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Quit smoking, more bacteria will like you

As an ex-smoker I can attest to this: quitting is  hard.  It can also make you fat. I gained quite a few kilos when I quit, and those took a long time to lose. Happily, these days I am spending money on running marathons rather than on cigarettes. Weight gain after smoking cessation is fairly […]

New Links between Bacteria and Cancer

Microbiology and Cancer Cancer and microbiology have been closely linked for over 100 years. Cancer patients are usually immunosuppressed due to chemotherapy, requiring special treatment and conditions to prevent bacterial infection. Bladder cancer is typically treated with inactivated tuberculosis bacteria to induce an inflammatory response which turns against remaining cancer cells, with remarkably effective results.  Also, viruses are […]

The power of single-cell genomics: the mysterious SR1 bacteria have a unique genetic code

Thanks to Mitch Balish for calling my attention to this one. SR1 bacteria are not exactly a household name, even among microbiologists. They were first discovered in contaminated aquifers,  and since then they were found to be also in animal and insect guts, as well as in human mouths. They are even suspected of being […]

Some omics words we would like to see

Advertisomics: environmental sequencing aimed at obtaining popular press coverage with little or no scientific value. Samples obtained from an environment otherwise not of microbiological interest. “Hey, did you hear they swabbed  the car wheels in the building’s parking lot and found that the microbes all cluster by tire brand name?” Celebromics: sequencing the genome or […]

Open Job: How did the Gulf Oil Spill Affect the Ocean’s Microbiome?

Well, we’re not sure. But if you would like to find out, and you are on the market for an exciting postdoc position, this is the best way to go about it: Postdoctoral Position in Laboratory of Jack A. Gilbert. http://www.bio.anl.gov/PI/gilbert.html http://pondside.uchicago.edu/ecol-evol/people/gilbert.html The Macondo wellhead oil leak, also known as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill […]

Repost: the New Natural History

Today is the last day of the 19th Lake Arrowhead Microbial Genomics meeting. A great meeting of everything good: science, atmosphere, people and location. Good tweeter coverage too, at #LAMG12 The many genomic characterization talks in the meeting reminded me of a post I wrote three years ago. I decided to repost it, and dedicate […]

ISMB 2012 Vignettes Pt. 3: Swag

Promotional materials are part of any conference. In scientific meetings, the swag usually comes from the booths of product promoters, science publishers, and scientific societies. It was a nice surprise to see a Federal funding agency, the US Department of Energy give away decks of cards. I’m a sucker for cards, so I took a […]

The Inside Poop

It’s pretty much common knowledge that mother’s milk is the healthiest food for infants, and that it bestows health benefits upon mother and baby that formula feeding cannot match. The unique combination of lipids, sugars, proteins and antibodies is not even close to being rivaled by baby formula manufacturers. With few exceptions, such as when […]

Circumcision, preventing fraud, and icky toilets. You know you’re going to read this.

In no particular order or ranking, recent and not-so-recent articles from PLoS-1. The common thread (if any): I thought they were pretty cool in one way or another.   1. Men don’t tell the truth about their penis. No kidding? But this is somewhat more serious. It has been accepted for some time that male […]

The Friedberg Lab is Recruiting Graduate Students

  The Friedberg Lab is recruiting graduate students, for both Master’s and Ph.D. WE ARE:  A dynamic young lab  interested in gene, gene cluster and genome evolution, understanding microbial communities and microbe-host interactions by metagenomic analyses, developing algorithms for understanding gene cluster evolution, and prediction of protein function from protein sequence and structure. YOU ARE: […]

Lake Arrowhead Microbial Genomics Conference

Quick post: at the Lake Arrowhead Microbial Genomics Conference. I’m a bad microblogger, but thankfully Jonathan Eisen and Ruchira Datta are doing a great job of covering this conference live. There is a friendfeed room. The Twitter hashtag is #LAMG10.  The science, people, food and location are all great. My student, David Ream, is presenting […]

Obesity: the role of the immune system

Obesity is one symptom of several, which together constitute what is now termed metabolic syndrome. Morbid obesity is also associated with a host of other symptoms including high blood sugar, high blood lipids, insulin resistance  and liver disorders. The root causes of which are traced back to excessive food consumption, reduced physical activity and in […]

I never metagenomics I didn’t like

“Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” — Proverbs 27:2 “What-ever” —  Me In PLoS Computational Biology this week, a trio of researchers provides a review of the challenges that metagenomics might ― and already do ― pose for bioinformaticians. The authors refer to metagenomic […]

A sh*tload of data

There are more microbial cells in our body than our own. Those microbes are not just passive hitchhikers or conversely, malicious agents of disease. They affect our well-being and health in a much broader spectrum than simply “bad” or “passive”. Among other things our gut microbes play an important role in digestion, have been linked […]

Blogosphere catches: Marco Island, finding Ada and blog carnivals

Some interesting events cropped up recently. The Marco Island Advances in Genome Biology and Technology meeting was heavily tweeted and blogged about.  Pacific Biosciences unveiled their third generation sequencer. Ostensibly, it can sequence reads of 20,000 length, but the fraction of actual long reads in a run, and their quality is still a bit hazy. […]