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Bashing Botulism: Scientists Sleuth World’s Most Powerful Toxins

The May Issue of Agricultural Research published by the USDA-ARS contains several stories about microbes involved in everything from anthrax to zoonoses—diseases that can spread from animals to people.

One story that I found interesting is on the research being done to faster identify and de... Read More

The future of a holistic malaria prevention treatment

Despite evidence that housing plays an important role in the eradication of malaria, it is often overlooked.

As World Malaria Day gets closer each year, organizations release an increasing number of reports on the progress achieved and what needs to be done to eliminate the disease. Despite v... Read More

Archaea of Note


  • Lobus fulgidus is a sulfur-reducer that can sour oil wells.

  • Halobacteria are salt-loving microbes that give a pink tinge to salt water evaporation ponds, the Dead Sea and salted fish.

  • Pyrolobus fumarii led scientists to extend the upper te... Read More

TWiP 68 letters


Tim writes:


I listened to the latest TWIP this morning. Dickson mentioned the herbicide atrazine but thought it was a fungicide. It is actually a herbicide in the photosynthesis inhibitor class. Another bit of trivia about ag chemicals is that old chemicals like ... Read More

Henrietta Lacks (HeLa) genome sequence published then withdrawn

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

El podcast del Microbio Nº 102



























In the Nº 102 of the "El podcast del microbio" I discuss the panspermia theory and the results of the satellite Foton M3 experiment. En el p... Read More

BacterioFiles Micro Edition 146 - Engineered Escherichia Eliminates Enemies

This episode: Scientists engineered E. coli to seek and destroy pathogens!


(10 MB, 11 minutes)


A bacterium can sense pathogens in the body, swim toward them, and release a deadly biofilm-busting payload. This process is called pseudotaxis, and could be modified for many... Read More

El podcast del microbio Nº250. Cómo hacer un virus letal en cinco pasos (How to make a lethal virus in five steps)



























"El podcast del microbio" Nº 250 summarize the article published in November by New Scientist about the controversial work on mu... Read More

TWiV 57

dooleyperiod_7-8_ab Read More

Deans write to Obama about CIA vaccine scheme in Pakistan

Deans of public health schools in the United States have sent a letter to President Obama, in which they criticize the use of a vaccination campaign by the Central Intelligence Agency in Pakistan to hunt for Osama bin Laden. I wonder if he will reply. Read More

A virology course for all

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

TWiV 267: Snow in the headlights



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Alan Dove, Read More

TWiV 60

Eric asked for “advice on how to bridge the gap between clinical medicine, public health, and virology research.” I asked Scott Hammer MD for his thoughts on this question. Here is Dr. Hammer’s response:


Hi Vincent:


Thanks for forwarding this comment. In response, I’d inform y... Read More

India has been free of polio for three years

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

Classifications: What Difference Does it Make?

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

TWiP 60 letters

Maureen writes:


Our vaccine unit here at NIH did a study of malaria vaccine with some promising results. I know Dickson has been a champion of conquering malaria.


http://www.scie... Read More

El podcast del Microbio Nº144. Microbial Macthmakers (Las "Celestinas" microbianas)



























El Podcast del Microbio" Nº 144 is based in Merry Youle's post "Microbial Matchmakers" published in the blog "Small Thing C... Read More

Rating Pandemics: Tweaking the WHO Scale for Next Time…

The title pretty much sums up the main thrust of the post, which also includes section on cheap, rapid diagnostic tests that not only can identify known pathogens, but provide quite a bit of information about novel pathogens (link to a great Pop!Tech video lecture by Ian LIpkin). There's also a ... Read More

Avian influenza H7N9 viruses isolated from humans: What do the gene sequences mean?

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

Porcine circovirus DNA in rotavirus vaccine

The US Food and Drug Administration has recommended that administration of the Rotarix vaccine, which protects against rotavirus infection, be suspended. This action comes after an independent research group found that the vaccine contains DNA of porcine circovirus type 1. Read More

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