When I first started a science blog, back in the summer of 2008, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from it. It was started mostly for me, to encourage me to read more papers and write about science.
All living cells contain DNA; the code for producing every protein needed by the cell. As DNA is important it needs to be kept safe. Plants and animals keep their DNA tightly twisted and organised inside a double-membrane bound nucleus while bacteria keep their DNA coiled up in a big circle, with the occasional loop [...]
Last month I had the privilege of being invited as a speaker for the Blogging Microbes event at the University of Nottingham. Hosted by Ivan Lafayette it was a great discussion of the role of blogs, twitter, and podcasts in communicating science, particularly microbiology, to a wider audience.
Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria, and in the great war between humans and pathogenic bacteria they can act as allies for both sides.
When studying how infections grow and spread it is always helpful to be able to see the organism causing the disease. There are currently a range of microbial and labelling techniques available to view micro-organisms within the cells they infect, and one of the most useful is bioluminescence imaging.
Last week my husband needed some jars for cooking purposes. Tesco sell jars for somewhere around £3 each. However they also sell large jars full of sauerkraut for £1 each.
Urea is a small molecule formed as proteins are broken down. It’s excreted in urine, but isn’t particularly toxic at low levels so it’s found in cells throughout the body.
As antibiotic resistance increases the search for new anti-bacterial treatments becomes more and more important. One way to design anti-bacterials is to find specific biochemical pathways that the bacteria require to survive, and develop drugs that block off these pathways.
This is the second part of my two-part mini series on Arctic creepy-crawlies. Part I: ice worms can be found here. Part II: Woolly bear caterpillar The Arctic woolly bear moth (Gynaephora groenlandica) is found in Greenland and Canada around the Arctic Circle.
Following my previous post on wildlife diseases, I’ve been in a fairly multicellular mood. Rather than try and turn my mind back to bacteria I decided to get it out of my system by finishing the month with a two part mini-series on creepy-crawlies that survive in some of the harshest conditions on earth; the [...]
This post was originally published in “Life of a Lab Rat” on Wednesday 3rd February 2010. Chameleon bacteria This is a picture of a small cyanobacteria under red light: And this is a picture of exactly the same organism under blue-green light: Some cyanobacteria have the ability to change their colour depending on external conditions.
The best way to prevent a disease from turning into an epidemic is to closely monitor its development and put systems in place before it starts spreading rapidly through populations.
Although this blog focus mostly on bacteria, I do occasionally dip out of my comfort zone into other infectious elements such as viruses, prions and fungi.
Although bacteria are single celled organisms, they are capable of working together in massive bacterial colonies known as biofilms. Within the biofilm bacteria will differentiate to perform different tasks, all wrapped up within a sticky substance that holds the cells together.
It’s such wonderful warm weather in the UK at the moment, I thought it was time to celebrate with another butterfly post! I particularly wanted to take a closer look at the butterfly Phengaris arion which is rather unimaginatively known more commonly as the Large Blue.
When studying bacteria, human pathogens always get a lot of interest and free press. Pathogens of smaller and less important seeming animals, such as shrimp, tend to generate less press interest.
I’ve written previously about bacteriophages, the viruses that infect bacteria, and I studied them for my first lab project. So I was pretty excited by a lovely little pearl in PLoS Pathogens last month discussing mycobacteriophages; the viruses that specifically attack mycobacteria.
In order to survive, organisms produce small molecules known as ‘primary metabolites’ which help it to grow, develop and reproduce.
This weeks post is a guest post from the wonderful E.E. Giorgi of Chimera blog I AM MY MOTHER'S CHIMERA. CHANCES ARE, SO ARE YOU For years now the concept of a "genetic chimera" has sparked the imagination of writers: the idea that an individual could harbor his/her own twin is creepy and intriguing at the [...]
Natural disasters such as earthquakes can have far-reaching effects beyond the damage caused on the day they occur. The 2010 earthquake in Haiti damaged the already limited sanitation systems leading to areas without adequate toilet and washing facilities; perfect for the spread of infection diseases.