Latest News

New powerful antibiotics discovered using machine learning
Bacteria are amazing creatures. They adapt rapidly to any stress that is put on them or at least some...
Read more
Top Publishers Sued over Collusion in Textbook Market
Textbook prices are out of control and this is why I spent years of my life writing and running this...
Read more
Americans are fatter than ever and processed food is to blame
Before diving into this article we need to clarify how being obese is measured. There are many ways to...
Read more
Through the Microscope updates
An important feature of Through the Microscope is the animations that depict important processes. Often...
Read more
Obesity and the Microbiome
A large body of evidence is emerging showing that the microbiome has a role in obesity and I cover some...
Read more
News

News

Messages list

Show all entries

Biodiversity in marine viruses

  While it is understandable that the majority of research on bacteriophages involve human illness and food spoilage, there is an enormous amount of viruses that prey on bacteria in the environment that are still undiscovered. These environmental bacteriophages are very important since they can direct many significant changes in conditions of the natural world such as the flux of carbon and oxygen levels. 

Read more of Biodiversity in marine viruses

Macrophage Creation Pathway

  Stem cell research is not only one of the most controversial topics in science, but also one of the most advanced forms of research available.  A stem cell is a cell that can differentiate into a diverse range of cells as well as regenerate into more stem cells. In order for this research to take off, more needs to be discovered about the pathways these stem cells use.  Biologists at CalTech have been investigating this topic through macrophages which stem from unspecialized blood...

Read more of Macrophage Creation Pathway

To eat or to be eaten? The complex lives of Dictyostelium discoideum and Pseudomonas fluorescens

  Dictyostelium discoideum is a eukaryotic microbe that lives a unique lifestyle that involves changing from a unicellular to multicellular organism. Recent studies have shown that not only is it unique in this aspect, but it is unique in that it actually cultivates its own food supply, being dubbed the world’s “smallest farmer” amongst microbiologists. This article is based on a recent study led by Debra Brock at the Washington Universty of St. Louis. Dictyostelium discoideum...

Read more of To eat or to be eaten? The complex lives of Dictyostelium discoideum and Pseudomonas fluorescens

Evolution On the Inside Track: How Viruses in Gut Bacteria Change Over Time

  The world is surrounded by microbes that interact with one another competitively or symbiotically, creating a dynamic environment. These interactions occur everywhere, even in our own digestive system. Microbes swarm around the digestive tracts and a myriad of viruses modify key characteristics in bacteria, molding the bacterial population and metabolism. A study led by Fredric D. Bushman, a microbiology professor at University of Pennsylvania, looked at interactions between virus and bacteria i...

Read more of Evolution On the Inside Track: How Viruses in Gut Bacteria Change Over Time

Viruses in both eukaryotes and archaea, hijacking their way to success

  A recent study led by biologists from Indian University and Montana State University has found a connection between viruses that infect eukaryotes and viruses that infect archaea growing in volcanic springs (article).  Viruses like HIV and Ebola that infect eukaryotic cells and the virus Sulfolobus turreted icosahedral virus (STIV) that infects Sulfolobus sofataricus, an archaea found in volcanic springs, share a common feature; they both must hijack the same set of proteins found in their...

Read more of Viruses in both eukaryotes and archaea, hijacking their way to success

Alterations of the Human Genome as a Result of Cholera

  Cholera is a deadly disease that is present in many third world countries, including Bangladesh and India.  The disease has been infecting people for thousands of years, meaning it is more likely to be causing evolutionary changes in humans, compared to newly emerged diseases.   Sure enough, researchers from Massachusetts and Bangladesh have found that the human genome has evolved in people who are more likely to contract cholera.  Regina LaRocque, an infectious disea...

Read more of Alterations of the Human Genome as a Result of Cholera

Bacteriophages Batteling Against Bacterial Infections

  The human digestive system is home to many microbes that are beneficial to our health; they help our systems battle harmful microbes and help us digest our food. When taking antibiotics to stop bacterial infections, we take the risk of killing the good bacteria and leaving behind the bacteria that are harmful. Currently in England and Wales there is an ongoing battle with a harmful bacterium, C. difficile. C. difficile, which causes infections found mostly in the hospital setting infec...

Read more of Bacteriophages Batteling Against Bacterial Infections

Using Bacteriophages to Fight Bacterial Infections

  Clostridium difficile is the leading cause of hospital infections in England and Wales, and treating these infections is becoming more difficult as the causative organism becomes more resistant to antibiotics.  Microbiologists are experimenting with the use of bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, as a way to help control these bacterial infections despite antibiotic resistance. 

Read more of Using Bacteriophages to Fight Bacterial Infections

Bacterial Changes In The Gut May Trigger Disease In Humans

  Bacteria located within the human gut have been studied for years. In 2012, Mayo Clinic in Minnesota has classified them as bacteria that may control or alter the onset and progression of autoimmune diseases.  Regulating the human immune system and autoimmune diseases have been found to start in the gut. Bacteria that flourish within the mammalian stomach and intestines have been found to alter the host's immune system. Researchers believe that maintaining the balance of th...

Read more of Bacterial Changes In The Gut May Trigger Disease In Humans

Biogeographical distribution and diversity of microbes in methane hydrate-bearing deep marine sediments on the Pacific Ocean Margin

  The depths of the Oceans on this world are unexplored territory by humans. Until recently. Scientists have created equipment that can withstand the pressure of the depth of the sea to begin exploring the world unseen by many land-bound eyes. Little did we know there was an underwater land teeming with life, especially microbial life. This article discusses the microbial communities that may be contributors to the methane levels found in our ocean sediments. The Prokaryotic biomass f...

Read more of Biogeographical distribution and diversity of microbes in methane hydrate-bearing deep marine sediments on the Pacific Ocean Margin