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Teaching Freshmen about Transformation, Drug Resistance, and Gene Regulation!

In this blog post, I describe how I use the commonly available pGLO plasmid to teach freshman students basic concepts about transformation, receptor recognition, drug resistance mechanisms, and gene regulation. Oh, and fluorescence via GFP! Read More

"The Amazing Adventures of the Virologists” Part One - Vaccines _ 6

"Hivi and his team of viruses (Ebola, Pox,..etc) believe they can win the battle, but the Virologists (who are real famous professors) beat them. However, new viruses pop-up, it will be a long battle. This makes the story very interesting and ever so engaging."

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

Happy Luxmas 2015!

In this blogpost, I celebrate the microbiological season with some microbial merriment: ice nucleation bacteria, drawing with reporter gene bacteria, and painting with bioluminescent microbes. Every day is Luxmas to me! Read More

A Bornavirus / host interactome

A referenced interactome of host genes and proteins affected by the Bornavirus. KEGG pathways of the host arm of the interactome are also linked from the interactome page. If you have any data to add please use the email link on the page and I will update the various pathways. Read More

Breathing New Life into DNA Microarrays

DNA microarrays are widely used in biological research and were once thought to be a very promising gene discovery tool. However, since the advent of next generation DNA sequencing, the popularity of DNA microarrays has steadily declined. Compared to the sequencing, microarray behavior is unce... Read More

Click-Chemistry Labeling of Oligonucleotides and DNA - Lumiprobe - Protocol

Click chemistry is a versatile reaction that can be used for the synthesis of a variety of conjugates. Virtually any biomolecules can be involved, and labeling with small molecules, such as fluorescent dyes, biotin, and other groups can be readily achieved.

Click chemistry reaction takes pl... Read More

Attenuated influenza vaccine enhances bacterial colonization of mice

Infection with influenza virus is known to increase susceptibility to bacterial infections of the respiratory tract. In a mouse model of influenza, increased bacterial colonization was also observed after administration of an infectious, attenuated influenza virus vaccine. Primary influenza viru... Read More

Technological advances reveal finer details about chronic infection

How do chronic infections change over time? This is the broad question addressed in recent research published in the Journal of Virology. In their study, a team of scientists headed by Fabio Luciani investigated a hepatitis B virus infection over a course of 15 years.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) ... Read More

Long-term effects of Ebolavirus infection

The thousands of survivors of the Ebolavirus outbreak in western Africa – more than at any other time – are fortunate to have survived the disease. However, their health problems are not behind them. A new study shows that the survivors of Ebolavirus have long-term sequelae more than 2 years aft... 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

Study reveals intestinal bacteria succession during recovery from cholera in Bangladesh

A new study delineates a sequential pattern of changes in the intestinal microbial population of patients recovering from cholera in Bangladesh, findings that may point to ways of speeding recovery from the dangerous diarrheal disease. The report also finds what appear to be consistent differenc... Read More

Supercomputer Modelling of a Complete Human Viral Pathogen: Poliovirus (Polio virus)

Follow the reconstruction and simulation of poliovirus using the BlueGene/Q supercomputer at the Victorian Life Sciences Computation Initiative. The poliovirus model is being used as a basis for understanding antiviral drugs, virus infection and helps us to learn how to model related viruses suc... Read More

Freshman Biology Creative Projects

I am a big believer that different pedagogical approaches can "reach" different students. In most of my classes, I give students an optional assignment: come up with a creative project that explores some aspect of class. This takes several steps. First, I make the students come up with an ide... Read More

Origin of segmented RNA virus genomes

Segmented genomes abound in the RNA virus world. They are found in virus particles from different families, and can be double stranded (Reoviridae) or single stranded of (+) (Closteroviridae) or (-) (Orthomyxoviridae) polarity. Our recent discussion of the advantages of a segmented viral genome,... Read More

Animals (and Plants) in a Microbial World

In this blog post (and fourth "Mu-Tube" video), I explore the idea that all animals and plants have evolved as part of a microbial world, and thus microbes are a part of us. I do this by having my undergraduate students explore two recently publications by Dr. Margaret McFall-Ngai,and recording... Read More

Retroviral influence on human embryonic development

About eight percent of human DNA is viral: it consists of retroviral genomes produced by infections that occurred many years ago. These endogenous retroviruses are passed from parent to child in our DNA. Some of these viral genomes are activated for a brief time during human embryogenesis, sugge... Read More

Mineralization of sand particles boosts microbial water filtration

Mineral coatings on sand particles actually encourage microbial activity in the rapid sand filters that are used to treat groundwater for drinking, according to a paper published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. These findings resoundingly refute, for the first time, the... Read More

"Never Really Alone" with Rob Dunn

As part of my freshman writing seminar in the Fall of 2014, I was fortunate to have a number of fascinating experts in symbioses and parasitism be willing to "televisit" my students. Here is Dr. Rob Dunn of North Carolina State University, discussing his laboratory's work with Demodex face mite... Read More

New vaccines againts zika can prevent neurological disorders in newborn mice

Two vaccines against Zika virus developed at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have successfully conveyed immunity from female mice to pups conceived weeks after the mother's vaccination.

When challenged with Zika virus within a week of their birth, both vaccines protected the p... Read More
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