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
I enjoy mixing Hallowe'en with my classes. In this blog post, I show how my microbiology students do exactly that, with humor and style. In addition, my freshman writing students do the same with their course on symbioses and parasitism. Enjoy...and #HappyMicrobialHalloween! Read More
Virus populations do not consist of a single member with a defined nucleic acid sequence, but are dynamic distributions of nonidentical but related members called a quasispecies (illustrated at left). While next-generation sequencing methods have the capability of describing a quasispecies, the ... Read More
'The question of whether someone should be taking a probiotic or an antibiotic is one I hear fairly frequently. The answer, in short, is that this isn't a question of either / or! At this stage in time, with this level of research on probiotics, it is not right to suggest one stops taking their... Read More
The anaerobic, Gram-positive Clostridium difficile is a big problem. It causes rampant diarrhea and tissue necrosis, with more than 150,000 annual cases in the United States alone. Many of the disease manifestations of C. difficile are mediated by two exotoxins that C. difficile produces: TcdA a... Read More
After the governors of New York and New Jersey decided that health workers who have returned from the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa should be subject to a 21-day quarantine, two Nobel laureates entered the fray. Bruce Beutler feels that the quarantine is the right thing to do, while Peter ... Read More
Science Pirates Songs presents the Bacteria Song by New Mexico State University 2003. These animated songs are from the adventure learning game, 'Science Pirates: The Curse of Brownbeard', which guide middle school students through concepts in both science and food safety. Read More
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
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
This episode: Bacteria in hydrothermal vents that feed their host tubeworms evacuate when their hosts perish!
(9 MB, 9.8 minutes)
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
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
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 Journal of Bacteriology is celebrating its centennial this year – one hundred years of valuable scientific discoveries! To illustrate the wide variety of noteworthy results published over the years, the journal is publishing a Classic Spotlight series, in which experts in the field highlight... Read More
The TWiP ternion solve the case of the Man from Mexico, and discuss a transgenic toxoplasma vaccine for chickens using Eimeria tenella.
In this blog post, I discuss making student designed artwork using bioluminescent bacteria as "paint." As student "buy in" is critical for any course, such fun "creative" approaches act synergistically to improve learning and outcomes. Feel free to vote on your top six images---the students ar... Read More
For years, researchers have struggled to get a handle on Group B streptococcus (GBS), in the hopes of improving neonatal outcomes. GBS are a bacteria commonly found in the vagina, rectum, and urinary tract of women. In healthy women, the bacteria are commensal, simply living without causing dise... Read More
A recent study by scientists at the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy offers a new, multifaceted therapy for destroying tumors. A team of researchers led by Dmitriy Zamarin combined checkpoint blockade, a technique aimed at enhancing antitumor immune responses, with oncolytic viral therapy,... Read More
So far in this series I’ve written a good deal about our work on Zika virus, but I have said little about the people who are doing the science.
My lab at Columbia University Medical Center is very small, consisting of three people—Amy Rosenfeld, Audrey Warren, and me. Let me tell you about ... Read More
PLOS ONE authors Cybulski, Clements and Prakash describe an ultra-low-cost origami-based approach for large-scale manufacturing of microscopes, specifically demonstrating brightfield, darkfield, and fluorescence microscopes. Merging principles of optical design with origami enables high-volume f... Read More