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American Academy of Microbiology's new FAQ: West Nile Virus, July 2013

Where does the virus come from? How is it spread? Can we predict when and where outbreaks will occur? What factors determine how sick a person will become if they are infected with West Nile virus?

To help answer the many questions people have about this multi-faceted virus, the American Acad... Read More

TWiV 286: Boston TWiV party

Vincent and Alan meet up with Julie and Paul at the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Boston, to talk about their work on the pathogenesis of poliovirus and measles virus.


Hosts: V... Read More

Visiting biosafety level-4 laboratories

Experiments with the most dangerous human viruses, such as Ebola virus and Lassa virus, are carried out in biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) laboratories. Since visiting the Northeast Infectious Diseases Laboratory BSL-4 and releasing the documentary video Threading the NEIDL, I was given the opportunit... Read More

Treating hepatitis C by blocking a cellular microRNA

Miravirsen is a drug that binds to and blocks the function of a cellular microRNA called miR-122 that is required for the replication of hepatitis C virus (HCV). Treatment of chimpanzees chronically infected with HCV with this drug leads to suppression of viral replication. The results of a phas... Read More

Using Routine Surveillance Data to Estimate the Epidemic Potential of Emerging Zoonoses: Application to the Emergence of US Swine Origin Influenza A H3N2v Virus

A simple new method better assesses the risks posed by emerging zoonotic viruses (those transmissible from animals to humans), according to a study published in PLOS Medicine this week. Dr. Simon Cauchemez and colleagues from Imperial College London in the UK and the Centers for Disease Control ... Read More

Under the Microscope and the new science blog network by PopSci

Popular Science has just launched a new science blogging network with 13 blogs. Among them are two that have a focus on microbiology, Under the Microscope by JA Tetro and Our Modern Plague by Brooke Borel. Each blog has an inaugural post that outlines the author's vision for future subject matte... Read More

The incubation period of a viral infection

The time before the symptoms of a viral infection appear is called the incubation period. During this time, viral genomes are replicating and the host is responding, producing cytokines such as interferon that can have global effects, leading to the classical symptoms of an acute infection (e.g.... Read More

A few reminiscences on Hilary Koprowski

Virologist Hilary Koprowski died on 11 April 2013 at the age of 96. His main accomplishments are nicely summarized in the New York Times, but for a more comprehensive overview of his life, I highly recommend his biography Listen to the Music by Roger Vaughan. I did not have many opportunities to... Read More

Treatment of Ebola virus infection with brincidofovir

The Liberian man who was diagnosed with Ebola virus infection after traveling to Dallas, Texas, was treated with an antiviral drug called brincidofovir. This drug had originally been developed to treat infections with DNA-containing viruses. Why was it used to treat an Ebola virus infection? Read More

Transmission of Ebola virus

As the West African epidemic of Ebola virus grows, so does misinformation about the virus, particularly how it is transmitted from person to person. Ebola virus is transmitted from human to human by close contact with infected patients and virus-containing body fluids. It does not spread among h... Read More

A virus that melts sea stars

Sea stars are lovely marine invertebrates with a round central body connected to multiple radiating legs (photo credit). In the past year millions of sea stars in the west coast waters of North America have melted into piles of slime and ossicles. Sea star associated densovirus might be the caus... Read More

TWiV 314: Einstein goes viral

Vincent travels to Albert Einstein College of Medicine where he speaks with Kartik, Ganjam, and Margaret about their work on Ebolavirus entry, a tumor suppressor that binds the HIV-1 integrase, and the entry of togaviruses and flaviviruses into cells.


Host:  Read More

The wall of polio

The Polio Wall of Fame is a set of fifteen sculptured busts of 17 individuals who made important contributions to understanding and preventing poliomyelitis. The busts are mounted on an exterior wall of Founder’s Hall at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation in Warm Springs, Ge... Read More

The Forgotten Woman Who Made Microbiology Possible

Read about Angelina Fanny Hesse, an unsung heroine of microbiology who helped make the isolation of bacteria possible in this Popular Science blog post by Christina Agapakis:

"In the earliest days of microbiology, scientists were stumped about how to isolate bacteria. That is, until the fami... Read More

Human Microbiome Report & Infographic

The human microbiome, the collection of trillions of microbes living in and on the human body, is not random, and scientists believe that it plays a role in many basic life processes. As science continues to explore and better understand the role of the human microbiome. A new report from the Am... 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

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

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

Unusual mortality pattern of 1918 influenza A virus

The 1918 influenza pandemic was particularly lethal, not only for the very young and the very old (as observed for typical influenza), but unexpectedly also for young adults, 20 to 40 years of age (pictured). It has been suggested that the increased lethality in young adults occurred because the... Read More

Heartland virus disease

Six new cases of Heartland virus disease have been identified in residents of Missouri and Tennessee. The cause of this disease appears to be a member of the Phlebovirus genus in the Bunyaviridae family that was first identified in 2009 and appears to be transmitted by the Lone Star tick (Amblyo... Read More
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