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The science-themed art of Deb Sklut

During my visit to Berkeley, CA to record TWiV #228, I met Deb Sklut, an artist who is inspired by the power of science. I recorded a brief conversation with Deb which you can view below. Her work can be found at SqueakySqueegeeArt.etsy.com. Read More

TWiV 337: Steamer

Host: Vincent Racaniello 


Guests: Michael Metzger and  Read More

Covering up a naked virus

Viruses can be broadly classified according to whether or not the particle is enveloped – surrounded by a membrane taken from the host cell – or naked. Some naked viruses apparently are more modest than we believed. 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

MERS-CoV genome found in dromedary camels

Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), first identified in the fall of 2012 in a Saudi Arabian patient, has since infected over 160 individuals, causing 71 deaths. Identifying the source of infection is important for efforts to prevent further infections. Recently two studie... Read More

Viroids, infectious agents that encode no proteins

Genomes of non-defective viruses range in size from 2,400,000 bp of dsDNA (Pandoravirus salinus) to 1,759 bp of ssDNA (porcine circovirus). Are even smaller viral genomes possible? The subviral agents called viroids provide an answer to this question.

Viroids, the smallest known pathogens, ar... Read More

Overexpression of Enterococcus faecalis elr operon protects from phagocytosis

This study investigates how the overexpression of a specific ORF affects the virulence of E. faecalis. Read More

Teaching Freshmen about Transformation, Drug Resistance, and Gene Regulation!

In this blog post, I describe how I use the commonly available pGLO plasmid to teach freshman students basic concepts about transformation, receptor recognition, drug resistance mechanisms, and gene regulation. Oh, and fluorescence via GFP! Read More

Satellites - the viral kind

Satellites are subviral agents that differ from viroids because they depend on the presence of a helper virus for their propagation. Satellite viruses are particles that contain nucleic acid genomes encoding a structural protein that encapsidates the satellite genome. Satellite RNAs do not encod... 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

Measles in the brain: Fusion gone awry

The entry of enveloped viruses into cells begins when the membrane that surrounds these virus particles fuse with a cell membrane. The process of virus-cell fusion must be tightly regulated, to make sure it happens in the right cells. The fusion activity of measles viruses isolated from the brai... Read More

Study reveals intestinal bacteria succession during recovery from cholera in Bangladesh

A new study delineates a sequential pattern of changes in the intestinal microbial population of patients recovering from cholera in Bangladesh, findings that may point to ways of speeding recovery from the dangerous diarrheal disease. The report also finds what appear to be consistent differenc... Read More

Freshman Biology Creative Projects

I am a big believer that different pedagogical approaches can "reach" different students. In most of my classes, I give students an optional assignment: come up with a creative project that explores some aspect of class. This takes several steps. First, I make the students come up with an ide... 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

Dispatches from the Teaching Front, Part 1: Student Self-Evaluation

Based on a Twitter conversation with two microbiology educators, I share a story of how (through a survey) I encourage students to look deeply at their study strategies and promote "ownership" in their classroom experience. 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

Graduation, Richard Feynman, and Career Choices...

In this blog post, I discuss how students begin to find their "path" to a career that they will love in science. I aIso write about the late, great Richard Feynman. 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

Infectious agents with no genome

If the reader does not believe that viroids and satellites are distinctive, then surely prions, infectious agents composed only of protein, must impress.

The question of whether infectious agents exist without genomes arose with the discovery and characterization of infectious agents associat... Read More

Inadvertent transfer of a mammalian retrovirus into birds

Reticuloendotheliosis viruses (REVs) are retroviruses that cause a rare disease of gamebirds and waterfowl that includes anemia, immunosuppression, neoplasia, runting, and abnormal feathering. Since the first isolation of REV from a turkey in 1957, REVs were believed to be strictly avian viruses... Read More
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