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
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
The spring semester has begun at Columbia University, which means that it is time to teach my virology course. The fourth annual installment of my virology course, Biology W3310, has begun. This course, which I taught for the first time in 2009, is intended for advanced undergraduates and conven... Read More
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
In early 2012 influenza virus researchers around the world decided to stop working on highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus. This decision came after work from the Fouchier and Kawaoka laboratories revealed the isolation of influenza H5N1 strains that can be passed among ferrets by aeroso... Read More
Earlier this month the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) published the DNA sequence of the genome of HeLa cells, the cell line that is widely used for research in virology, cell biology, and many other areas. This cell line was produced from a tumor taken from Henrietta Lacks in 1951.... Read More
Fun science activity for kids!
Have you ever wondered how scientists extract DNA from an organism? All living organisms have DNA, which is short for deoxyribonucleic acid; it is basically the blueprint for everything that happens inside an organism’s cells. Overall, DNA tells an organism how ... Read More
Hello Vince and Dick,
I just found your podcast and I love it! You have some wonderfully witty banter.
I am only on my 4th episode (that's what you call a podcast segment right?), and have a question pertaining to my original reason for ... Read More
El podcast del Microbio Nº 300 and 301 is dedicated to Joseph Lister, the British surgeon pioneer of antiseptic surgery, o... Read More
This episode: Soil microbe has a good enzyme for degrading cyanide pollution!
Download Episode (4.2 MB, 4.5 minutes)
Rastreo de Fuente de Contaminacion Microbiana (Microbial Source Tracking), o el uso de diferentes metodos para encontrar la fuente de contaminacion microbiana en aguas es el tema de hoy en La Radio el M... Read More
Sourdough bread resists mold, unlike conventionally leavened bread. Now Michael Gaenzle and colleagues of the University of Alberta, Edmonton, show why. During sourdough production, bacteria convert the linoleic acid in bread flour to a compound that has powerful antifungal activity. The researc... Read More
About 2% of the world’s population is chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). This enveloped, positive-strand RNA virus was discovered in 1989, but serological and phylogenetic evidence indicates that it has been infecting humans for hundreds of years, perhaps as long ago as the 14th ... Read More
Los anfibios que actúan como indicadores del estatus del ecosistema; éste es el tema que será discutido en el episodio de hoy con nuestra invitada, la Dra. Read More
The risk of being infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is substantially enhanced in individuals with other sexually transmitted diseases. For example, infection with herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) increases the risk ratio of acquiring HIV from 2 to 4. Explanations for t... 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
Each year as I teach my undergraduate virology course, I record each lecture and put them online where they are freely accessible. A student in my virology course approached me recently to thank me for making the lectures available online, and wondered why other professors did not so the same. T... Read More