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Could a plant virus have found a way to infect humans?

It has always been assumed that plant viruses cannot infect animals, and vice versa, but plant viruses are known to be abundant in human faeces.

Now Didier Raoult at the University of the Mediterranean in Marseille, France, and his team think a pepper virus is making people sick, too.

They... Read More

BacterioFiles 174 - Synthetic Cells Sense and Send Signals

This episode: Bacteria with engineered circuits can detect and keep a record of stuff in their environment, like in the gut!


(14.6 MB, 15.9 minutes)


Show notes: 
Read More

Using Bacteria to Turn Sand Dunes into Architecture

Architecture student Magnus Larsson details his bold plan to transform the harsh Sahara desert using bacteria and a surprising construction material: the sand itself. Read More

TWiV 262: Wrong form, right professor

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Host: Vincent Racaniello


Guest: Read More

Put Your Hands Together

Scientists estimate that people are not washing their hands often or well enough and may transmit up to 80% of all infections by their hands. From doorknobs to animals to food, harmful germs can live on almost everything. Handwashing may be your single most important act to help stop the spre... Read More

TWiV 221: Bunya there, done that

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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Dickson Despommier, and Read More

TWiP 69 letters


Richard writes:


Hi Vincent and Dickson,


I enjoy TWIP, and often recommend it to my students. I'm a parasitologist, primarily a Leishmaniac, but I have learnt a lot from TWIP. I find it both more educational and entertaining than Car Talk.


The disc... Read More

From a food blender to real-time fluorescent imaging

Although Avery, MacLeod, and McCarty showed in 1944 that nucleic acid was both necessary and sufficient for the transfer of bacterial genetic traits, protein was still suspected to be a critical component of viral heredity. Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase showed that this hypothesis was incorrec... Read More

TWiM 54 Letters

Jacob writes:


Hi all,

Saw this media release from the Australian Institute of Marine Science about researchers isolating a combination of probiotic bacteria to assist in the prevention of Vibrio infections of spiny lobsters in aquaculture and thought of TW... Read More

TWiV 125 Letters

Todd writes:


Hey Docs!


I'm a computer programmer who listens to podcasts on my long commute. The highest science education that I've had was college Chemistry. As an Electrical Engineer the science classes we took tended to not be biology oriented, so while so... Read More

Building Community through Public Toilets

The Global Water Challenge (GWC) is a coalition of leading organizations in the water and sanitation sector. In this video GWC finalist David Kuria of Ecotact Limited, a Kenyan company dedicated to bringing public toilets to an area where there were only two for 60,000 people, discusses the need... Read More

TWiV 77

Wladimir writes:


In regard to your question as to cases of known alteration of host behavior by virus that increases the rate of contact among hosts (Twiv 70), the most dramatic example is given by rabies. This extraordinary virus can convert a neurologically and behaviorally... Read More

BacterioFiles 162 - Desert Dwellers Densify Dunes

This episode: Spraying cyanobacteria could turn deserts into useful land!


(9.3 MB, 10.13 minutes)


Show notes: 
Ne... Read More

Dissection of the Burkholderia intracellular life cycle using a photothermal nanoblade

Using genetic dissection and photothermal nanoblade delivery, a recent paper published in PNAS by Jeff F. Miller, MD., Chair, Microbiology, Immunology, & Molecular Genetics, UCLA, and others, presents data that suggest that the primary means for intercellular spread of Burkholderia pseudomallei ... Read More

TWiM #87: Avogadro, archaeal fossils, and ICAAC

Hosts: Vincent RacanielloMichael Schmidt, ... Read More

Whooping cough predicted to double in 20 years, new vaccination strategies will be needed

A new paper in PLoS recommends two vaccination strategies to better prevent whooping cough.

"In the absence of adolescent or adult vaccination, pertussis incidence among adults is predicted to more than double in 20 years. Implementing an adult program in addition to childhood and adolescent... Read More

BacterioFiles Micro Edition 144 - Copper Chelator Calms Quicksilver

This episode: Bacteria could reduce mercury's toxicity in their environment!


(6.5 MB, 7 minutes)


Methanotrophs (bacteria that use methane for their carbon and energy) secrete siderophore-like compounds that are usually used to chelate copper and make it more bioavailable, but ... Read More

Airway Microbiota and Pathogen Abundance in Age-Stratified Cystic Fibrosis Patients

Abstract - Bacterial communities in the airways of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients are, as in other ecological niches, influenced by autogenic and allogenic factors. However, our understanding of microbial colonization in younger versus older CF airways and the association with pulmonary function ... Read More

Universal influenza vaccines

The need to re-formulate the influenza virus vaccine in response to viral antigenic drift and shift makes for complex logistics of vaccine production and administration. Surveillance programs must be conducted each year to identify strains that are likely to predominate and cause disease. Wouldn... Read More

BacterioFiles Micro Edition 29 - Mid-air Microbial Mix

This episode: A sample of bacteria in city air!


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Read More
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