Archives for October, 2011

REMINDER: Ayaan Hirsi Ali at USAO!

I was recently chatting with a friend from South America about my excitement about getting to see Ayaan Hirsi Ali speak right here in Oklahoma. He had never heard of her before, which of course flipped me into super-fan-mode and I started gushing about her life and accomplishments and powerful voice and OMFG SHE IS…

CDC recommends HPV vaccine for boys!

The HPV vaccine is one of my most favoritest vaccines. From a public health perspective, its efficacy is unprecedented. From an immunological perspective, learning how the HPV vaccine works is going to teach us something about our immune system we didnt know before. From a virological and evolutionary perspective, we dont have to be worried…

PERVs not a risk, manimals imminent

If there is one ERV I genuinely love talking about on ERV, its PERVs– Porcine Endogenous Retroviruses. And you all should care about them too– Pigs and their PERVs (or, lack of PERVs, or lack of infectious PERVs) might one day have a direct impact on you or your friends/family. Clinical trials involving tissue from…

Conceptually, vaccines are very simple things– Dummy viruses/bacteria/pathogen that train your immune system how to fight the real viruses/bacteria/pathogen. All the benefits of being sick (training your B- and/or T-cells how to fight the pathogen) without actually having to get sick. Nice. In practice, however, things are infinitely more difficult. Sometimes we use dead viruses.…

Cooooold!

Sorry, guise. A cold that has been circulating around the department finally got me this weekend. So instead of writing posts this weekend, I was a sneezy snotty mess BUT I would like to thank the ‘Occupy ERV‘ gang for giving me a laugh Sunday morning, as did this SNL skit* (original): Hell, its no…

Me, September 1, 2011: Black Death not initiated by a plasmid? My money is on a moron. Phages can encode for gene groups called morons. I am not joking. These are viral genes that dont code for anything the virus wants, like structural proteins, or enzymes the virus needs– They are genes that make having…

LOOK AT THE FUZZY VIRUS!! I want to flop its ears! Or… ‘cowlicks’… whatever… The French have found yet another HUGE virus, this one even bigger than the previous hugeliest Mimiviruses (random link: Mimis virophage)! This one? They call him MEGAVIRUS! Distant Mimivirus relative with a larger genome highlights the fundamental features of Megaviridae 1,259,197…

I dont know why so many people bag on Pittsburgh. Maybe people who grew up In The Big City dont like it, but to a country bumpkin like me, it is a magical city full of hot boys and glitter. *shrug* Its also home to some of the best virology work in the country. Example:…