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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

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

A Tiny Zika Laboratory

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

Tracking how bacteria threaten newborns

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

MMP #17: How bacteria can change graphene to propel rotors.

Host: Jeff Fox with special guests, Julia Yeomans and Vikas Berry.


Julia Yeomans of Oxford University in the United Kingdom and chemical engineer
Vikas Berry of the University of Illinois, Chicago, talk with Jeff Fox about their separate, but in some ways similar, research effor... Read More

"Never Really Alone" with Margaret McFall-Ngai

Last Fall, the great Dr. Margaret McFall-Ngai "virtually visited" my freshman writing class at the University of Puget Sound to discuss symbiosis and Microbial Supremacy with my new students. I had my students read some papers by Dr. McFall-Ngai (including the wonderful "Animals in a Microbial ... Read More

A virus that melts sea stars

Sea stars are lovely marine invertebrates with a round central body connected to multiple radiating legs (photo credit). In the past year millions of sea stars in the west coast waters of North America have melted into piles of slime and ossicles. Sea star associated densovirus might be the caus... Read More

Borrelia burgdorferi / host interactome

Referenced dataset of host/pathogen interactions for Borrelia burgdorferi: linked to Kegg pathway interactome analysis Read More

A new cell receptor for rhinovirus

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

Designer viruses for killing tumor cells

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

Microbial Awards Season in Biology 350!

I like to encourage my students to explore the intersection between art and microbiology. Science + art = awesome! In any event, in this blog post, I describe two microbial art competitions in my microbiology course at the University of Puget Sound. I think my micronauts did some remarkable w... Read More

Unusual mortality pattern of 1918 influenza A virus

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

TWiV 411: Chicken runs

The TWiVeroos examine a reverse spillover of Newcastle disease virus vaccines into wild birds, and identification of a protein cell receptor for murine noroviruses.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniel... Read More

Nobel Laureates and Ebola virus quarantine

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

Commonly Cited Stat of 10 Bacteria for Every 1 Human Cell Is Wrong

In a new paper, researchers debunk the common myth that in the human microbiome, bacteria outnumber human cells 10-to-1. By examining the colon, the researchers estimate that the total number of bacteria in the human microbiome is 38 trillion (for the average 70-kg man). For comparison, the auth... Read More

BDP FL maleimide - BODIPY analog - fluorescent labeling of proteins

BDP FL maleimide
http://www.lumiprobe.com/p/bodipy-fl-maleimide

BDP FL maleimide is a bright and photostable thiol-reactive dye for protein labeling, an ideal replacement for fluorescein for microscopy. BDP FL is a borondipyrromethene dye which has absorption and fluorescence spectra similar... Read More

My First #LuxArt Class Competition!

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

Heartland virus disease

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

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

Ebola virus enters the United States

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
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