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Be curious

During my visit to the University of Vermont today I had lunch with seven talented Microbiology Ph.D. students. One of them asked me what was an important quality to have for achieving success in science. I said without hesitation, ‘Be curious’. It’s the answer I always give. Being curious is th... 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

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

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

Student Creativity and Student Study Guides

In this blog entry, I discuss the perennial problem for educators: helping students find study strategies that help them reach their educational goals. I have found that student-generated study material is most helpful...and is sometimes quite artistic! 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

Report on Viruses Looks Beyond Disease

Recently, the American Academy of Microbiology released a new report, Viruses Throughout Life & Time: Friends, Foes, Change Agents that delves into the origin of viruses, the overlooked biological and microbial ecological role of viruses, and how these live forms have contributed to evolution. T... 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

Some "Rules" for Academia and Research

In this blog post, I describe some "rules for academics" as well as my own "rules for research." I hope that readers find them useful and perhaps a bit humorous. Read More

El podcast del microbio Nº373: Bacillus subtilis regala su DNA. (Bacillus subtilis gives for free its DNA)



























El podcast del microbio Nº 373 summarize a recent article published in PLoS ONE on the active extracellular DNA release to the environment by Bacillus subtilis. El podcast del microbio Nº 373... Read More

Livestock-Associated Staphylococcus aureus: The United States Experience

Animal associated S. aureus are distinct from human strains but some recent studies suggested the human infection caused by animal origin strain of MRSA. Extensive and unregulated use of antibiotic in animal husbandry might be one of the causes for development of multidrug resistant strain. Tran... Read More

Viral genomes in 700 year old caribou scat

Recovering viral genomes from ancient specimens can provide information about viral evolution, but not many old nucleic acids have been identified. A study of 700 year old caribou feces reveals that viruses can be protected for long periods of time – under the right conditions. Read More

Where Biology and Art Work Together in the Classroom

In this blog entry, I describe how working with the artist Katie McKissick ("Beatrice the Biologist") helped improve my freshman biology course. The intersection of biology and art benefits both! 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

Microbial biogeography of wine grapes is conditioned by cultivar, vintage, and climate

Wine grapes present a unique biogeography model, wherein microbial biodiversity patterns across viticultural zones not only answer questions of dispersal and community maintenance, they are also an inherent component of the quality, consumer acceptance, and economic appreciation of a culturally ... Read More

My First Radio Interview About Teaching, Research, and Microbial Supremacy...

The great folks at "The People Behind the Science" interviewed me over Skype in late July, and the interview has just been released as a podcast. I discuss my path through science, my thoughts on teaching, research at undergraduate institution, and how to motivate and inspire students to strive... Read More

Virology question of the week

On the science show This Week in Virology we receive many questions and comments, which are read every week. I also get many questions here on virology blog, which I tend to answer by email. However I think that everyone could benefit from these questions, so I’ve decided to post one here each w... Read More

How influenza virus infection might lead to gastrointestinal symptoms

Human influenza viruses replicate almost exclusively in the respiratory tract, yet infected individuals may also have gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. In mice, intestinal injury occurs in the absence of viral replication, and is a consequence of viral depletion of the gut... Read More

Social Media, Course Syllabi, and Blowing Off Steam...

In this post from my blog, I discuss the recent interest in snarky-funny academic hashtags on Twitter, such as #overlyhonestsyllabi. Just like students, educators need to blow off some steam (especially as classes approach!). But it is also important to remember our educational goals, and matc... Read More

Influenza A viruses in bats

It is well known that aquatic birds are a major reservoir of influenza A viruses, and that pandemic human influenza virus strains of the past century derive viral genes from this pool. The recent discovery of two new influenza A viruses in bats suggests that this species may constitute another r... Read More
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