Latest Blog Posts
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 10:20

In celebration of National Postdoc Appreciation Week, we are giving back to our wonderful postdocs by providing tips for writing a cover letter for faculty applications. Although, there are many factors to consider in your application like a CV and teaching philosophy, a successful cover letter can distinguish you from an endless sea of competitive applicants. We discuss how to present yourself as an invaluable colleague and what to emphasize.

Monday, 18 September 2017 16:48

The efforts of antibiotic stewardship campaigns are starting to show positive results in the clinic. These trends can serve as motivation to all to continue education campaigns for appropriate use of antibiotics.

Monday, 18 September 2017 10:28

Molecular techniques allow us to determine bacterial relatedness in ways previous generations couldn’t, and because of this, several species have been renamed or recategorized in recent years. However, this can cause chaos and miscommunication in the clinical lab! Here are three stories of recent taxonomical change suggestions and how they have been resolved.


Friday, 15 September 2017 15:14

Can the microbiome be used for forensic purposes? The skin microbiome is fairly stable, and a new Applied and Environmental Microbiology report assesses the use of genetic markers in the skin bacterium Proprionibacterium acnes for human identification purposes. 

Friday, 15 September 2017 14:01

Scientists at U of Michigan discover how microbes may lower the effectiveness of chemotherapy for colorectal cancer.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017 14:19

Modern technology and social media are not only there to tell you what your cousin had for lunch; they can increase your scientific knowledge. Here are 5 online tools that can help you stay up-to date and broaden/deepen your scientific background.

Monday, 11 September 2017 23:52

Anaerobic infections offer a unique set of challenges in diagnosing and antibiotic susceptibility testing. The most recent Hot Topic in Clinical Microbiology offers an opportunity to learn best practices in diagnosis of anaerobic infections. We also provide recent Journal of Clinical Microbiology resources to complement the presentation. 

Monday, 11 September 2017 15:08

Exotic microbial structures are probably growing closer to home than you think. The microbial reefs of New York are one such example – what can you find near you?

Friday, 08 September 2017 16:46

How do we know which cells and what species are susceptible to viral infection? One way is to look for the presence of the viral receptor, if known. Sialic acid is the host cell receptor for influenza virus attachment, and a new mSphere report describes tools to help survey the species distributions of different sialic acid modifications that will inform susceptibility.

Thursday, 07 September 2017 10:07

Written by Rachel Yoho, Ph.D.

As a new faculty member, I’m ready to soak up all of the wisdom about finding funding for biology education activities and research I can. So far, I’ve heard that it boils down to persistence, choosing the right grant program, and building on small successes.

Tuesday, 05 September 2017 09:29

While Lyme disease is the tick-borne illness people associate most readily with deer tick bites, the incidence of Babesia microti in the Northeast US has been increasing steadily. There are a range of tools, some new but many old, that can aid the diagnostician in detection of this important pathogen.

Thursday, 31 August 2017 16:03

Determining the susceptibility of HIV to antiretroviral drugs is important for getting patients the right combination of ART. A new Journal of Clinical Microbiology compares next-generation sequencing to traditional Sanger sequencing and PCR analyses to determine the most accurate method of measuring viral resistance. 

Wednesday, 30 August 2017 10:02

When graduate programs invite you to campus for an interview, they are testing their hypothesis that you are a stellar candidate based on a positive review of your application. You will meet with faculty to discuss your scientific aptitude. Preparing for these meetings include developing an elevator pitch and discussing other people’s research. Check out the blog to learn how to do prepare for graduate school interviews.    


Monday, 28 August 2017 15:55

Siderophores are essential for bacterial pathogenesis—does that make them a weakness for researchers to exploit?

Friday, 25 August 2017 16:21

Taxonomic splitting of bacterial species can change AST recommendation. What should clinical microbiologists do when new species are assigned to the Enterobacteriaceae or when species are renamed? Romney Humphries addresses this problem in this week's Bugs & Drugs.

Friday, 25 August 2017 16:02

Cleaning and disinfecting food prep surfaces is vital to minimize the risk of foodborne pathogen contamination. A new Applied and Environmental Microbiology article shows that well-known foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes resists removal by current industrial formulations of disinfectants. 

Thursday, 24 August 2017 16:06

Two-component signaling is important for many bacterial activities, including movement, growth, differentiation, and metabolism, among others. The latest Special Issue of the Journal of Bacteriology highlights recent advances in two-component signaling, including minireviews and primary research articles. 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017 12:10

In this week’s career blog, we talk to Samuel Aidoo, a Lead Microbiologist at a cosmetic manufacturing company. On a day-to-day basis, he keeps the lab running at a fully functional state by making sure that the lab has all the required resources and sample processing is done correctly. He encourages students to not limit themselves to one line of work, but instead, build upon concepts and utilize them elsewhere. 

Monday, 21 August 2017 12:52

Recent outbreaks in clinical and teaching microbiology labs emphasize the importance of good biosafety practices. This week we provide resources to help brush up on biosafety, one of the most important aspects of working in a microbiology lab.

Friday, 18 August 2017 19:46

Written by: Juliana Ansari | What microbes live in your probiotic drinks? We take a closer look at the microbes found inside common probiotic drinks such as kombucha, including Saccharomyces boulardii, Bacillus coagulans, and Lactobacillus plantarum cultured from probiotic beverages.

Friday, 18 August 2017 10:09

Fungal infections, like those caused by Candida albicans, are a serious clinical problem. Systemic candidiasis can result from fungal biofilms growing on plastic indwelling devices. A new Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy article reports the anti-biofilm activity of a eucalyptus-derived compound, which acts by regulating fungal cell morphology.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 10:29

Gary McDowell had a highly productive scientific career that included studying at the University of Cambridge and two postdocs in Boston. He discovered that research can be highly competitive and cutthroat, and realized that these problems were not limited to a particular lab or institution but rather the entire scientific enterprise. With a group of postdocs, Gary organized events to discuss challenges facing junior scientists and now he is Executive Director of a nonprofit that focuses on improving the scientific research endeavor.

Monday, 14 August 2017 11:21

The Journal of Clinical Microbiology publishes everything clinical, from applications of new diagnostic technologies to global epidemiological reports. On this week's Bugs & Drugs, we spoke with JCM Editor-in-Chief Alexander McAdam about the resources JCM provides to clinical microbiologists and recent changes in the journal.


Sunday, 13 August 2017 15:27

Written by: Lori R. Shapiro | Few of us harvest our own crops, milk our own cows, or ferment our own beverages. Our foods and drinks arrive at stores or farmers markets in an array of colorful shapes and sizes already neatly packaged, or served to us beautifully and fragrantly prepared at a restaurant. But, where did these fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and beverages come from?

Thursday, 10 August 2017 15:01

Foot and mouth disease remains a threat to livestock. A Journal of Virology report describes a new chimeric vaccine scheme that can mix-and-match to protect against different serotypes. The research here demonstrates a vaccine platform that may be able to help responders rapidly provide protective vaccines during disease outbreaks. 

Wednesday, 09 August 2017 14:31

Who are public health professionals and what do they do? What can you do to get into a public health career? We interviewed Dr. Denise Toney, a Director of the Division of Consolidated Laboratories at the state laboratories for Virginia to learn more about the public health profession. She recommends that you solidify your interests in public health by participating in fellowships/internships, and to network at conferences. To learn about what opportunities exist, read the blog post.

Monday, 07 August 2017 14:45

Interested in applying your laboratory skills in resource-limited areas? Volunteer work can be very fulfilling. Opportunities and experiences are discussed in this week's Bugs & Drugs.

Thursday, 03 August 2017 16:56

What you should know about the microbes you interact with on the beach: some are good, and some downright terrifying.

Thursday, 03 August 2017 16:12

The emerging multidrug-resistant fungal pathogen Candida auris has caused outbreaks in several healthcare facilities. New research from the Journal of Clinical Microbiology suggests the fungus can survive for weeks on plastic surfaces, emphasizing the importance of infection control in these facilities. 

Thursday, 03 August 2017 09:26

Regular and useful feedback heightens students’ motivation and strengthens the mentor/mentee relationship; the yield from this relationship will have a lasting influence on the student’s future. Regular feedback also instills core values for members of your laboratory to apply to all aspects of their professional careers. Student researchers want to do their best and enhance their science and communication skills while working in the lab, and these 5 recommendations to improve the quality of feedback can help them get the most out of their experience.

Tuesday, 01 August 2017 10:53

Sometimes, it pays to never throw things out. That is the lesson learned from researchers who identified the cause of a mysterious epidemic in horses in Iceland.

Monday, 31 July 2017 09:06

How does one interpret an MIC if there is no clinical breakpoint for the tested drug/bug combination? Some tools, including the epidemiological cut-off value and PK/PD breakpoints can help!

Saturday, 29 July 2017 17:18

Do “microbial landscapes” really exist? Or is that phrase simply a poetic way to write about microbial ecology?

Friday, 28 July 2017 19:00

Colistin acts by interacting with the bacterial envelope via charge interactions, a very similar mechanism to how host antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and bacterial membranes interact. A new Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy report demonstrates that clinical colistin-resistant isolates remain susceptible to AMPs.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017 10:59

For scientists it is imperative to relay your research to your colleagues through published papers.  But what if you find the idea of writing overwhelming – daunting even?  You struggle to stay motivated despite the many lab (and non-lab) distractions.  We reached out to senior doctoral students and postdocs who have experienced and overcome these obstacles.  Check out their 8 tips to begin writing your paper today!

Tuesday, 25 July 2017 10:36

With WiSci 2017 soon to be under way in Malawi,  WiSci 2016 attendee  Leslie Anasu Espinoza Campomanes and WiSci 2016 counselor Paola Moreno-Roman reflect on how this initiative impacted their lives  

Monday, 24 July 2017 13:10

When laboratories provide susceptibility reports to clinicians, they must decide whether to include minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) or to report categorical interpretations (such as susceptible or resistant) alone. In some cases knowing the MIC value can help doctors, but in other cases it may just be… TMI.

Friday, 21 July 2017 16:45

Farmers want their livestock to put on weight quickly so they can increase profits when they sell their animals. A new Applied and Environmental Microbiology study reports a possible link between gut microbiome makeup and feed efficiency, one of the determinants of animal growth rate. This study may lay the groundwork for microbiome manipulation to help farms reduce the use of antibiotics as growth promoters.

Thursday, 20 July 2017 16:25

Elite controllers are HIV-infected individuals who maintain undetectable virus levels even when not administered antiretroviral drugs. Understanding how the immune system of these elite controllers acts against HIV may help scientists develop effective therapeutics or vaccines. A new Journal of Virology study shows that antibodies from elite controllers activate ADCC-mediated killing of HIV-infected cells. 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017 11:42

Bench-level clinical microbiologists serve an important role in a clinical microbiology lab. They are often the first people to identify disease-causing pathogens, which helps medical staff with the treatment of patients. In a clinical microbiology lab, personnel management and technical management are typically the next steps to advance in your career.