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Getting Started with MicrobeWorld

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Happy #MicrobialHalloween From My #Bio350 Students (Plus Some Happy #ParasiticHalloween Wishes)!

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

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

TWiV 417: O is the loneliest letter

The Fellowship of the Virus trace the early history of HIV in North America, based on genome sequences obtained from late 1970s archival sera, which also reveal that Gaetan Dugas was not Patient Zero.


Hosts:  Read More

BacterioFiles 272 - Parasite Prevents Pollution Poisoning

This episode: Worm parasites infecting brine shrimp help them survive better in arsenic-polluted environments!


(7.9 MB, 8.6 minutes)


Show notes: 
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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

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

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

Toward better understanding of fecal microbiota transplants

In recent years, researchers have learned that gut microbiota play a role in a number of human diseases, including Clostridium difficile infection, irritable bowel syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, and autism spectrum disorder. The revelations have scientists hopeful that fecal microbiota transplan... 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

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

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

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

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

"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

Borrelia burgdorferi / host interactome

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

BacterioFiles 278 - Fungal Family Friends and Foes

This episode: Some fungi change from making plants sick to being helpful to plants! How do plants react to them?


(8.1 MB, 8.8 minutes)


Show notes: 


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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

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

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
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