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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard Elliott, virologist

Virologist Richard Elliott passed away on 5 June 2015. I have known Richard since 1979 and I would like to provide some personal recollections of this outstanding virologist. A summary of his work can be found at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research science blog. 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

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

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

Immunological Reaction of Poison Ivy - Explained Through Poetry

Immunology Explained Through Poetry - What happens when one touches a poison ivy?

Enjoy!

Billy was at summer camp,
And wanted to feel like a champ,
So he searched for a flower,
That would stop Susie’s glower,
But found poison ivy instead.

While Billy was later playing,
He had no i... Read More

Viruses in the extreme

Many microbes live in extreme environments, encountering conditions that are very hot, very cold, highly acidic, or very salty. The viruses that infect such microbes must also be able to retain infectivity in extreme conditions. How do they do it?

Clues come from the observations that the gen... 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

Magical Monsoon:rAiNs and Geosmin

A Geosmin Story:
A Musty / Muddy smell - the earthy odour after a heavy spatter of rain is aesthetic to senses.
A poet sitting in such ambiance lets his thoughts to wander randomly and comes out with a sweet piece of write up.
An Artist can do wonders on his canvas flowing with the mood.
Man... Read More

New Drugs May Come from Microbes in Our Guts

Plants and Microorganisms are the major sources of drugs till date. Most of these "natural products" come from a few genera of soil and marine bacteria that have long been known for their prolific chemistry. The classical process of discovering drugs from microorganisms have two drawbacks- it is... Read More

Rhizosphere

Fungi isolated from Rhizosphere soil Read More
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