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Merry Luxmas and Happy Microbial Holidays to All!

Here is my annual blogpost using #MicrobialSupremacy to wish all readers a very, very happy holiday season. I do this GFP and prodiosin, as well as luciferase! Enjoy a tiny bit of microbial art, relevant to the season? Read More

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

Virology question of the week: why a segmented viral genome?

This week’s virology question comes from Eric, who writes:

I’m working on an MPH and in one of my classes we are currently studying the influenza virus. I’d forgotten that the genome is in 8 separate parts. Curious, I’ve been searching but can’t find any information as to why that is?

What... Read More

Colonial Variation in Serratia marcescens

A common denizen of the undergraduate microbiology laboratory, Serratia marcescens is well known for the production of a bright red pigment, prodigiosin. Prodigiosin has been investigated over many years for its possible antimicrobial, antifungal, and even antitumor effects. Still, the relevan... Read More

Therapeutic teamwork: Coupling oncolytic viruses with immunotherapy to destroy tumor cells

A recent study by scientists at the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy offers a new, multifaceted therapy for destroying tumors. A team of researchers led by Dmitriy Zamarin combined checkpoint blockade, a technique aimed at enhancing antitumor immune responses, with oncolytic viral therapy,... 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

Freshmen, Extra Credit, and Different Ways of Learning

In this blog post, I show how students in my freshman "introduction to cell and molecular biology" course used "creativity"-based approaches to better understand concepts in the course---as they prepare for their upcoming final exam. I believe that this kind of approach truly helps with student... 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

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

Workshop on Virus Evolution and Molecular Epidemiology

18th International Bioinformatics Workshop on Virus Evolution and Molecular Epidemiology
(VEME 2013)

VEME 2013 will be organized August 25th – August 30th, 2013 at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, U.S.A.

The workshop will have the following modules:

• 'Phylogene... Read More

Probiotics vs Antibiotics? You're asking the wrong question.

'The question of whether someone should be taking a probiotic or an antibiotic is one I hear fairly frequently. The answer, in short, is that this isn't a question of either / or! At this stage in time, with this level of research on probiotics, it is not right to suggest one stops taking their... Read More

Learn "How Microbes can Help Feed the World," by reading the Academy's newest report

In order to feed the growing global population that is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, agricultural yields will need to increase by 70-100%. However, increasing this yield using current methods is not a viable option. Not only is it environmentally damaging, it is also not economically feas... Read More

Antimicrobial Susceptibility Pattern and ESBL Production among Uropathogenic Escherichia coli Isolated from UTI Children in Pediatric Unit of a Hospital in Kerman, Iran


Emergence of antibiotic resistance and extended spectrum β- lactamase (ESBL) among uropathogens in the pediatric unit of hospitals created serious health care concern. This study deals with antimicrobial susceptibility and ESBL analysis of uropathogenic Escherichia coli isolate... Read More

ASM GM 2014 - Bacteria in Urine Could Cause Overactive Bladder

Contrary to popular belief, urine is not sterile and the bacteria in it may be associated with overactive bladder (OAB) in some women. Presenters will discuss their research ... Read More

Scientists Engineer Strain of MERS Coronavirus for Use in a Vaccine

Scientists have developed a strain of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) that could be used as a vaccine against the disease, according to a study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The mutant MERS virus, rM... Read More

Discover Your Inner Scientist: Wolbachia In Nashville 2013

A CNN iReport about an integrative lab series known as the Wolbachia in Nashville includes area high school students from School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt with the purpose of bringing real-world scientific research on microbes into high school biology classes. Angela Eeds, director with... 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

Breathing New Life into DNA Microarrays

DNA microarrays are widely used in biological research and were once thought to be a very promising gene discovery tool. However, since the advent of next generation DNA sequencing, the popularity of DNA microarrays has steadily declined. Compared to the sequencing, microarray behavior is unce... 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

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

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