LJI Instructor Annie Elong Ngono, Ph.D., wins GVN support to advance infectious disease research

LJI Instructor Annie Elong Ngono, Ph.D., has spearheaded important studies into the immune response to deadly pathogens such as dengue virus. Now, this dedication to global health and virology has earned her acceptance to the Global Virus Network’s (GVN) highly selective Rising Star Mentorship Program.

Current vaccine approach not enough to eradicate measles

Current vaccination strategies are unlikely to eliminate measles, according to a new study led by faculty at the University of Georgia. The paper, which published today in The Lancet Global Health, explores the feasibility of eliminating measles and rubella using predominant vaccination strategies in 93 countries with the highest disease burden.

Charlotte researchers part of NSF-supported center investigating ‘healthier’ buildings

Could the design of a hospital or a school affect the germs that can spread within it? UNC Charlotte bioinformatics professor Anthony Fodor is part of a team seeking to find out. He is among the group of researchers undertaking an effort to better understand and improve the microbial communities of where people live, work and play.

Texas Biomed tapped for national ‘Dream Team’ developing antivirals against COVID-19 and other threats

Texas Biomedical Research Institute Professor Luis Martinez-Sobrido, PhD, an expert in virology, vaccines and antiviral research, has been recruited to collaborate with three of the nine Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern announced by NIH this spring.

Evolve… Innovate… Repeat: Scientists Peel Back the Layers of Virus-Host Evolution and Innovation

Scientists have uncovered an intriguing new understanding of how viruses and the hosts they infect evolve new innovations to outcompete each other. Culminating a 10-year research effort, the researchers tracked the way fitness landscapes constantly change in the ongoing struggle for survival.

A New Approach Produces a 90-Fold Increase in Known Viral Taxa

Viruses play an essential role in regulating microbiomes. However, the use of metagenomics and metatranscriptomics have produced taxonomies of only a tiny proportion of the world’s viruses. In this study, researchers used a novel algorithm to compare and incorporate 715,672 metagenome viruses from environmental samples around the world. This expands the viral taxa available to researchers from about 8,000 to 723,672. The scientists then used the data to examine samples from two Populus tree genotypes.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Viral ‘Pandemics’ in Oceans

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 6, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick microbial oceanographer Kay D. Bidle is available for interviews on the persistent and profound impact of viral infections on algae in the oceans. These infections influence the Earth’s carbon cycle, which helps…

Higher Pollen Levels Correlated With Increased Coronavirus Infection Rates

New Brunswick, N.J. (March 9, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick allergy specialist Leonard Bielory is available for interviews on a study he co-authored that correlates higher airborne pollen concentrations with increased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates. High-risk individuals should wear particle filter…

More than 1,000 SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus Protein 3D Structures Available

New Brunswick, N.J. (March 3, 2021) – The 3D structures of more than 1,000 SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus proteins are freely available from the RCSB Protein Data Bank headquartered at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. The data bank reached the milestone this week, with 1,018 proteins as…

Houston Methodist expert notes COVID-19 precautions lead to historic drop in flu cases

A silver lining is emerging amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Influenza numbers are way down – 98 percent down, according to the CDC. Locally, during flu season last year, Houston Methodist’s system of eight hospitals saw 250 to 450 flu cases per week. This year the hospital system has seen only 2 to 5 flu cases per week so far. The numbers tell a striking story. Handwashing, masking and social distancing work.

Retrained generic antibodies can recognize SARS-CoV-2

An alternative approach to train the immunity response is offered by researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago and California State University at Sacramento who have developed a novel strategy that redirects antibodies for other diseases existing in humans to the spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2.

Alzheimer’s microbe hypothesis gets major NIH funding

After years of paltry funding, research on the possible role of microbes in the causation of Alzheimer’s disease will now get a major infusion of grants from the NIH’s National Institute on Aging

Uncovering Novel Genomes from Earth’s Microbiomes

Reported in Nature Biotechnology, the known diversity of bacteria and archaea has been expanded by 44% through a publicly available collection of more than 52,000 microbial genomes from environmental samples resulting from a JGI-led collaboration involving more than 200 scientists around the world.

What’s That Growing on Your Face Mask?

Many people reuse masks and other face coverings many times without sanitizing them. That is likely because current sanitization methods can be cumbersome. A new device using a hanging rack and UV-C light can sterilize up to six masks and other items simultaneously and quickly, killing bacteria, yeasts, mold spores, and viruses. This device has shown its efficacy against pathogens including the highly-contagious E-coli, which was eradicated in about one minute.

UCLA Health infectious disease experts tout critical role mask wearing plays in limiting spread of COVID-19

With thousands of new cases logged daily and a vaccine to fight COVID-19 still in development, UCLA Health infectious disease experts are encouraging people to continue to wear masks as the best method of protecting against virus transmission.

Ocean Algae Get “Coup de Grace” from Viruses

Scientists have long believed that ocean viruses always quickly kill algae, but Rutgers-led research shows they live in harmony with algae and viruses provide a “coup de grace” only when blooms of algae are already stressed and dying. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, will likely change how scientists view viral infections of algae, also known as phytoplankton – especially the impact of viruses on ecosystem processes like algal bloom formation (and decline) and the cycling of carbon and other chemicals on Earth.

Cleaning up the Germs that Cause COVID-19

A meme is circulating on the Internet comparing the statement “once COVID-19 is over” to the wishful possibility of winning the lottery. Both might seem very out of reach, but continuing to remain vigilant with frequent handwashing, social distancing, mask-wearing,…

World’s Most Complete Health Analysis of Nesting Sea Turtles Conducted in Florida

The most comprehensive health assessment for a green turtle rookery in the world to date is providing critical insights into various aspects of physiology, biology, and herpesvirus epidemiology of this nesting population. Findings are hopeful for this population of green sea turtles in southeastern Florida, offer important data on the profile of health for future comparative investigations, and suggest that viruses are endemically stable in this nesting population.

Laser, Biosciences Researchers Combine Efforts to Study Viruses in Droplets

Laser and biology experts at Berkeley Lab are working together to develop a platform and experiments to study the structure and components of viruses like the one causing COVID-19, and to learn how viruses interact with their surrounding environment. The experiments could provide new insight on how to reduce the infectiousness of viruses.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Risks of Ocean Activities During COVID-19 Pandemic

New Brunswick, N.J. (May 21, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Kay Bidle is available for interviews on the possible risks from the novel coronavirus or other pathogens while swimming or surfing in oceans, bays, lakes and rivers. “We currently know very…

Rutgers Experts Can Discuss Earth Day Legacy on 50th Anniversary

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 20, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick professors Robert E. Kopp and Karen M. O’Neill are available for interviews on the legacy of Earth Day and what the future may hold for humanity and the environment on our fragile planet. Kopp…

Staff at Berkeley Lab’s X-ray Facility Mobilize to Support COVID-19-Related Research

Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source X-ray facility has been recalled to action to support research related to COVID-19, the coronavirus disease that has already infected about 2 million people around the world.

‘Are Noncommunicable Diseases Communicable?’ Rutgers Experts Available to Discuss Paper in Science Today

New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 16, 2020) – Rutgers professors Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello and Martin J. Blaser are available to discuss a paper in the journal Science today on whether diseases long thought to be noncommunicable – such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer…

High Levels of Fecal Bacteria Found in Lower Raritan River

New Brunswick, N.J. (Sept. 17, 2019) – High levels of fecal bacteria have often been found at six new water sampling sites in the lower Raritan River since May, according to a Rutgers-coordinated monitoring program that included more than 20…