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International Team Fishes New Virus Out of the Sea of Galilee

In 2009, fish in Israel began dying in droves. And not just any fish, but the St. Peter’s fish, tilapia in the Sea of Galilee—the fish famed in the Bible for feeding the multitudes and paying the temple tax for St. Peter.

As head of the fish disease laboratory for Israel’s Ministry of Agricul... Read More

"Never Really Alone" with Margaret McFall-Ngai

Last Fall, the great Dr. Margaret McFall-Ngai "virtually visited" my freshman writing class at the University of Puget Sound to discuss symbiosis and Microbial Supremacy with my new students. I had my students read some papers by Dr. McFall-Ngai (including the wonderful "Animals in a Microbial ... Read More

Antibiotics Vs Human

The World Health Organization launched the first World Antibiotic Awareness week, and from November 16-22 2015 discussion centered on the emerging threat of antibiotic resistance. In this post, I will review the science behind antibiotic resistant-bacteria and how this phenomena is poised to imp... Read More

Designer viruses for killing tumor cells

A major goal of viral oncotherapy – the use of viruses to destroy tumors – is to design viruses that kill tumor cells but not normal cells. Two adenoviruses provide perfect examples of how this specificity can be achieved.

Adenovirus CG0070, designed to treat bladder cancer, and adenovirus O... Read More

Happy #MicrobialHalloween From My #Bio350 Students (Plus Some Happy #ParasiticHalloween Wishes)!

I enjoy mixing Hallowe'en with my classes. In this blog post, I show how my microbiology students do exactly that, with humor and style. In addition, my freshman writing students do the same with their course on symbioses and parasitism. Enjoy...and #HappyMicrobialHalloween! Read More

Structure and genome of Zika virus

Group: Group IV ((+) ssRNA)
Family: Flaviviridae
Genus: Flavivirus
Species: Zika virus

Structure of Zika Virus
•The virion is approximately 40 nm in diameter with surface projections that measure roughly 5-10 nm.
•Nucleocapsid is 25-30 nm in diameter surrounded by a host-membrane derive... Read More

Virus y pandemias (in Spanish)

Hoy en día, en pleno siglo XXI, ¿puede un virus cambiar el mundo?, ¿puede haber una nueva pandemia mundial? En este libro explicaremos qué es un virus y cómo es la vida de un virus dentro de una célula, veremos qué es una pandemia y hablaremos sobre cómo se originan los nuevos virus de la gripe.... Read More

My First #LuxArt Class Competition!

In this blog post, I discuss making student designed artwork using bioluminescent bacteria as "paint." As student "buy in" is critical for any course, such fun "creative" approaches act synergistically to improve learning and outcomes. Feel free to vote on your top six images---the students ar... Read More

Microbiology, Creativity, and Extra Credit!

I have long believed that there are many ways for students to learn. In several of my classes, I encourage students to use "creative" approaches to explore course concepts. In the Fall of 2015, here is what my micronauts in my Microbiology course at the University of Puget Sound came up with..... Read More

Prions in plants

Chronic wasting disease is a prion disease of cervids (deer, elk, moose) that is potentially a threat to human health. A role for environmental prion contamination in transmission is supported by the finding that plants can take up prions from the soil and transmit them to animals. Read More

Antibodies to dengue virus enhance infection by Zika virus

It has been speculated that the development of neurological disease and fetal abnormalities after Zika virus infection may be due to the presence of antibodies against other flaviruses that enhance disease. In support of this hypothesis, it has been shown that antibodies to dengue virus enhance... Read More

Overexpression of Enterococcus faecalis elr operon protects from phagocytosis

This study investigates how the overexpression of a specific ORF affects the virulence of E. faecalis. Read More

Classic Spotlights: Penicillin for the masses

The Journal of Bacteriology is celebrating its centennial this year – one hundred years of valuable scientific discoveries! To illustrate the wide variety of noteworthy results published over the years, the journal is publishing a Classic Spotlight series, in which experts in the field highlight... Read More

Let It (Microbially) Snow...

I made this video in October of 2015, with my Biology 350 Microbiology students at the University of Puget Sound. A drop of Pseudomonas syringae expressing ice nucleation protein hits supercooled pure water, and fun results. This is the way that Snomax works to commercially generate snow, inci... Read More

Study reveals intestinal bacteria succession during recovery from cholera in Bangladesh

A new study delineates a sequential pattern of changes in the intestinal microbial population of patients recovering from cholera in Bangladesh, findings that may point to ways of speeding recovery from the dangerous diarrheal disease. The report also finds what appear to be consistent differenc... Read More

Sushi protects mosquitoes from lethal virus infections

As far as I know, mosquitoes do not eat sushi. But mosquito cells have proteins with sushi repeat domains, and these proteins protect the brain from lethal virus infections. Read More

Magnetotactic bacteria remove and recover rare elements

While our human biochemical reactions are limited, our ingenuity is not, and scientists are able to exploit microbes for our benefit, such as in chemical spills. Using microbes to degrade or sequester toxic molecules is one form of bioremediation, and has many various applications. Famously, sci... Read More

Surprise in Lab

Unknown fungi isolated from soil sample.I would like to have inputs from the Mycologist in the forum about this fungal colony,its identification,name,species and genus? Read More

The Bacteria Song by the Science Pirates

Science Pirates Songs presents the Bacteria Song by New Mexico State University 2003. These animated songs are from the adventure learning game, 'Science Pirates: The Curse of Brownbeard', which guide middle school students through concepts in both science and food safety. Read More

Freshman Biology Creative Projects

I am a big believer that different pedagogical approaches can "reach" different students. In most of my classes, I give students an optional assignment: come up with a creative project that explores some aspect of class. This takes several steps. First, I make the students come up with an ide... Read More
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