Microbial Sciences

Explorations of the microbial sciences and a look at the many ways microbiology touches the world around us.
Articles are written by a volunteer team of ASM members.

Microbiome-based technologies: how to measure and manipulate our microbial cohabiitants and use that information to inform health decisions.
While we don’t yet understand what makes a healthy microbiome, we know that certain interventions, such as antibiotic use and Cesarean sections, can change babies’ microbiomes, for better or for worse.  
How did eukaryotic life evolve? Here, one of the most controversial and puzzling questions in evolutionary history meets Star Wars and the Marvel Universe.
Written by Ashley Hagen Griffin | Erythema migrans - the bulls-eye rash of Lyme disease. What causes its unique appearance and behavior? We venture under the skin to find out!  
Monday, 16 April 2018 16:34

Plants and the bacteria at the root of it all

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Watch where you step! Soil-dwelling bacteria may hold the key to the future of agriculture.
Why did cases of Legionnaires’ disease spike when the water source was changed for Flint, Michigan?
These days, bacteria wear many hats as they become the fashion designers, artists, and architects of the future.
These days, we can use social media to find just about anything we’d want—apartments, jobs, the latest viral videos…or even a virus-based treatment for bacterial infections.
Tuesday, 20 February 2018 13:52

Wells and Wellness Part I: The History of Cholera

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Cholera has long been a fatal disease, but it took the ingenuity of some truly remarkable scientists, Snow, Pacini, and Koch, to figure out the causes were dirty water, intestinal disease, and a microscopic curved bacterium called Vibrio.
Bacteria will do anything to survive, including poisoning themselves.
Written by Katherine J. Wozniak | Tn-seq allowed researchers in two recent mBio publications to screen entire bacterial genomes to identify genes involved in surviving during nutrient deprivation.
How do fungi interact with our gut microbiome? Advances in detection and characterization techniques are now allowing researchers to uncover the importance of the fungal members of the intestinal community
Interweaving human history and microbial science to examine an unusual resurgence of the Black Plague in Madagascar.
Why did a giant fungus inspire Stephen Jay Gould to quote Walt Whitman’s “I contain multitudes” way back in 1992?
Support your commensal and symbiotic gut bacteria while celebrating with family and friends this holiday season.
Monday, 13 November 2017 12:27

A promiscuous phage and its illiterate transcriptase

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Some bacteria have multiple copies of a single gene to rapidly adapt to its environment. How can life with limited genomes compete?
Saturday, 04 November 2017 23:45

Bacterial Dyes in Fashion

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Will there be a day not long in the future, when our clothing is colored by bacteria?  
The zombie fungus, Ophicordyceps unilateralis, hides deep within tropical rainforests and parasitizes upon ants from the Camponotini tribe. They turn ants into fungus-producing machines by manipulating gene expression that alter the ant’s sensory response, musculature, and nervous system.
Friday, 06 October 2017 16:54

Microbes for Minis

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Books that teach microbiology concepts to kids in an engaging and age appropriate way can be hard to come by. Here, I’ve compiled a list of educational and entertaining books about microbes for toddlers, elementary, and middle schoolers.
ASM is reintroducing its “Meet the Microbiologist” podcast--host Julie Wolf explains why she loves podcasts and describes the first two MtM episodes.
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