Tag: Microbiology

Why is the Flu such a Big Deal?

Why is the Flu such a Big Deal?

With each flu season comes a bombardment of new advertisements reminding people to get a flu vaccine. The vaccine is free to most and widely available, yet almost half of the United States chooses to forgo the vaccine. When Ebola emerged, there was 24 hour…

Superbug Super Problem: The Emerging Age of Untreatable Infections

Superbug Super Problem: The Emerging Age of Untreatable Infections

You’ve heard of MRSA. You may even have heard of XDR-TB and CRE. The rise of antibiotic-resistant infections in our communities has been both swift and alarming. But how did these once easily treated infections become the scourges of the healthcare world, and what can…

H What N What? A Designer Protein Hits the Science Runway

H What N What? A Designer Protein Hits the Science Runway

Influenza is a virus that straddles two worlds: that of the past and that of the future. Responsible for more deaths than HIV/AIDS in the past century, the flu is one of the world’s’ most dangerous infectious diseases though it may not seem so, especially…

Science and Ethics

Science and Ethics

So let’s say, hypothetically, that your lab receives blood samples from a group of individuals to study genetic links with diabetes.  However, these samples would also provide important insights into other diseases.  But the researchers did not get consent from the blood samples donors for…

Frog Slime: The Secret to Kicking that Awful Flu

Frog Slime: The Secret to Kicking that Awful Flu

  Got the flu? Time to start looking for your frog prince. Researchers at Emory University have identified a substance that kills influenza, the virus that causes seasonal flu. The influenza-killing substance, called urumin, is produced on the skin of the South Indian frog and…

A Call to Guts

A Call to Guts

I’ve found that it is rather difficult to write an article when you are lying in the fetal position and afraid to move. No, I wasn’t trying to hide from a T-rex. I was having a migraine attack, and what really kept me curled up…

The Amazing Microbiota of Brown Bears

The Amazing Microbiota of Brown Bears

Image a researcher has been tasked with studying how hibernation affects a bear’s microbiota, or the collection of microorganisms residing on and in an organism. The researcher begins his day tracking brown bears until he finally finds one in a cave. His trusty veterinarian partner…

Are Stem Cells Just Tiny Normal Cells?

Are Stem Cells Just Tiny Normal Cells?

You’re at a social gathering and someone asks, “So, what do you do?” It’s meant to be a casual conversation starter, but do you ever find yourself taking a mental breath before answering? As an immunologist studying stem cells, I take that mental breath to…

Eat Plastic? Don’t Mind if I Do!

Humans do not find plastic bottles tasty. Try as we might, ingestion and digestion of an Auquafina bottle makes for a bad dinner. On the other hand, some bacteria see plastic bottles as a delicacy.

Drug Resistance 1-2-3

Drug Resistance 1-2-3

Recently, I read an article in The Atlantic by Ed Yong, an experienced science writer whom I admire. In this article, Mr. Yong describes a study commissioned by the Wellcome Trust, designed to probe the public’s understanding of drug resistant infections. The conclusions of the…