When friend becomes foe: gut bacteria triggers autoimmunity in mice and humans

The history of medicine and epidemiology is full of “bad bug” stories---bacteria have a reputation for causing many horrible diseases like cholera and tuberculosis. More recently, however, research efforts like the Human Microbiome Project have turned to investigating the role that “ good bacteria” plays in everyday health. The human microbiome is complex, and consists … Continue reading When friend becomes foe: gut bacteria triggers autoimmunity in mice and humans

Vector-borne diseases: directions in transmission

Pathogens, including viruses and bacteria, have one primary goal: reproduction. Transmission is the movement of a pathogen from one host to the next. Infectious pathogens that cause disease have evolved to enhance the likelihood of transmission so that they can infect more hosts. For example, influenza virus and the measles virus are both highly contagious … Continue reading Vector-borne diseases: directions in transmission

The very model of a modern research organism

When studying biology, researchers often run into experimental limitations due to the complexity of living beings---especially in regards to human health and disease. Depending on the scientific questions being asked, researchers turn to a model system or model organism to simulate complex biological mechanisms and gain further understanding. A model organism can be as simple … Continue reading The very model of a modern research organism