Lab News & Events

The aesthetics of coral reefs

Nov 18, 2015

Awesome science of the week

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The story behind the paper by @JeremyJBarr on phage using mucus to hunt prey

Oct 22, 2015

Jeremy Barr's article featured at the Tree of Life website

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The Phage is a Lonely Hunter

Oct 19, 2015

New research reveals that bacteriophages use slow, staccato movements to hunt bacteria on cell surfaces.

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PNAS: Subdiffusive motion of bacteriophage in mucosal surfaces increases the frequency of bacterial encounters

Oct 19, 2015

PNAS paper

Bacteriophages (phages) are viruses that infect and kill bacteria. Being inanimate, phages rely on diffusion to search for bacterial prey. Here we demonstrate that a phage that adheres weakly to mucus exhibits subdiffusive motion, not normal diffusion, in mucosal surfaces. Supporting theory and experiments revealed that subdiffusive motion increases bacterial encounter rates for phages when bacterial concentration is low. To the best of our knowledge, no other predator has been shown to effectively use a subdiffusive search mechanism. Mucosal surfaces are vulnerable to infection. Mucus-adherent phages reduce bacterial infection of lifelike mucosal surfaces more effectively than nonadherent phages. These findings provide a basis for engineering adherent phages to manipulate mucosal surface microbiomes for protection from infection and other purposes.

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Microbe Magazine Book Review: Life in Our Phage World

May 14, 2015
News Article New Drawings Show the Strange Beauty of Phages, the Bacteria Slayers

Mar 09, 2015
News Article

Inside the World of Viral Dark Matter

Feb 16, 2015

A celebration of the phage centennial in The New Yorker.

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