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Using Routine Surveillance Data to Estimate the Epidemic Potential of Emerging Zoonoses: Application to the Emergence of US Swine Origin Influenza A H3N2v Virus

A simple new method better assesses the risks posed by emerging zoonotic viruses (those transmissible from animals to humans), according to a study published in PLOS Medicine this week. Dr. Simon Cauchemez and colleagues from Imperial College London in the UK and the Centers for Disease Control ... Read More

A saga of HeLa cells

We have been using HeLa cells in my laboratory since 1982, when I arrived at Columbia University Medical Center fresh from postdoctoral work with David Baltimore at MIT. I brought with me a line of HeLa cells and used them for 30 years for our research on viruses. Here is a story of how we lost ... Read More

Programmed Cell Death Activates Latent Herpesviruses

Researchers have found that apoptosis, a natural process of programmed cell death, can reactivate latent herpesviruses in the dying cell. The results of their research, which could have broad clinical significance since many cancer chemotherapies cause apoptosis, was published ahead of print in ... Read More

Discover Your Inner Scientist: Wolbachia In Nashville 2013

A CNN iReport about an integrative lab series known as the Wolbachia in Nashville includes area high school students from School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt with the purpose of bringing real-world scientific research on microbes into high school biology classes. Angela Eeds, director with... Read More

Fourth Season of El Podcast del Microbio: Francisco Javier Balmis



























The new season of El podcast del Microbio has begun. The radio broadcast Nº 331, 332 and 333 are dedicated to Francisco Javier Balmis, the Spanish physician who headed an 1804 expedition to Spanish America t... Read More

Why do viruses cause disease?

Virulence, the capacity to cause disease, varies markedly among viruses. Some viruses cause lethal disease while others do not. For example, nearly all humans infected with rabies virus develop a disease of the central nervous system which ultimately leads to death. In contrast, most humans are ... Read More

Interview of Dr. Tim Sandle

Q) Dr. Tim Sandle, the well known researcher, professor, author and science communicator. It is much interesting for me to take an interview of an eminent person who is well known for the communicating science. Starting from your early childhood life, how you used to take science as that time?
... Read More

A few reminiscences on Hilary Koprowski

Virologist Hilary Koprowski died on 11 April 2013 at the age of 96. His main accomplishments are nicely summarized in the New York Times, but for a more comprehensive overview of his life, I highly recommend his biography Listen to the Music by Roger Vaughan. I did not have many opportunities to... Read More

Virologists plan influenza H7N9 gain of function experiments

A group of virologists lead by Yoshihiro Kawaoka and Ron Fouchier have sent a letter to Nature and Science outlining the experiments they propose to carry out with influenza H7N9 virus. Avian influenza H7N9 virus has caused over 130 human infections in China with 43 fatalities. The source of the... 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

Treating hepatitis C by blocking a cellular microRNA

Miravirsen is a drug that binds to and blocks the function of a cellular microRNA called miR-122 that is required for the replication of hepatitis C virus (HCV). Treatment of chimpanzees chronically infected with HCV with this drug leads to suppression of viral replication. The results of a phas... Read More

Viral fiber art

Viruses inspire many different types of art, but I was unaware of the number of people who make viruses out of fiber! Keep reading for some photographs of what I have found. Read More

BacterioFiles Micro Edition 162 - Desert Dwellers Densify Dunes

This episode: Spraying cyanobacteria could turn deserts into useful land!


(9.3 MB, 10.13 minutes)


Show notes: 
Ne... Read More

Incidence of asymptomatic human influenza A(H5N1) virus infection

When virologists Fouchier and Kawaoka were isolating avian influenza H5N1 viruses that could transmit among ferrets by aerosol, there was consternation from some quarters that such viruses might escape from the laboratory and cause a pandemic in humans. Part of the fear came from the fact that t... 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

Under the Microscope and the new science blog network by PopSci

Popular Science has just launched a new science blogging network with 13 blogs. Among them are two that have a focus on microbiology, Under the Microscope by JA Tetro and Our Modern Plague by Brooke Borel. Each blog has an inaugural post that outlines the author's vision for future subject matte... Read More

Poliovirus silently (and not so silently) spreads

Poliovirus has been found in sewage in Israel. The virus detected is not vaccine-derived poliovirus; it is wild-type 1 poliovirus, the strain that occurs naturally in the wild and which the World Health Organization is trying very hard to eradicate from the planet. 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

Interactive Handwashing Advice

Pharmaceutical experts NSF DBA have created an interactive guide to hand washing.
Read More

New American Academy of Microbiology report tells the story of E. coli

News headlines often paint E. coli as a vicious bacterium, capable of causing disease and death to those unfortunate enough to ingest it. But that is only a tiny minority of E. coli, and a very small part of the story of this remarkable bacterium; its relationship to human health and the food we... Read More

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