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ASMCUE, Citizen Science, and a Surprise!

In this blog entry, I discuss a talk I attended at ASMCUE about "Citizen Science" and how some of my own work appeared in that talk! It is a vital that we scientists explain not just what we do, but why it is so fascinating to us...by involving the public! 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

The Secret and the Solution: Michael Schmidt, Ph.D., on the Antimicrobial Properties of Copper at TEDxCharleston

Michael Schimdt, Ph.D., Professor and Vice Chairman of Microbiology and Immunology, Director, Office of Special Programs, Medical University of South Carolina, gives a TEDx talk in Charleston, SC, about the antimicrobial properties of copper and how this mineral may significantly reduce hospital... Read More

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and viruses and my ice bucket challenge

Many people have a new awareness of the disease known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge initiated by the ALS Association. Fewer might know that retroviruses have been proposed to play a role in the development of the disease. 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

Topographic diversity of fungal and bacterial communities in human skin

An interesting recent paper characterizing the fungal microbiome ("mycobiome") of human skin. It would be lovely if the TWIM crew could discuss this in an upcoming episode!

"Traditional culture-based methods have incompletely defined the microbial landscape of common recalcitrant human fungal... 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

Poliovirus escapes antibodies

Antigenic variation is a hallmark of influenza virus that allows the virus to evade host defenses. Consequently influenza vaccines need to be reformulated frequently to keep up with changing viruses. In contrast, antigenic variation is not a hallmark of poliovirus – the same poliovirus vaccines ... 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

Rhizopus microsporus

Rhizopus microsporus
It causes human mucormycosis and bovine mycotic abortion.
It is distinguished from R.arrhizus by its shorter stalk, and smaller sporangia and spores.
Variant forms
Var.oligosporus : has elongated columellae ; spores less obviously striated.
Var.rhizopodiformis : has ... Read More

MERS Virus Widespread in Saudi Arabian Camels (News Release)

The coronavirus responsible for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is prevalent in camels throughout Saudi Arabia and has been around for at least 20 years, according to a study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

“Our study ... Read More

Twenty-six lectures in virology

In the spring of each year I teach a virology course to undergraduates and masters students at Columbia University. I produce video recordings of all my lectures not only for students in the course, but for anyone else who is interested in learning about viruses.

You can find my virology lect... 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

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

Stop Action Videos, Animation, and Bdellovibrio

My wife, who is a mathematician and artist, made a stop motion video using Play-Doh that represents the life cycle of the bacterial predator, Bdellovibrio. This brings together interesting microbes, animation, and thoughts about what students might do to understand processes in microbiology! Read More

Hepatitis A virus infections associated with berry and pomegranate mix

An outbreak of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections in eight US states has been attributed to consumption of Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend frozen berry and pomegranate mix purchased from Costco markets. Since March 2013, 118 individuals have acquired the infection and 80% report having... Read More

TWiM 89 Letters

Peter writes:


Dear Michele,


Prof. Szybalski might have been referring to a truck with a wood gas generator


Apparently they are still in use north of the b... Read More

Viral gifts

If you are looking for the perfect present for that infectious person in your life, there are many microbe-themed possibilities. Here are some suggestions, from t-shirts, to watercolors, glass sculptures, and paper to wrap it in. Read More

TWiP 78 letters


Meliani writes:


Dear Sir,


My research is focused on the biofilms formation, Motility (swarming and swiming ) and QS in fluorescent Pseudomonas (P. aeruginosa and P. fluorescens).


In laboratory a interaction had been with insect and bacteria metabo... Read More

Ebola virus enters the United States

Given the extent of the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, transport of an infected individual to the US was bound to happen. The case is an adult who had contact with an Ebola virus-infected woman in Liberia, then traveled to Dallas. He had no symptoms before arriving in the US and therefore ... Read More
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