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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

Francis Crick Portrait in Living Light!

This is as portrait of the late Francis Crick created by my wife Dr. Jennifer Quinn using "paint" of luminous bacteria. Photobacterium leignothi was grown in LB amended to 20g/l NaCl for a few hours until visible luminescence was detected visually. The liquid culture was painted onto amended L... 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

Ancient clay remedy proves its antibacterial powers in the lab

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

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

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

Enhanced virus transduction may lead to more effective gene therapy

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

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

Systems study of climate change effects, large and small

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

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

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

Scientists prove key aspect of evolutionary theory

Evolutionary theory predicts that pairs of chromosomes within asexual organisms will evolve independently of each other and become increasingly different over time in a phenomenon called the 'Meselson effect.' Researchers from the University of Glasgow have demonstrated the Meselson effect for t... Read More

And they're off! An overview of ASM resources on Olympic-related infectious disease reports

The opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics 2016 will be held this Friday, marking the onset of two weeks of competition between the world’s best athletes. The world has been focused on Brazil and its preparedness – not only for the infrastructure required for the games, but also for any potent... Read More

Induction of Acinetobacter baumannii natural competence

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

Meta-analysis of urine pre-analytic practice reveals need for rigorous studies

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

1 in 25 patients gets infection in hospital

When antibiotics first started being used in the 1940's they were considered a "miracle drug". It seemed that bacterial infections would no longer be a problem for the world. However, recently, one gene is making it seem as though the end of antibiotics is at hand. This gene is New Delhi metallo... Read More

Diversity and Activity of Communities Inhabiting Plastic Debris in the North Pacific Gyre

Marine plastic debris is a growing concern that has captured the general public’s attention. While the negative impacts of plastic debris on oceanic macrobiota, including mammals and birds, are well documented, little is known about its influence on smaller marine residents, including microbes t... Read More

Freshman Biology Creative Projects!

I have found that students become involved, energized, and enthusiastic when I give them opportunities to explore topics in my classes using their own creative approaches and interests. So this semester, in my Biology 111 course at the University of Puget Sound, I found that students explored f... Read More

Two birds with one stone: E. faecium cotransfers drug resistance determinants by homologous recombination

The Gram-positive bacterium Enterococcus faecium is a member of the ESKAPE pathogens for which drug resistance has been a growing problem. How E. faecium becomes drug resistant has been a long-standing question, and is the focus of a new study now available in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemothera... Read More


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