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Keeping harmful protein fibres at bay

Misfolded proteins are not just useless — they can be toxic. Some of them form linear aggregates known as amyloid fibres that can lead to disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Writing in PLoS Biology, James Shorter and colleagues describe a protein machinery that inhibits the formation and helps to dissolve such fibres. Heat shock...

Social media tools and academic publishing, a presentation by Alan Cann

The following video is a presentation by Alan J. Cann for Editing in the Digital World, 11th EASE General Assembly and Conference Tallinn, Estonia, 8-10 June 2012. Abstract of the presentation as published in the conference programme: Social media tools and academic publishing Alan J. Cann, Internet Consulting Editor, Annals of Botany; Department...

Year of Biodiversity: only for cute animals and plants?

The United Nations declared 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity. This sounds great, let's celebrate and protect the variety of life on Earth! We must learn more about current (and past) biodiversity and the impact that human activities have on the distribution and abundance of organisms. Also, we should explore any effective ways to protect...

Microbiology blogs: a list of 20 great blogs for microbe lovers

Bertalan Meskó (@Berci) has compiled a list of microbiology blogs that you may find useful: Microbiology in the Blogosphere. Envious, I decided to make my own list of microbiology blogs. After checking my Google Reader, I came up with a collection of 20 great blogs. I know there are many more out there, so please feel free to add a comment and suggest...

Cornering multiple sclerosis -- still a long way to go

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that causes neurological disability in young adults. Several environmental and genetic factors have been linked to the disease, but the precise mechanisms involved, and whether neurological damage precedes inflammation or vice versa, remain unclear. In a recent article published...

Time-lapse photography of growing mould - Amazing video!

Please watch the following video made by Nick Lariontsev, and then let me know if you don't think that microbes are fascinating things.The video was made using time-lapse photography, with several fungi as 'actors': apparently, Aspergillus fumigatus, Botrytis, Mucor, Trichoderma and Cladosporium. You can see several pictures of the device used to take...

Want to have some fun? Do some peer reviewing for a scientific journal!

Every December, the journal Environmental Microbiology publishes a collection of humorous quotes made by peer reviewers while assessing manuscripts submitted to the journal. Some of them are hilarious! I am extracting a few of them from the last two years, but I recommend reading them all! Here you go:Desperate referees:This paper is desperate. Please...

TED videos: excellent talks about life, the universe and everything -- including microbes

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to "ideas worth spreading." They are mostly known because of their growing collection of fascinating talks about a wide array of topics, including science, art and anything in-between (or around). The talks are recorded and the videos are freely available at their website, where you can also find information about...

Elio Schaechter comments on state microbes at NPR (podcasts)

It seems that Wisconsinites are not getting their own state microbe after all. What a shame!Transcripts of these radio podcasts are available at the NPR website:- A state microbe for cheese-crazed Wisconsin? April 16th, 2010.- No state microbe for Wisconsin. April 28th, 2010.From Wikipedia:National Public Radio (NPR) is a privately and publicly funded...

Microbial pigments: an untapped resource for teachers, artists and researchers

The journal PLoS Biology has launched a new series of articles on education "to present innovative approaches to teaching critical concepts, developments, and methods in biology." The title of the first article in the series is In Living Color: Bacterial Pigments as an Untapped Resource in the Classroom and Beyond. From the article:"Soil bacteria from...

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