J. K. Wickiser Lab

Posts Tagged ‘Microbiology’

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The essential genome of a bacterium: wants versus needs.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lucy Shaprio and colleagues have identifed the minimal set of genes required for caulobacter to thrive on rich media. This work will help others bioengineer the organism to function in a variety of roles involving the production of small molecule metabolites and the generation of biosensor systems.

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Microbial Bioinfomatics tools

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cool tools for microbial bioinformatics from Berkeley Lab.

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Network Science – making even Slime Molds sexy

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Slime molds don’t sound very exciting but researchers are using them to optimize networks ranging from highway systems to disasters emergency response procedures. In this recent NYT Science Times piece, the research of several prominent labs is showcased.

In short, these organisms live as individual soil-dwelling cells and are content to survive on their basic food source: bacteria. But when food becomes scarce, these individuals send a chemical signal out to each other and a major change in physiology and strategy takes place. Some cells will sacrifice themselves for the great good of the group by filling themselves up with a carbohydrate that stiffens them (causing death). These cells serve as a scaffold support so that other cells can use this stalk as a structure to form spores, or cellular life rafts, that are capable of weathering the starvation conditions. Only when food becomes plentiful do the spores change back into individual cells to form a new colony.

The Bionetworks group in the Network Science Center is currently studying the modes of communication between cells as they respond not only to starvation conditions, but chemical contaminants of military interest as well.

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Conspiracy messages in my DNA – oh noes !!!1111111!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Here’s a fun little pop sci article dealing with encoding messages in DNA. Unfortunately this article takes away from the real news: that aliens hacked up their genomes, inserted them into bacteria, and sent them forward on meteors eons ago to populate different worlds. I’m sure there’s a PhD thesis in there someplace.

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Meeting: The fight against drug resistance in bacteria

Monday, August 29, 2011

Here’s a cool looking meeting at NYAS in a couple months dealing with the evolution of drug resistant strains of microbes.

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Meet the scientists of JKW Lab

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hi my name is Hannah Lachance and I am a laboratory technician in the JKW lab. The main project I am working on involves studying how organisms such as E. coli and B. subtilis react to RDX exposure.

Techniques I use in these experiments includes growing cell cultures in various mediums, extracting RNA and DNA, running reverse transcriptions in order to obtain cDNA, using organism specific primers to run PCR and QPCR and performing gel electrophoresis. I highly enjoy working in the lab because it helps reinforce all that I have learned in school in a very practical and meaningful way. In addition, I get to work with amazing people and have fun while learning and accumulating valuable skills.

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Polymers to destroy MRSA

Monday, August 8, 2011

From the lab’s George Markt: Researchers from IBM and Singapore‚Äôs Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have discovered new types of polymers that have the ability to physically detect and destroy Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria which causes the staph infection in humans. Current antibiotics have two main problems. They leave the bacterial cell walls and membranes largely undamaged, which allow the bacteria the possibility to evolve and resist the antibiotics. Also, high doses of antibiotics indiscriminately kill both red blood cells and bacteria. When the new polymers come into contact with water in the body they restructure in a way that allows them to electrostatically interact with the bacterial membrane and penetrate the membrane and wall, inhibiting potential resistance development. The polymers are also attracted to the unique electric charge of MRSA cells and do not interact with the red blood cells. Also, the new polymers are biodegradable and naturally leave the body. Medium-term market applications of the product include being incorporated into wound-healing materials and coatings for catheters or stents. They are looking into the effect of the polymers on a variety of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and how efficient they are at selectively killing these microbes as opposed to red blood cells.


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Good undergrad cloning site

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

RIT Cloning Class Site

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Community behavior in bacteria

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Interesting article about community behavior in bacteria:


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DTRA sponsored research at NCSU

Monday, January 24, 2011

Some great Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) – sponsored research at NCSU that our cadets may choose for a summer IAD(A):


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