As we approach the end of 2016, here's a look back at this blog's most popular posts during our first year of publishing. Thanks for joining us here and taking the time to read our content. We look forward to writing for you in 2017!
It appears that an imbalance of microbes in the GI tract can adversely affect how the immune system functions. In fact, we are learning more and more how normal human development is dependent on the microbes that have coevolved with us
There is an incubator on the top floor of the Harvard Institutes of Medicine building where I work that continuously smells like dirt. And I am not complaining. It’s that refreshing aroma of garden soil, spring rain and deep forest. Everyone in the department can smell it, even halfway down the hall. But why would a medical school smell like the forest? What mysterious molecules float between the walls here and where are they coming from? Not to mention, why do they smell so good, compared with, let’s be honest, the pungent array of odors from the microbial world?
In 3500 BCE, Egyptian rulers built a menagerie of exotic creatures within the ancient capital of Hierakonpolis. Archaeologists have found 112 animal skeletons at this site: the first zoo on Earth. But from this earliest exhibition of the natural world through today’s most famous animal displays, zoos have featured only macroscopic organisms. By not including microbes, they’ve left out most life on the planet.
We've studied phages for almost a century, but what progress has been made towards phage therapies? Researchers are developing some surprising ways to exploit phage in the clinic. One method, phage display, has both anthrax and cocaine addiction in common.
We might not always think about them when we sit down to eat a meal, but microbes are responsible for many of our favorite foods. Are you ready to try some homemade microbiology?
Just 20 years after the classic, well-reasoned argument addressing the question “What is a Pathogen?” by Stanley Falkow, we are now confronting a similarly persuasive case against the very word “pathogen”! A thoughtful argument against “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” microbiomes has also been made.