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Lab Rat

Lab Rat

Exploring the life and times of bacteria

  • A farewell to Lab Rat

    By S.E. Gould | December 15, 2014 |

    When I first started a science blog, back in the summer of 2008, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from it. It was started mostly for me, to encourage me to read more papers and write about science. It was gratifying and exciting to find that people enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, and travelling from Field of Science all the way to Scientific American, not to mention getting paid for writing posts, was a huge benefit when it came to taking the leap from laboratory work to science writing. […]

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  • Shooting the messenger: small RNA as a target for antibiotics

    Shooting the messenger: small RNA as a target for antibiotics

    By S.E. Gould | October 12, 2014 |

    All living cells contain DNA; the code for producing every protein needed by the cell. As DNA is important it needs to be kept safe. Plants and animals keep their DNA tightly twisted and organised inside a double-membrane bound nucleus while bacteria keep their DNA coiled up in a big circle, with the occasional loop floating around separately. […]

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  • Lab Rat Lecture

    By S.E. Gould | October 5, 2014 |

    Last month I had the privilege of being invited as a speaker for the Blogging Microbes event at the University of Nottingham. Hosted by Ivan Lafayette it was a great discussion of the role of blogs, twitter, and podcasts in communicating science, particularly microbiology, to a wider audience. […]

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  • The viruses that spread antibiotic resistance

    The viruses that spread antibiotic resistance

    By S.E. Gould | August 10, 2014 |

    Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria, and in the great war between humans and pathogenic bacteria they can act as allies for both sides. Phages that destroy their host bacteria can be used as antimicrobial therapy , complementing or replacing antibiotics. […]

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  • Glowing fungi for studying infectious diseases

    Glowing fungi for studying infectious diseases

    By S.E. Gould | August 3, 2014 |

    When studying how infections grow and spread it is always helpful to be able to see the organism causing the disease. There are currently a range of microbial and labelling techniques available to view micro-organisms within the cells they infect, and one of the most useful is bioluminescence imaging. […]

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  • The Science of Sauerkraut: Bacterial Fermentation, Yum!

    The Science of Sauerkraut: Bacterial Fermentation, Yum!

    By S.E. Gould | July 26, 2014 |

    Last week my husband needed some jars for cooking purposes. Tesco sell jars for somewhere around £3 each. However they also sell large jars full of sauerkraut for £1 each. Which means that last weekend we had an awful lot of sauerkraut to try and get through. […]

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  • Urease: an anti-microbial target in bacteria and fungi

    Urease: an anti-microbial target in bacteria and fungi

    By S.E. Gould | July 20, 2014 |

    Urea is a small molecule formed as proteins are broken down. It's excreted in urine, but isn't particularly toxic at low levels so it's found in cells throughout the body. The molecular structure of urea is below, and as it contains nitrogen (N) several pathogens have adapted to use it as a nitrogen source using an enzyme called urease to break it down. […]

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  • Salmonella Prefers One Gut Nutrient Once Pathogenic

    Salmonella Prefers One Gut Nutrient Once Pathogenic

    By S.E. Gould | July 13, 2014 |

    As antibiotic resistance increases the search for new anti-bacterial treatments becomes more and more important. One way to design anti-bacterials is to find specific biochemical pathways that the bacteria require to survive, and develop drugs that block off these pathways. […]

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  • Arctic creepy-crawlies part II: woolly bear caterpillars

    Arctic creepy-crawlies part II: woolly bear caterpillars

    By S.E. Gould | June 29, 2014 |

    This is the second part of my two-part mini series on Arctic creepy-crawlies. Part I: ice worms can be found here . Part II: Woolly bear caterpillar The Arctic woolly bear moth (Gynaephora groenlandica) is found in Greenland and Canada around the Arctic Circle. […]

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  • Arctic creepy-crawlies part I: the ice worms

    Arctic creepy-crawlies part I: the ice worms

    By S.E. Gould | June 28, 2014 |

    Following my previous post on wildlife diseases, I've been in a fairly multicellular mood. Rather than try and turn my mind back to bacteria I decided to get it out of my system by finishing the month with a two part mini-series on creepy-crawlies that survive in some of the harshest conditions on earth; the frozen arctic. […]

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