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Pithovirus: Bigger than Pandoravirus with a smaller genome

A new virus called Pithovirus sibericum has been isolated from 30,000 year old Siberian permafrost. It is the oldest DNA virus of eukaryotes ever isolated, showing that viruses can retain infectivity in nature for very long periods of time. 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

Therapeutic teamwork: Coupling oncolytic viruses with immunotherapy to destroy tumor cells

A recent study by scientists at the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy offers a new, multifaceted therapy for destroying tumors. A team of researchers led by Dmitriy Zamarin combined checkpoint blockade, a technique aimed at enhancing antitumor immune responses, with oncolytic viral therapy,... Read More

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

Implications of finding poliovirus in sewers of Brazil and Israel

Wild poliovirus has been detected in the sewers of Brazil and Israel. Fortunately, no cases of poliomyelitis have been reported in either country. Why is poliovirus present in these countries and what are the implications for the eradication effort?

Wild type poliovirus (e.g. not vaccine-deri... 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

Remembering Carl Woese: A Memorial Issue of RNA Biology

The journal "RNA Biology" just published a memorial issue dedicated to the late, great Carl Woese. The entire issue is open access. I have a small contribution, but the entire issue is filled with great science, wonderful memories, and a fine celebration of a scientist who changed the way we l... Read More

Some "Rules" for Academia and Research

In this blog post, I describe some "rules for academics" as well as my own "rules for research." I hope that readers find them useful and perhaps a bit humorous. Read More

asm2014: Five Things Not to Miss at ASM’s 114th General Session

You don’t want to miss asm2014. We’ve compiled a list of five things not to miss at the 114th American Society for Microbiology General Session.

Click the "source" link or copy/paste this URL into your browser: http://blog.puritanmedproducts.com/bid/383376/asm2014-Five-Things-Not-to-Miss-at-... Read More

MERS-CoV genome found in dromedary camels

Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), first identified in the fall of 2012 in a Saudi Arabian patient, has since infected over 160 individuals, causing 71 deaths. Identifying the source of infection is important for efforts to prevent further infections. Recently two studie... Read More

BacterioFiles 180 - Phage Functions Fight Fortifications

This episode: Some phages can fight back against bacterial defenses with recently discovered genes!


(8.3 MB, 9 minutes)


Show notes: 
Journal Paper Read More

ASM Live at ICAAC - The Live Internet Talk Show

Participate in ASM Live at ICAAC 2014 in Washington, D.C., where we will be live streaming video interviews of select presenters with host Read More

Report on Viruses Looks Beyond Disease

Recently, the American Academy of Microbiology released a new report, Viruses Throughout Life & Time: Friends, Foes, Change Agents that delves into the origin of viruses, the overlooked biological and microbial ecological role of viruses, and how these live forms have contributed to evolution. T... Read More

ASM GM 2014 - Microbes and Cancer

Until recently cancers were seen as lifestyle and genetic diseases, brought on by exposure to carcinogens or a mutated gene. Recent studies are linking microbes to many diffe... Read More

Foldscope: Origami-Based Paper Microscope

PLOS ONE authors Cybulski, Clements and Prakash describe an ultra-low-cost origami-based approach for large-scale manufacturing of microscopes, specifically demonstrating brightfield, darkfield, and fluorescence microscopes. Merging principles of optical design with origami enables high-volume f... Read More

Microbial biogeography of wine grapes is conditioned by cultivar, vintage, and climate

Wine grapes present a unique biogeography model, wherein microbial biodiversity patterns across viticultural zones not only answer questions of dispersal and community maintenance, they are also an inherent component of the quality, consumer acceptance, and economic appreciation of a culturally ... Read More

Where Biology and Art Work Together in the Classroom

In this blog entry, I describe how working with the artist Katie McKissick ("Beatrice the Biologist") helped improve my freshman biology course. The intersection of biology and art benefits both! Read More

ASM GM 2014 - Windshield Wiper Fluid: A Source of Legionnaires?

A form of bacteria responsible for respiratory illness, including the deadly pneumonia known as Legionnaire's disease, may be able to grow in windshield washer fluid and was isolated from nearly 75% of school buses tested in one district in Arizona. The participant will discuss findings from ... 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

Influenza A viruses in bats

It is well known that aquatic birds are a major reservoir of influenza A viruses, and that pandemic human influenza virus strains of the past century derive viral genes from this pool. The recent discovery of two new influenza A viruses in bats suggests that this species may constitute another r... Read More

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