A University of Colorado at Boulder team has developed the first atlas of bacterial diversity across the human body, charting wide variations in microbe populations that live in different regions of the body and which aid us in physiological functions that contribute to our health.

The study showed humans carry "personalized" communities of bacteria around that vary widely from our foreheads and feet to our noses and navels, said CU-Boulder's Rob Knight, senior author on the paper published in the Nov. 6 issue of Science Express. The researchers found unexpectedly wide variability in bacterial communities from person to person in the study, which included nine healthy volunteers and which targeted 27 specific sites on the body.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — A 21-year Michigan State University experiment that distills the essence of evolution in laboratory flasks not only demonstrates natural selection at work, but could lead to biotechnology and medical research advances, researchers said.

Charles Darwin’s seminal Origin of Species first laid out the case for evolution exactly 150 years ago. Now, MSU professor Richard Lenski and colleagues document the process in their analysis of 40,000 generations of bacteria, published this week in the international science journal Nature.

U of C, Parks Canada investigating causes of noxious river algae

It’s nicknamed `rock snot’ for pretty obvious reasons, but its source is anything but obvious. The University of Calgary is working with Parks Canada to learn more about this noxious algae’s origins and cause of growth.

Leland Jackson, professor and associate head of grad studies in the Department of Biological Sciences, discovered Didymosphenia geminata, also known as ‘didymo,’ when he was conducting research on land use and its effect on the Red Deer, Oldman and Bow rivers in 2004.

Yiping HanThe best way to keep bacteria from doing any damage is to stop them before they start down their pathological road to destruction.

Yiping Han, associate professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, aims to understand how to block a common bacterium that’s harmless in a mother’s mouth but can turn deadly when it reaches an unborn child. She has received a five-year, $1.85 million grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at the National Institutes of Health to fund the effort.

Andrew AndersonIt would be hard to blame BYU undergrad Andrew Anderson had he decided to keep the large, brightly colored cutthroat trout he hoisted from a local mountain stream.

Instead Anderson practiced a partial form of catch-and-release that would leave seasoned anglers scratching their heads. Before returning the fish to water to swim another day, Anderson snipped a piece of tail fin and tucked it away in a plastic sandwich bag full of ice.

Of course, you don’t need much of a fish if you only want its DNA.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have found that killer T cells -- the sentinels of the immune system – possess a hidden strength that may be used to improve vaccine design for tough-to-beat bugs, such as Staphylococcus aureus. 

The new experiments show that killer T cells can attack bacteria that attach to the outside of cells. Prior to this work, immunologists thought that killer T cells only attacked cells that had been invaded by bacteria and other pathogens, said Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Ralph Isberg, who is at Tufts University.

“Killer T cell responses have long been associated with pathogens that grow within host cells,” says Isberg. “But we were surprised when we found that killer T cells were really important for protection against this extracellular bacterium.”

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This news service is provided by Good Samaritan Institute, located in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

GSI is a non-profit dedicated to the advancement of medical research by improving communication among scientists.