Until we have "action figures" of scientists, I do what I can to recognize scientists that have had a large and lasting influence on my academic career. In this blog post, I praise Dr. Moselio Schaechter for his clear and insightful approaches to microbiology. His enthusiasm, breadth of interes... Read More
In a recent New York Times OpEd entitled What We’re Afraid to Say About Ebola, Michaeal Osterholm wonders whether Ebola virus could go airborne:
You can now get Ebola only through direct contact with bodily fluids. If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one... Read More
Creating and maintaining a clean, sustainable water supply means delivering drinking water and collecting wastewater while dealing with pathogenic microorganisms ... Read More
The 1918 influenza pandemic was particularly lethal, not only for the very young and the very old (as observed for typical influenza), but unexpectedly also for young adults, 20 to 40 years of age (pictured). It has been suggested that the increased lethality in young adults occurred because the... Read More
The TWiV team discusses transmission of Ebola virus, and inhibition of Borna disease virus replication by viral DNA in the ground squirrel genome.
The coronavirus responsible for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is prevalent in camels throughout Saudi Arabia and has been around for at least 20 years, according to a study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
“Our study ... Read More
This week’s virology question comes from Eric, who writes:
I’m working on an MPH and in one of my classes we are currently studying the influenza virus. I’d forgotten that the genome is in 8 separate parts. Curious, I’ve been searching but can’t find any information as to why that is?
What... Read More
The Liberian man who was diagnosed with Ebola virus infection after traveling to Dallas, Texas, was treated with an antiviral drug called brincidofovir. This drug had originally been developed to treat infections with DNA-containing viruses. Why was it used to treat an Ebola virus infection? Read More
The time before the symptoms of a viral infection appear is called the incubation period. During this time, viral genomes are replicating and the host is responding, producing cytokines such as interferon that can have global effects, leading to the classical symptoms of an acute infection (e.g.... Read More
Six new cases of Heartland virus disease have been identified in residents of Missouri and Tennessee. The cause of this disease appears to be a member of the Phlebovirus genus in the Bunyaviridae family that was first identified in 2009 and appears to be transmitted by the Lone Star tick (Amblyo... Read More
As the West African epidemic of Ebola virus grows, so does misinformation about the virus, particularly how it is transmitted from person to person. Ebola virus is transmitted from human to human by close contact with infected patients and virus-containing body fluids. It does not spread among h... Read More
In the spring of each year I teach a virology course to undergraduates and masters students at Columbia University. I produce video recordings of all my lectures not only for students in the course, but for anyone else who is interested in learning about viruses.
You can find my virology lect... Read More
Suzanne writes (re Aphids):
The best way to get rid of aphids in the garden (the ants in my yard love to herd them onto my okra) is a sharp stream of water from the hose. Aphids wash right off! They don't tend to come back right away, either.
If you are looking for the perfect present for that infectious person in your life, there are many microbe-themed possibilities. Here are some suggestions, from t-shirts, to watercolors, glass sculptures, and paper to wrap it in. Read More
Many people have a new awareness of the disease known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge initiated by the ALS Association. Fewer might know that retroviruses have been proposed to play a role in the development of the disease. Read More
DNA microarrays are widely used in biological research and were once thought to be a very promising gene discovery tool. However, since the advent of next generation DNA sequencing, the popularity of DNA microarrays has steadily declined. Compared to the sequencing, microarray behavior is unce... Read More
This episode: Cancer-killing viruses could work even better when loaded into stem cells!
(8.3 MB, 9 minutes)
Antigenic variation is a hallmark of influenza virus that allows the virus to evade host defenses. Consequently influenza vaccines need to be reformulated frequently to keep up with changing viruses. In contrast, antigenic variation is not a hallmark of poliovirus – the same poliovirus vaccines ... Read More
Virologist John Holland passed away on 11 October 2013. I asked former members of his laboratory for their thoughts on his career and what he meant to them. Read More
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