West Nile virus entered the United States in 1999 and is now considered a seasonal epidemic that starts in the summer and continues into the fall. First isolated in Uganda in 1937, the virus can cause severe human meningitis or encephalitis in 1% of those infected. In 2007 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported 124 fatalities. The rapid spread of West Nile virus has put local and state mosquito surveillance programs on the front line of public health and disease preparedness.
Lenski's work with E. coli has also led him into the digital world. Using computers, Lenski can achieve precise, rapid results by manipulating digital organisms. Software that evolves much like bacteria in the real world.
After the largest oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists are still investigating the role microorganisms play in cleaning up the mess, both on land and at sea. David Valentine, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, discusses the latest research, what we have learned and what we still do not know.
Vincent and guests Rachel Katzenellenbogen, Roger Hendrix, and Harmit Malik recorded TWiV #135 live at the 2011 ASM General Meeting in New Orleans, where they discussed transformation and oncogenesis by human papillomaviruses, the amazing collection of bacteriophages on the planet, and the evolution of genetic conflict between virus and host.
Large concentrations bacteria identified in the nuclei of hailstones suggest that airborne microorganisms may be responsibility for the formation of these weather events. Participants discuss these findings as well as the implications they may have for understanding of the role microbes play in controlling the weather.
Participants discuss engineering of bacteria to produce hydrogen gas, ethanol, anti-microbials and other useful products.
Participants present research on genetically engineered fungi that could replace chemical fertilizers and naturally occurring fungi that produce compounds that could replace pesticides for protecting crops in the field and produce in transit.
As the United States continues to import increasingly more of its food from developing nations, we are putting ourselves at greater risk of foodborne disease as many of these countries do not have the same sanitary standards for production, especially in the case of seafood and fresh produce. Additionally, prudent use of antibiotics is not practiced in many countries supplying foods, such as seafood and produce, to the United States.
A live streaming video episode of the American Society for Microbiology's podcast This Week in Microbiology (TWiM) hosted by Vincent Racaniello and friends. In this show, Racaniello and others highlight and comment on some of the most interesting science presented at ASM's General Meeting in New Orleans.
Using a novel methodology combining whole genome DNA sequencing and social network analysis, public health officials are able to solve a tuberculosis outbreak that was an absolute mystery by traditional epidemiologic methods.