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American Academy of Microbiology's new FAQ: West Nile Virus, July 2013

Where does the virus come from? How is it spread? Can we predict when and where outbreaks will occur? What factors determine how sick a person will become if they are infected with West Nile virus?

To help answer the many questions people have about this multi-faceted virus, the American Acad... Read More

De-discovering pathogens: Viral contamination strikes again

Do you remember the retrovirus XMRV, initially implicated as the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, and later shown to be a murine virus that contaminated human cells grown in mice? Another virus thought to be associated with human disease has recently been shown to be a contaminant, derived fro... Read More

Learn "How Microbes can Help Feed the World," by reading the Academy's newest report

In order to feed the growing global population that is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, agricultural yields will need to increase by 70-100%. However, increasing this yield using current methods is not a viable option. Not only is it environmentally damaging, it is also not economically feas... Read More

Bat SARS-like coronavirus that infects human cells

The SARS pandemic of 2002-2003 is believed to have been caused by a bat coronavirus (CoV) that first infected a civet and then was passed on to humans. The isolation of a new SARS-like coronavirus from bats suggests that the virus could have directly infected humans. Read More

The wall of polio

The Polio Wall of Fame is a set of fifteen sculptured busts of 17 individuals who made important contributions to understanding and preventing poliomyelitis. The busts are mounted on an exterior wall of Founder’s Hall at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation in Warm Springs, Ge... 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

TWiP 75 letters


David writes (re lice and iron):


All I remember that I know is that one time I let my cat endure a heavy flea infestation for an unconscionably long time. I redeemed myself, if at all, by the knowledge that I slept with her a lot, and so endured a share myself (b... Read More

Freshmen, Extra Credit, and Different Ways of Learning

In this blog post, I show how students in my freshman "introduction to cell and molecular biology" course used "creativity"-based approaches to better understand concepts in the course---as they prepare for their upcoming final exam. I believe that this kind of approach truly helps with student... Read More

ASMCUE, Citizen Science, and a Surprise!

In this blog entry, I discuss a talk I attended at ASMCUE about "Citizen Science" and how some of my own work appeared in that talk! It is a vital that we scientists explain not just what we do, but why it is so fascinating to us...by involving the public! Read More

Scientists Engineer Strain of MERS Coronavirus for Use in a Vaccine

Scientists have developed a strain of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) that could be used as a vaccine against the disease, according to a study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The mutant MERS virus, rM... 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

Topographic diversity of fungal and bacterial communities in human skin

An interesting recent paper characterizing the fungal microbiome ("mycobiome") of human skin. It would be lovely if the TWIM crew could discuss this in an upcoming episode!

"Traditional culture-based methods have incompletely defined the microbial landscape of common recalcitrant human fungal... Read More

Happy Birthday to a Microbial Hero™---Moselio Schaechter!

Until we have "action figures" of scientists, I do what I can to recognize scientists that have had a large and lasting influence on my academic career. In this blog post, I praise Dr. Moselio Schaechter for his clear and insightful approaches to microbiology. His enthusiasm, breadth of interes... Read More

ASM GM 2014 - The Next Emerging Threat

Over the past few decades there appears to have been a never-ending stream of emerging diseases from AIDS to SARS and now MERS. Predictions are that global warming will bring... Read More

BacterioFiles Micro Edition 155 - Cells Save Superannuated Sequences

This episode: Bacteria are able to incorporate DNA from the environment into their genomes, even if it's thousands of years old!


(9.6 MB, 10.5 minutes)


Show notes: 
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Hepatitis A virus infections associated with berry and pomegranate mix

An outbreak of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections in eight US states has been attributed to consumption of Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend frozen berry and pomegranate mix purchased from Costco markets. Since March 2013, 118 individuals have acquired the infection and 80% report having... Read More

Human Microbiome Report & Infographic

The human microbiome, the collection of trillions of microbes living in and on the human body, is not random, and scientists believe that it plays a role in many basic life processes. As science continues to explore and better understand the role of the human microbiome. A new report from the Am... Read More

Interview with Dr. Amy Apprill

Amy Apprill is a researcher of Marine Microbiology. Her work focuses on the relation of Bacteria and Archaea to the health and ecology of marine animals. Her interest is on how animal associated microbes reflect the alterations in the surrounding marine environment that may be related to climate... Read More

Isolation of a Novel Antibiotic Resistance Plasmid DNA from Hospital Isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Emergence and dissemination of antibiotic resistance plasmids are major concern for hospital care system and
increases the cost and decreases effectiveness of available antibiotics used in treatment of hospitalized patients.
In this study two Pseudomonas aeruginosa, two Escherichia coli, and a... Read More

Let's declare WAAAR to antimicrobial resistance

We must change how antibiotics are used and adopt proactive strategies, similar to those used to save endangered species. Preservation of the efficacy of antibiotics and to stabilization of antibiotic-susceptible bacterial ecosystems should be global goals.

We urge all of you to participate i... Read More

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