I was asked to write a commentary for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to accompany an article entitled SARS-like WIV1-CoV poised for human emergence. I’d like to explain why I wrote it and why I spent the last five paragraphs railing against regulating gain-of-function experi... Read More
Feeling under the weather? Are you congested, maybe having a hard time breathing, especially at night? Don’t worry – this is your body’s natural response to an infection. Mucus production is generally regarded as antimicrobial – it traps particles like virions before they can infect nearby host ... Read More
Near Kisameet Bay on the central coast of British Columbia sits a deposit of clay that covers 5 acres and spans a depth up to 42 feet in places. This vast smear formed 10,000 years ago as glacial melt filled a granite basin and fine minerals silted out.
The ancient clay likely holds secrets t... Read More
Evolutionary theory predicts that pairs of chromosomes within asexual organisms will evolve independently of each other and become increasingly different over time in a phenomenon called the 'Meselson effect.' Researchers from the University of Glasgow have demonstrated the Meselson effect for t... Read More
In 2015, an unexpectedly large outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in South Korea had a disastrous impact on the whole country and highlighted scientists limited knowledge of this virus. Now, new research into this outbreak has revealed some very surprising findin... Read More
Can Zika virus be sexually transmitted? Perhaps in very rare cases, but the main mode of transmission is certainly via mosquitoes. That’s why I’ve shamelessly stolen a quote on this topic from Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University: Mosquito transmission is the highway, whereas sexual tr... Read More
Is the way to treat heart disease through a person's stomach? According to a new study, the answer is yes. Researchers have found that a compound found in red wine, resveratrol, reduces the risk of heart disease by changing the gut microbiome.
Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause ... Read More
Host: Jeff Fox with special guests, Øjvind Moestrup, Peter Ulvskov, and Jesper Harholt.
Øjvind Moestrup and Peter Ulvskov, both at the University of Copenhagen and Jesper Harholt at Carlsberg Laboratory, also in Copenhagen, Denmark, talk with Jeff Fox about their hypothesis about terr... Read More
In this blog post, I describe how I had students create their own cartoon depicting microbiological ideas and concepts that most tickled their fancy. I did this on their final exam, and the students came up with really interesting and entertaining ideas. IT's always interesting to see what stu... Read More
Hoy tenemos la suerte de contar con la compañía de Michael Z. Levy, Catedrático Asistente de Epidemiología en el Departamento de Bioestadística y Epidemiología de la Universidad de Pennsylvania, EE.UU.
Michael ha sido un incansable trabajador en el area de control/eliminación del vect... Read More
In four months, 155 countries will together switch from using trivalent to bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine. Will this change lead to more cases of poliomyelitis? Read More
Exposure to reactive oxygen species, exposure to ionizing radiation, exposure to UV light – all of these are dangerous because of their potential to alter DNA sequences. Changes in DNA can affect a protein coding sequence, potentially influencing its function, but changes in regulatory regions c... Read More
BOULDER - Key factors that can combine to produce a Zika virus outbreak are expected to be present in a number of U.S. cities during peak summer months, new research shows. Read More
Remember Ebolaviruses? Many people are still working on vaccines and therapeutics. Here is a very nice story on a promising antiviral compound that is very effective at preventing disease in monkeys. But it doesn't work in mice - it's degraded. You know what they say - mice lie, monkeys exaggera... Read More
Several papers published in Genome Announcements recently describe the sequences of new Zika virus isolates. Scientists have known the genomic sequence of at least one Zika virus isolate since 2007, but continue to publish newly isolated strains. What is the importance of these additional sequen... Read More
Each Fall, I teach a freshman writing class about symbioses and parasitism. I was very lucky to get some pretty famous people to "Skype" or "Google Hang Out" in to visit my class. Last Fall, one of my "tele-speakers" was the fabulous science writer and very funny fellow Ed Yong. The students ... Read More