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Whole-genome sequencing can help ID hospital outbreaks

Drug-resistant infections are becoming one of the scariest epidemics since the advent of antibiotic discovery. Although microbes like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, and multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa are responsible for... Read More

TWiV 389: Alphabet hepatitis with Stan Lemon

Host: Vincent Racaniello 


Guest: Stan Lemon


Vinc... Read More

TWiV 390: Building a better mosquito trap

Project Premonition, a Microsoft Research project that uses drones to capture mosquitoes and analyze them for pathogens, preprint servers, and three mouse models for Zika virus induced birth defects are the topics of this episode hosted by the TWiumvirate and theirs guests Etha... Read More

Dispatches from ASM Microbe - Sunday

We’ve had a whirlwind of amazing talks, poster sessions, and networking sessions so far at ASM Microbe 2016. In our previous two Dispatches from ASM Microbe, we’ve covered microbiomes, for which research ranges from extremely basic (Which microbes are present? How do we quantify them?) to clinic... Read More

A microbial mystery in the Namib Desert

The Namib Desert is different than other deserts: it has an unusual geographic feature that differentiates it from most others. This desert (map, right) is where you can find ‘fairy circles,’ or circular areas absent of growth in an already plant-scarce environment. These deadened circles are su... Read More

Scientists, share your Zika virus reagents!

Today I learned that a number of investigators refuse to share their samples of Zika virus with other laboratories.

There are countless stories about scientists not sharing reagents because they want to be the first to make a discovery. This behavior allows them to publish first, secure more ... Read More

New bat gammaherpesvirus may help understand bats' role in zoonoses

Many emerging viruses (such as SARS-CoV, Ebola virus, and the Henipavirus genus) are thought to have zoonotic reservoirs in the regional bat populations. Bats offer a threat to spreading these viruses because their flight capacity makes them readily mobile. Also, there are a whole lot of them: w... Read More

Changing the mindset of a pathogen-based vaccine

It’s hard to turn on the news at the moment and not hear about the latest emerging disease, Zika. The filovirus joins a cadre of infectious diseases spread by arthropod vectors – meaning the disease is passed between infected individuals via insect bites. A long list of microbes are spread this ... Read More

Phage diffusion on a bacterial lawn: not all plaques are created equal

Like us, bacteria have their own microbial attackers, in the form of bacteria-specific viruses called bacteriophage, or phage. These phage come in a variety of flavors but can be broadly categorized into virulent, which immediately begin to replicate and lyse (burst) the infected cell quickly, a... Read More

TWiV 396: Influenza viruses with Peter Palese

Vincent speaks with Peter Palese about his illustrious career in virology, from early work on neuraminidases to universal influenza virus vaccines.


Host: Vincent Racaniello 


Guest:&nbs... Read More

Top secret, viruses with RNA genomes!

Today it is well known that viruses may contain DNA (poxvirus, mimivirus) or RNA (influenza virus, Zika virus), but for many years it was thought that genomes were only made of DNA. The surprise at finding only RNA in a virus is plainly evident in a 1953 letter from Harriett Ephrussi-Taylor to J... Read More

TWiEVO 1: When (scientific) worlds collide

Nels and Vincent launch a new podcast on evolution, This Week in Evolution (TWiEVO) and start by discussing how the field has changed through recent mergers of evolutionary and experimental biology in the post-genome era. Read More

TWiV 393: Lovers and livers

The TWiVerati revisit possible sexual transmission of Zika virus, and reveal how a cell protein that allows hepatitis C virus replication in cell culture enhances vitamin E mediated protection against lipid peroxidation.


Hosts:  Read More

Are Viruses Alive?

Plenty of people have weighed in on the question, 'Are Viruses Alive?' Here is my answer - different from all the others. Read More

Congenital Zika Syndrome

Data from several clinical studies in Brazil establish a strong link between infection of pregnant women with Zika virus and a variety of birth defects collectively called congenital Zika syndrome.

In the latest study conducted in Rio de Janeiro, the authors enrolled 88 pregnant women who had... Read More

Assessing gram stain error rates

Because of its simplicity and the rapid time-to-result turnaround, gram staining plays an important role in clinical microbiology. Learning the cell structure helps eliminate potential disease etiologies: learning an isolate is a gram-negative rod doesn’t tell you what the diagnosis is, but it h... Read More

Zika virus, like all other viruses, is mutating

Not long after the appearance of an outbreak of viral disease, first scientists, and then newswriters, blame it all on mutation of the virus. It happened during the Ebolavirus outbreak in West Africa, and now it’s happening with Zika virus.

The latest example is by parasitologist Peter Hotez,... Read More

E. coli, Salmonella, and Norovirus - oh my!

This upcoming Monday, Chipotle restaurants across the country will close as its employees discuss food safety and safe food handling. The restaurant was in the news throughout the last half of 2015, beginning with an outbreak of E. coli in Seattle (which was kept secret!), followed by another E.... Read More

Early-life bacterial colonizers may influence later development of asthma

This past weekend, I went to visit a friend and meet his twin toddler boys for the first time. Though both boys eagerly ran around the playground we visited, one was just slightly less active. “He has asthma,” his dad explained to me, “but his brother doesn’t.” Why would two boys with the same e... Read More

TWiV 398: Permission to be intuitive

Vincent speaks with Sandy Weller about her career and her work on the mechanisms of synthesis, maturation, cleavage and packaging of viral DNA genomes.


Host: Vincent Racaniello 


Guest: ... Read More

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