Category Archives: Microbiology

Our Looming Bacterial Transposon Crisis

For the non-biologists, a bacterial transposon is a region of DNA, usually five to twenty thousand bases (‘letters of DNA’) long that can move around (transposition). Many bacterial plasmids–mini-chromosomes that can move from bacterium to bacterium–carry transposons. In bacterial, transposons … Continue reading

Posted in Microbiology | 1 Comment

Clostridioides Difficile Is Expensive

The infection known as ‘C diff’ is caused by the organism Clostridioides* difficile. It’s often the result of antibiotic therapy, since antibiotic use can disrupt the normal microbial flora, making way for C. difficile. This means this infections are likely … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Microbiology, Public Health | 1 Comment

Betsy McCaughey Engages In Classic Whattaboutism On Healthcare

So I came across this op-ed about Medicaid by Betsy McCaughey, a long-time foe of, well, any healthcare insurance improvements (and who also thinks we can combat the antibiotic resistance problem with hospital choice), and, surprisingly, it started off well … Continue reading

Posted in Conservatives, Healthcare, Microbiology, Public Health

Men Against Death

Observed at the New Orleans Convention Center, New Orleans, LA: And always push your catalog:

Posted in Microbiology, New Orleans | 1 Comment


Observed at the New Orleans Convention Center, LA:

Posted in Microbiology | 1 Comment


A fermenter from the 1980s, used to produce insulin, at the National Museum of American History, D.C.: Closeup:

Posted in Microbiology, Museums etc. | 2 Comments

Thoughts On ASM Microbe 2016

And other possibly related things as well, along with various ruminations on my part. Let’s begin: 1. E. coli ST131-fimH30, the clone (‘MLST type’) that causes many ESBL and CRE infections (the only beta-lactams that work against ESBLs are carbapenemes, … Continue reading

Posted in Meetings, Microbiology

Yes, We Can Isolate Most Human Gut Microbes

A long-standing canard that really bothers me is the notion that most (“99%”) human gut microbes are unculturable–that is, we can’t grow them in the lab. As I noted a long time ago, that’s not the case: This false statement … Continue reading

Posted in Microbiology, Microbiome

The Great Agar Crisis of 2015

This doesn’t bode well (boldface mine): Microbiology’s most important reagent is in short supply, with potential consequences for research, public health and clinical labs around the world. Agar — the seaweed-derived, gelatinous substance that biologists use to culture microbes — … Continue reading

Posted in Bidness, Microbiology | 1 Comment

New IRB Regulations Could Be Really Stupid

And they will make microbiological research much harder. For those who don’t know what an IRB is (a perfectly reasonable state of affairs), it stands for Institutional Review Board, and it is the entity (actually, entities plural–most universities and large … Continue reading

Posted in Fucking Morons, Microbiology | 2 Comments