Poliovirus has made the cover of Time magazine. The Time cover image for the 14 January 2013 issue is a model of poliovirus bound to a soluble form of its cellular receptor, CD155. I was part of the team that solved the structure of this complex in 2000, together with the laboratories of Jim Hog... Read More
El podcast del Microbio Nº258 deals with the sequencing of the Yersinia pestis strain that causes the Black Death. El podcast de... Read More
In this blog post, I describe a simple "colony transformation" experiment I have done with my freshman students, illustrating transformation, antibiotic resistance, and GFP. The visual aspects help drive home the points effectivel. Read More
El podcast del Microbio Nº 170, 171 and 172 are dedicated to the history of the development of Penicillin as a therapeutic... Read More
El podcast del Microbio Nº178 is about the %-seconds rule depicted in the animated motion picture "Osmosis Jones". El podca... Read More
This episode: Bacteria use fungal filaments like highways to swim through soil!
(7.7 MB, 8.3 minutes)
Poliovirus recently made the cover of Time magazine. Prompted by a reader question, I searched the Time archive to find out if there have been other virology-themed covers. I found fifteen in all, depicting poliovirus (3), herpesvirus (1), HIV/AIDS (4), influenza (5), and SARS coronavirus (2) (I... Read More
Does a bacterium’s cell wall, shape, way of moving, and environment really matter?
Yes! The more we know about bacteria, the more we are able to figure out how to make microbes work for us or stop dangerous ones from causing serious harm. And, for those of us who like to ponder more philosop... Read More
Our bodies are made up by cells containing our own DNA. Plus 10 times as many with foreign DNA. The bacteria found on our skin, and inside our organs (intestine, vagina, mouth, nose, etc.) are referred to as our “microbiome”, outnumber our own cells by 10 to 1, and make up a vital organ with ind... Read More
Harvard University is home to some of the world’s finest virologists. But apparently they do not communicate with the writers at Harvard Magazine, where a botched story on the avian H5N1 influenza virus has just been published. Read More
El podcast del Microbio Nº259 describes some funny microbiological goofs in Spanish newspapers. El podcast del Microbio Nº 259 d... Read More
In the Nº 103 of the "El podcast del microbio" I resume the recent findings on carbon fixation by eukaryotic phytoplankton.
En "El podcast ... Read More
Students learn in many different ways than simply taking tests. In my Microbiology course, I have students write a length term paper (a "Microbiography"). As part of this process, students create one page "summaries" of their microbial topic, which I call "Nanobiographies." In this blog post,... Read More
The World Health Organization’s campaign to eradicate poliomyelitis made impressive inroads in 2012: only 212 cases were reported, compared with 620 the previous year; moreover, India remained polio-free. The dark side of this story is that as wild polio is eliminated, vaccine-associated poliomy... Read More
Yesterday many US newspapers carried front-page stories on the severity of influenza so far this season. The New York Times story began with “It is not your imagination — more people you know are sick this winter, even people who have had flu shots.” Is this really a bad flu season? Read More
Three years ago today, on 13 January 2011, the last case of poliomyelitis was reported in India. This achievement represents a remarkable turnaround for a country where control of the disease had for years been extremely difficult. As recently as 2009 there were 741 confirmed cases of polio caus... Read More
There have been over 60 human infections with avian influenza virus H7N9 in China, and cases have been detected outside of Shanghai, including Beijing, Zhejiang, Henan, and Anhui Provinces. Information on the first three cases has now been published, allowing a more detailed consideration of the... Read More