Pandemic influenza awareness week. Day 2: Our adventures with avian flu

Anyone working in the area of influenza virus epidemiology is familiar with the name Robert Webster. A virologist at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, the native New Zealander has been leading the charge against influenza for well over 40 years. Barely out of graduate school, Webster hypothesized that something like genetic reassortment (which had […]

Pandemic influenza awareness week. Day 1: History of pandemic influenza

It’s hard to avoid hearing about influenza virus these days. In all the noise, it’s tough to sort out the facts from the rumors and conspiracy theories. I’ve already discussed a bit about the basic biology of the virus in this post, so I’m not going to review that here (though a good overview can […]

Marshall and Warren win prize for work on Helicobacter as cause of peptic ulcers

But I thought biologists were too “close-minded?” Australians Barry J. Marshall and Robin Warren won the 2005 Nobel Prize in medicine Monday for showing that bacterial infection, not stress, was to blame for painful ulcers in the stomach and intestine. The Australians’ idea was “very much against prevailing knowledge and dogma because it was thought […]

Emergence of canine influenza

Canine flu strikes in Westchester county, NY. A NEW strain of influenza that began infecting dogs in Florida early last year has recently struck hard in the Westchester area, forcing the temporary closure of two kennels after more than 100 dogs being boarded there became ill, veterinary officials say. Gracelane Kennels in Ossining underwent decontamination […]

Dobzhansky and anthrax

The Washington Post today reminds us that there has been little progress in uncovering the source of the 2001 anthrax attacks. [1] First, a disclaimer. I’m not an “evolutionary biologist,” per se. I have what is I swear the longest job title ever–molecular infectious disease epidemiologist. As such, I often get asked, “what’s the relevance […]

Plaque–evidence for Design!

Every now and then, I check in over at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) to see what new projects they’re up to, as well as to see if they’ve released a particular genome sequence I’m waiting on. Yesterday I noticed this project: Innovative Metagenomics Strategy Used To Study Oral Microbes Rockville, MD – The […]