by Heidi Arjes | Have you ever wondered how individual fingers form? If you have taken a developmental biology class, you know that the hand first develops as a mitten-like structure with the future fingers connected (Figure 1). Later, during normal development, the cells in the areas between the fingers undergo programmed cell death, and thus… Read more →
by Elio | Quite a few years ago, I spent some time viewing a natural history-inspired show at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. One exhibit that especially caught my attention consisted of a meter-square dish containing what must have been EMB agar. This “plate” had been left exposed to the air and the ensuing… Read more →
by Welkin Johnson | As biologists, we divvy the biological realm up into domains using a formula that frankly, smacks of nepotism, bestowing three glorious domains upon our closest relatives—the Eucaryota, the Archaea, and the Bacteria—while committing an injustice to the so-called viruses, lumping them together in a miscellaneous catch-all category… Read more →
by Nanne Nanninga | The common picture of a dividing rod-shaped bacterium encompasses the positioning of the divisome, including an FtsZ-ring, in the cell center. This occurs after the cell has doubled its length without increasing its diameter. Conversely, increase in diameter without cell elongation would seem highly unlikely in a rod-shaped… Read more →
by S. Marvin Friedman | It is downright scandalous that in our hi-tech world food-borne infectionsshould be so prevalent (some 48 million cases a year in the US alone, with about 3000 deaths). The tools to take care of these problems are hardly mysterious, requiring mainly safe food production and preservation. High on the list of bacterial offenders is… Read more →
by Elio | Clinical microbiology, one of the major branches of microbiology, goes largely unnoticed by academics, in part perhaps because the diagnostic activities of microbiologists are pursued separately, in hospital and commercial labs. I’d venture to guess that many academic microbiology researchers have never set foot in one of these labs. Their loss… Read more →
by Elio | The Acidobacteria are an offspring of metagenomics. Their existence as a phylum was not known until 1997, when their existence was first noticed using 16S rRNA techniques. But these are no obscure oddities living in extreme environments. Look for them in soils where they are among the most abundant bacteria, particularly… Read more →
The purpose of this blog is to share my appreciation for the width and depth of the microbial activities on this planet. I will emphasize the unusual and the unexpected phenomena for which I have a special fascination... (more)
For the memoirs of my first 21 years of life, click here.
This Week in Virology, the podcast about viruses, celebrates its 300th episode on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 with a live recording at the Washington, DC headquarters of the American Society for Microbiology.