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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

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

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

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

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

Sushi protects mosquitoes from lethal virus infections

As far as I know, mosquitoes do not eat sushi. But mosquito cells have proteins with sushi repeat domains, and these proteins protect the brain from lethal virus infections. Read More

Click-Chemistry Labeling of Oligonucleotides and DNA - Lumiprobe - Protocol


Click chemistry is a versatile reaction that can be used for the synthesis of a variety of conjugates. Virtually any biomolecules can be involved, and labeling with small molecules, such as fluorescent dyes, biotin, and other groups can be readily achieved.

Click chemistry reaction takes pl... Read More

HeLa RNA is everywhere

The first immortal human cell line ever produced, HeLa, originated from a cervical adenocarcinoma taken from Henrietta Lacks. The cell line grew so well that it was used in many laboratories and soon was found to contaminate other cell lines. Now HeLa RNA has made its way into human sequence dat... Read More

Retroviral influence on human embryonic development

About eight percent of human DNA is viral: it consists of retroviral genomes produced by infections that occurred many years ago. These endogenous retroviruses are passed from parent to child in our DNA. Some of these viral genomes are activated for a brief time during human embryogenesis, sugge... Read More

Mineralization of sand particles boosts microbial water filtration

Mineral coatings on sand particles actually encourage microbial activity in the rapid sand filters that are used to treat groundwater for drinking, according to a paper published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. These findings resoundingly refute, for the first time, the... Read More

Magical Monsoon:rAiNs and Geosmin

A Geosmin Story:
A Musty / Muddy smell - the earthy odour after a heavy spatter of rain is aesthetic to senses.
A poet sitting in such ambiance lets his thoughts to wander randomly and comes out with a sweet piece of write up.
An Artist can do wonders on his canvas flowing with the mood.
Man... 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

Immunological Reaction of Poison Ivy - Explained Through Poetry

Immunology Explained Through Poetry - What happens when one touches a poison ivy?

Enjoy!

Billy was at summer camp,
And wanted to feel like a champ,
So he searched for a flower,
That would stop Susie’s glower,
But found poison ivy instead.

While Billy was later playing,
He had no i... Read More

Portraits of Microbiologists Using Luminous Bacteria as "Paint."

My wife Jennifer Quinn​ hits it out the park: a portrait of Kenneth Nealson​ and the late Woody Hastings "painted" with luminous bacteria, giving them props for the early days of quorum sensing---where the basic principles were first uncovered in bioluminescent microbes. This principle of "aut... Read More

asm2014: Five Things Not to Miss at ASM’s 114th General Session

You don’t want to miss asm2014. We’ve compiled a list of five things not to miss at the 114th American Society for Microbiology General Session.

Click the "source" link or copy/paste this URL into your browser: http://blog.puritanmedproducts.com/bid/383376/asm2014-Five-Things-Not-to-Miss-at-... Read More

Virus-host co-evolution under a modified nuclear genetic code

For what may be the first time, researchers have discovered a virus inside a host with a non-standard nuclear genetic code — one that differs from the standard genetic code that almost all living things use to produce proteins.


“The finding is significant because it shows that these viruses... Read More

Should you consider attending ASM 2015 this spring?

The general program for the 2015 American Society of Microbiology meeting in New Orleans is out, and registration is now open. The sessions look incredible, and I've listed them below as I imagine they might resonate with many of the readers of this blog. The bolded sessions look particularly in... Read More

Remembering Carl Woese: A Memorial Issue of RNA Biology

The journal "RNA Biology" just published a memorial issue dedicated to the late, great Carl Woese. The entire issue is open access. I have a small contribution, but the entire issue is filled with great science, wonderful memories, and a fine celebration of a scientist who changed the way we l... Read More

Pet rats as a source of hantavirus in England and Wales

Researchers report the detection of a strain of Seoul hantavirus (SEOV) in pet rats in England and Wales. The discovery followed an investigation of a case of haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in Wales. Hantavirus RNA was detected via real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reactio... Read More

New Report Released by the American Academy of Microbiology: "FAQ: West Nile Virus"

The American Academy of Microbiology has released its newest report about the West Nile virus. Questions answered include: Can West Nile virus outbreaks be prevented? Why do some people get West Nile fever? How did the West Nile virus spread across the country so quickly?

The free report can ... Read More
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