microbial pathogens. Beli... 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
How does a single-celled organism ‘know’ how to respond to its environmental conditions? Understanding microbial cell signaling is one way to determine how bacteria will react in a particular setting. In the past decade, researchers have revealed a significant role for cyclic-di-GMP in bacterial... Read More
I enjoy having my microbiology students explore their creativity in interesting ways. One approach is to have my micronauts "paint" on Petri dishes using luminous bacteria. In the past, I have inviting people to "vote" on their favorites, and hand out microbiologically themed gifts. This has ... Read More
Vincent, Elio, and Michael reveal what Neanderthals ate from analysis of DNA in their teeth, and new CRISPR-Cas systems found in the genomes of uncultured microbes.
Bacteria acquire and spread genetic information through several means. Some bacteria form a long, thin tube called a pilus, mediating transfer of DNA by direct cell-to-cell contact, in a process known as conjugation. Some bacterial take up environmental DNA and incorporate it into their existing... Read More
I had my #Bio350 micronauts write one page "Nanobiographies" of their #MicrobialTermPapers. I'm very pleased. Read More
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
The Fellowship of the Virus trace the early history of HIV in North America, based on genome sequences obtained from late 1970s archival sera, which also reveal that Gaetan Dugas was not Patient Zero.
Hosts: Read More
The call for abstracts is now open for Microbe 2017, the premier microbiology conference hosted by the American Society for Microbiology. This is your opportunity to submit your important research in the microbial sciences to the largest scientific audience, with a 50% higher chance of presentin... Read More
Pneumonia remains a serious worldwide problem, especially among the young, elderly, and immunocompromised. Over 900,000 children die each year due to the disease, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common viral cause (Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae type b bein... Read More
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
The study researchers found that placing a small, detoxified amount of E. coli in the guts of mice led to an increase in levels of leptin - known as the "satiety hormone."
Within 7 days of the increase, the number of sweet taste receptors on the rodents' tongues reduced, diminishing their ap... Read More
If there is a problem built for a systems-based research approach, climate change – with its complex carbon and nitrogen cycles, numerous species involvement, and interaction of geographical zones – would be an excellent candidate. Concurrent with the launch of the systems-based microbial resear... Read More
The TWiVsters explain how superspreader bacteriophages release intact DNA from infected cells, and the role of astrocytes in protecting the cerebellum from virus infection.
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
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
Evidence-based medicine is the approach used by doctors to make rational clinical decisions based on rigorous, well-controlled studies. By minimizing hunches, gut feelings, and anecdotal evidence, physicians and patients can follow recommendations that are most likely to have a positive outcome.... Read More
Single-celled organisms called bacterioplankton spend their lives drifting in open ocean, visible to the naked eye only en masse. But don't be fooled by their slight size: These minuscule critters play a hefty role in the carbon cycle. Heterotrophic microbes, by some estimates, process half of t... Read More
In some individuals, an influenza A virus infection can cause asymptomatic Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) to travel to the lungs where it can trigger severe, sometimes deadly, secondary pneumonia. S. aureus is one of the most common causes of secondary bacterial pneumonia in cases of seasonal... Read More