fungus

Microbiologists often study microbes in isolation. In the scientific vernacular, this is called "pure culture." While this is necessary to understand how individual microbes work, the trouble with this approach is that microbes do not live by themselves in the natural environment. Instead, they live in communities with multiple other species, cooperating and competing in order to survive.

As a result, microbes can behave very differently in the environment compared to the artificial solitude of the laboratory. This insight has helped spur the field of microbial ecology, which studies microbial interactions with each other and the environment. One technique to do is "co-culture." Instead of growing...

The body's organs are fed by blood, which provides nutrients in exchange for waste products from cells. This free exchange of goods and services, however, is dangerous for the brain, primarily for two reasons.

First, the brain is under tight metabolic control. If ions and other substances had easy access to the brain, neurons would not work properly. Second, if there wasn't an extra layer of protection, nasty microbes could gain access. To prevent both of these unpleasant outcomes, the brain is protected by a special wall, called the blood-brain barrier (BBB), that tightly regulates what goes in and out of the brain. 

Despite this extra security, some pathogens still get in. One of them is called Cryptococcus neoformans, a fungus that can be found in the...

All things being equal, it's my belief that avid golfers and plant pathologists normally don't have a whole lot in common. Coming from different worlds, their interests likely intersect with the frequency of a hole-in-one, at best.

However, in at least one instance when they did, the collaboration was as rewarding as watching a laser-like, fairway drive finding the green and coming to rest on the edge of the cup. And after an easy tap in, it was another crowd-pleasing win for science.

Researchers recently became interested in the short-cut grasses of several golf courses in the southeastern U.S. when superintendents from several states began noticing dark, stain-like patches that they've never seen before. And unable to identify them, course caretakers did not know which...

cancer cellsUnder the guise of proposing a Right to Try bill in the Nevada legislature, Assemblywoman Michele Fiore has publicized her apparently serious belief that cancer is caused by a fungus and can be cured by flushing...saltwater [and] sodium carbonate [sic] through the body.

She likely meant sodium bicarbonate in the form of baking soda. Well, now that we ve clarified that: she is a Republican representing Las Vegas in the statehouse, and she has no medical or scientific credentials. Her approach to the right to try has to do with allowing terminally ill patients easier access to alternative treatments not...