Microbiology

Mike the Mad Biologist

Category archives for Microbiology

By way of Matthew Yglesias, we read that,over at National Review Online, Kevin Williamson claims progressives only care about science as a way to wage culture war (yes, coming from movement conservatives, that’s rich): There are lots of good reasons not to wonder what Rick Perry thinks about scientific questions, foremost amongst them that there…

STEC Surveillance: UR DOING IT WRONG?

There’s some good news and bad news regarding E. coli surveillance in meat products. The good news: The pathogenic Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia Coli (pSTEC) serotypes known collectively as the “Big Six” will soon be banned from U.S. meat, a top expert told a meat industry conference Thursday. Action to declare the six non-O157:H7 serotypes as…

In this story about the use of rapid genomic sequencing to monitor a hospital outbreak of multi-drug resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (more details here), this end bit is interesting (italics mine): “In the E. coli outbreak, we had enough E. coli reference strains and knew enough about E. coli biology to quickly identify a set of…

Consider this a post wherein I engage in some speculation, and hope that I’m very, very wrong. You see, the ‘German’ E. coli O104:H4 outbreak (‘HUSEC041′) has taken a confusing turn: The strain of E. coli blamed for 46 deaths in Germany appears to have resurfaced in France, the French Ministry of Health said. The…

Whenever a new discipline, especially one using a ‘sexy’ technology, is brought to bear on human disease, it seems to be oversold in what it will actually accomplish. In addition, every problem is suddenly viewed through that lens, that if we understand how phenomenon X influences something, then WE CAN HAZ CUREZ. I’m worried that…

Because we are human after all. Jason Collins at Evolving Economics, in response to my post about one economist’s misunderstanding of biology, asks a very good question: On the flip side, did Dawkins or Gould (or their respective supporters) ever concede to the other side that they were wrong and substantially change their world view?…

I’ve always thought that if Bill Gates really wanted to make his mark, he should build sewer systems in the developing world (and provide endowments to maintain them). Because I’m getting tired of reading excellent articles like this: The recent outbreaks of cholera in Haiti, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe suggest that our current global action plans…

Museums and Microbial Curation: About Time!

By way of Jonathan Eisen, we discover that museums are starting to hire microbiology curators. I’m very excited about this, probably more excited than Eisen (and he’s a pretty excitable guy). In part, I’ve always loved museums and have thought that building microbiological collections for museums would be a neat thing to do. But there…

A Very Unique TB Diagnostic

Potentially, anyway. One of the challenges facing infectious disease medicine in the developing world is the cost of diagnosis: diagnostic tests are often invented in wealthy countries with access to expensive equipment and supplies (and, in those countries, these don’t seem very expensive at all). Tuberculosis (TB) is difficult to diagnose in wealthy countries, and…

So Google has released this Ngram thingee that searches for words in all of the archived Google stuff. So I decided to look for the words “MRSA”, “staphylococcus”, and “Staphylococcus.” Here’s what I found: