Archives for February, 2011

I started writing a lengthy response to a reader comment on one of Heather’s posts, but decided it could use a post of it’s own. The question: As to being pathogenic, is it possible that many bacteria are pathogenic if given sufficient opportunity? [snip] It seems largely to me that the line between pathogenic and…

The best offense is a good defensin

If you were going to design the perfect immune system, what would you do? This question is often posed to beginning immunology students, and the best answer may be so obvious that it doesn’t occur to most. The best immune system is one that prevent pathogens from ever gaining access to your squishy bits in…

A week of brain biggering

I got to spend last week in sunny California. I forgot how wonderful it is to sit and eat lunch outside! I was participating in a workshop held at the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute (JGI). The workshop was entitled Microbial Genomics and Metagenomics. Basically I spent the week learning about different tools that…

I mentioned this study a while ago, and promised a more detailed explanation. I apologize for how long it has taken, but here it is. How excited was I to learn that the most recent issue of Nature Geoscience had a special focus on deep sea carbon cycling? I admit it, pretty excited. I was…

At the superbowl party at my house last weekend, most folks didn’t really have a stake in who won. But several friends were rooting for Pittsburg to loose, largely due to their quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. In case you don’t pay attention to sports news (like me), Roethlisberger was twice accused of rape/sexual assault in the…

I was going to cover this paper, but Ed beat me to it (and did a far better job than I would have): With a pulse of light, Dayu Lin from New York University can turn docile mice into violent fighters – it’s Dr Jekyll’s potion, delivered via fibre optic cable. The light activates a…

New Lab Resolutions

My common New Year’s resolutions (get more exercise, keep my lab notebook up to date, etc) rarely make it off the starting block. In this I am hardly unique, and there are very good reasons why, so I usually also try to make one major, sort of intangible resolution. This year for instance (largely because…

Well I never…

PalMD has a great post about vaginas. More specifically, about the wonderful commensal bacteria that help keep a vagina at the proper pH, and what happens when they get booted out: From time to time, this normal balance of bacteria is disrupted. When this happens, the normally dominant Lactobacilli are outgrown by various anaerobic bacteria.…