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The surprising plasticity of the SSV1 archaeal viral genome

SSV1 is an archaeal virus found in the hot, acidic waters where its Sulfolobus bacterial hosts reside. Researchers have found its genome is surprisingly tolerant of mutation, including loss of one of its structural capsid genes, despite these harsh conditions. Read more about the manipulation of... Read More

Exams, Science Art, and Learning!

In this blog post, I describe how I encourage microbiology students to draw cartoons about basic concepts in the course. I find that this approach promotes ownership, better comprehension, and gives me better insight into what the students are "seeing" in my class. Read More

Satellites - the viral kind

Satellites are subviral agents that differ from viroids because they depend on the presence of a helper virus for their propagation. Satellite viruses are particles that contain nucleic acid genomes encoding a structural protein that encapsidates the satellite genome. Satellite RNAs do not encod... Read More

Livestock-Associated Staphylococcus aureus: The United States Experience

Animal associated S. aureus are distinct from human strains but some recent studies suggested the human infection caused by animal origin strain of MRSA. Extensive and unregulated use of antibiotic in animal husbandry might be one of the causes for development of multidrug resistant strain. Tran... Read More

Measles in the brain: Fusion gone awry

The entry of enveloped viruses into cells begins when the membrane that surrounds these virus particles fuse with a cell membrane. The process of virus-cell fusion must be tightly regulated, to make sure it happens in the right cells. The fusion activity of measles viruses isolated from the brai... Read More

TWiM #152: Wooden steps

The TWiMmers get cozy with symbionts: the bacteria that allow a giant shipworm to oxidize sulfur, and algae that live within salamander cells.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Michael Schmidt, ... Read More

Happy Microbial Valentines Day---In Words of Living Light!

In this short blog post, I "write" on Petri dishes with bioluminescent bacteria to create words and poems in "living light." I also write a haiku to quorum sensing in the same style! Read More

TWiEVO 19: The beauty of the story

On the latest episode of the science show This Week in Evolution, our guest is Jonathan Weiner, outstanding science writer and Professor of Journalism at Columbia University. Jonathan has written a number of amazing books about science, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Beak of the Finch; Tim... Read More

BacterioFiles 295 - Fly Ferries Fungus Feebleness

This episode: Fungus-eating flies transfer viruses that help make fungi less harmful to plants!


(7.8 MB, 8.5 minutes)


Show notes: 


... Read More

The Epidemiology and Transmissibility of Zika Virus in Giradot and San Andres Island, Colombia, Sept. 2015 to Jan. 2016

Transmission of Zika virus (ZIKV) was first detected in Colombia in September 2015. As of April 2016, Colombia had reported over 65,000 cases of Zika virus disease (ZVD). We analysed daily surveillance data of ZVD cases reported to the health authorities of San Andres and Girardot, Colombia, bet... Read More

Let It (Microbially) Snow...

I made this video in October of 2015, with my Biology 350 Microbiology students at the University of Puget Sound. A drop of Pseudomonas syringae expressing ice nucleation protein hits supercooled pure water, and fun results. This is the way that Snomax works to commercially generate snow, inci... Read More

Advancing Phage Therapy

New research conducted at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida and the National Cancer Institute, in Bethesda, Maryland demonstrate that a subset of bacteriophages, dubbed “superspreaders,” potentially play a major role in transmitting antimicrobial resistance. The research, describe... Read More

BacterioFiles 293 - Millet Microbe Makes Meshes

This episode: Bacteria in finger millet roots create special killing traps for damaging fungi!


(7.5 MB, 8.25 minutes)


Show notes: 


... Read More

TWiV 442: The New York Tim

Freelance science journalist Tim Requarth joins the TWiVers to explain why scientists should stop thinking that explaining science will fix  information illiteracy.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello,&... Read More

BacterioFiles 296 - Predator Permits Pathogen Penetration

This episode: Tiny crustaceans eat paramecia, allowing viruses to infect algae inside them!


(9.1 MB, 9.9 minutes)


Show notes: 


Follow-up to episode 259: Read More

Are you ready for the winter?

The winter is coming you should be ready..

Take these steps for your home

Many people prefer to remain indoors in the winter, but staying inside is no guarantee of safety. Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months.
•Winterize your home. ◦Install weather str... Read More

Infectious agents with no genome

If the reader does not believe that viroids and satellites are distinctive, then surely prions, infectious agents composed only of protein, must impress.

The question of whether infectious agents exist without genomes arose with the discovery and characterization of infectious agents associat... Read More

Smartphone microscope turns microbiology into game time

A new 3-D printed, easily assembled smartphone microscope developed at Stanford University turns microbiology into game time. The device allows kids to play games or make more serious observations with miniature light-seeking microbes called Euglena.

When it’s assembled, it has a platform for... Read More

Global Warming Damages Symbiotic Organisms

Ten years ago, Takema Fukatsu, PhD, prime senior researcher and leader, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan, was invited to Kyoto University as a symposium speaker of a meeting organized by Kenji Fujisaki, PhD, a researcher in the University's Graduat... Read More

You Say Auto-phagy, I Say Au-toph-agy: Let's Call the Whole Thing Awfully Amazing

The Nobel Prize for Medicine this year went to Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi of the Tokyo Institute for Technology for his work on autophagy, the process of digesting unneeded or damaged cellular components. This process plays a role in many central cellular activities, with applications ranging from gen... Read More
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