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International Team Fishes New Virus Out of the Sea of Galilee

In 2009, fish in Israel began dying in droves. And not just any fish, but the St. Peter’s fish, tilapia in the Sea of Galilee—the fish famed in the Bible for feeding the multitudes and paying the temple tax for St. Peter.

As head of the fish disease laboratory for Israel’s Ministry of Agricul... Read More

Scraping away at the complex microbial communities that cause periodontal disease

Though both gingivitis and periodontitis are diseases of the gums, the related ailments are not simply different severities of the same disease, finds a new study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Researchers confirmed this by investigating the bacterial composition of the sup... Read More

C. difficile Vaccine Proves Safe, 100 Percent Effective In Animal Models

An experimental vaccine protected 100 percent of animal models against the highly infectious and virulent bacterium, Clostridium difficile, which causes an intestinal disease that kills approximately 30,000 Americans annually. The research is published ahead of print in Infection and Immunity.
... 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

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

Infant antibiotic use linked to adult diseases

A new study led by researchers at the University of Minnesota has found a three-way link among antibiotic use in infants, changes in the gut bacteria, and disease later in life. The imbalances in gut microbes, called dysbiosis, have been tied to infectious diseases, allergies and other autoimmun... Read More

Dispatches from ASM Microbe - Monday and wrap-up

After absorbing research on manipulation of the human microbiome, the impact of waterway and agricultural microbiomes, antibiotic resistance spread and the potential of stewardship guard against it, and potential antimicrobial therapies of the future, we have yet to cover an important research t... Read More

Retroviruses R us

About eight percent of human DNA is viral – remnants of ancestral infections with retroviruses. These endogenous retroviral sequences do not produce infectious viruses, and most are considered to be junk DNA. But some of them provide important functions. The protein called syncytin, which is ess... Read More

TWiEVO 8: Everyone’s a little bit Neanderthal

Many years ago, Homo sapiens mated with Neanderthals. Today a small percentage of our genome remains Neanderthal, and in a study discussed on this episode of the science show This Week in Evolution, we show that some important genes of our innate immune response - the early response against path... Read More

Viruses Could Help Fight Deadly Superbugs.

Viruses that are harmless to humans might help fight the deadly scourge of bacteria that can't be treated with antibiotics, researchers say.

These viruses could be used in hand santizers, and to treat exposed surfaces in hospitals, which are hotbeds of antibiotic resistance, the researchers n... 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

Disarming a pathogen's ability to cause disease

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

Design, engineering and utility of biotic games

First of the three videos related to research article appearing in Lab on a Chip. I. H. Riedel-Kruse et al "Design, Engineering and Utility of Biotic Games". Read the article by clicking "source" above.

From the abstract:

Games are a significant and defining part of human culture, and thei... Read More

ASM GM 2014 - This Week in Virology #286: Boston TWiV Party

The American Society for Microbiology hosted a live podcast of This Week in Virology with Vincent Racaniello with co-host Alan Dove that includes guests Paul Duprex, Director of Cell and Tissue Imaging Core, Boston University, National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL), and Ju... Read More

Pithovirus: Bigger than Pandoravirus with a smaller genome

A new virus called Pithovirus sibericum has been isolated from 30,000 year old Siberian permafrost. It is the oldest DNA virus of eukaryotes ever isolated, showing that viruses can retain infectivity in nature for very long periods of time. Read More

Dispatches from ASM Microbe - Saturday

Welcome back to Dispatches from ASM Microbe! Today we’ll continue Microbe 2016 highlights of the microbiome, focusing on the non-human microbiome research being presented during the conference.

As mentioned yesterday, commencement of the National Microbiome Initiative was met with great exci... 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

Probiotics vs Antibiotics? You're asking the wrong question.

'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 Bacteria Song by the Science Pirates

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

Antibiotics Vs Human

The World Health Organization launched the first World Antibiotic Awareness week, and from November 16-22 2015 discussion centered on the emerging threat of antibiotic resistance. In this post, I will review the science behind antibiotic resistant-bacteria and how this phenomena is poised to imp... Read More
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