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James Balm

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Do you love Game of Thrones? Do you love RuPaul's Drag Race? Then this is for you:

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12 reasons you need to read about lactic acid ‪#‎bacteria‬.

Lactic acid bacteria have been used in the food industry for years. They're a vital probiotic ingredient with many ‪#‎health‬ benefits. These 'friendly' bacteria have a lot to offer!

Here are some of the recent findings:
•  They kill undesirable bacteria & make food safer
•  They can affect behavior in fruit flies
•  They can help prevent infection

Learn more about them in our latest blog. Perfect for ‪#‎microbiology‬ enthusiasts: 

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The power of pictures. How we can use images to promote and communicate science

Can pictures help promote your research?
A picture really does tell a thousand words when it comes to communicating science. Us humans are visual creatures. Images easily capture our attention & help explain difficult concepts in #science that we may originally struggle to understand.

Social media & images
Social media is a great way to promote research, but did you know posting with an image gains 10x more engagement? The visuals of science can be throughout social media platforms, especially Tumblr.

Learn more in our latest blog. Perfect for #scicomm enthusiasts:

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Stress during pregnancy can be passed down through generations

Could our ancestors’ #stress shape who we are? Recent research from University of Lethbridge has found stress during #pregnancy can lead to increased risk of preterm birth & changes in epigenetic signature that can be passed down through generations. 

A #preterm birth generations later
Stress during pregnancy not only shortens length of pregnancy in the current mother - but it shortens length of pregnancy throughout generations to come.

The genetics & #epigenetics behind it
These changes may be due to a microRNA (miRNA)-mediated mechanism, which could be epigenetically inherited across multiple generations.

You can read this important #openaccess research here:

...or check out +The Scientist's article:

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Zombie #science!

Can a fungus really control the #brain?
Here's the scary answer: yes, it can, in ants. Whilst the fungal parasite ( Ophiocordyceps ) infects & kills all ants, it only targets & manipulates the brain of a very particular species of ant in order to begin its reign of terror.  Researchers believe this may be thanks to pheromones.

Find out more in the #zombie research here:

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#Leishmania can be a friendly parasite... for the sand fly. 

Leishmania may be harmful to us humans, but it's probiotic for the sand fly. This protozoa in the gut protects the sand fly from deadly bacterial infection, helping it survive long enough so that it can spread the #leishmaniasis disease. 

In other words: this parasite is using the sand fly as a vehicle, by improving its life & keeping it alive. Good news for the sand fly, not for us.

You can read the original research here (for free!):

OR check out +The Scientist's coverage in the link below:

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Hi all, I thought I'd share this post about open access advocate & European Commission member, +Neelie Kroes, & her recent victory in winning the +BioMedCentral *Open Access Advocacy Award.* Her blog is worth a read!:
We have a winner! The BioMed Central Open Access Advocacy Award winner has been announced. 

A huge congratulations to Ms +Neelie Kroes, member of the European Commission & winner of our Open Access Advocacy Award. We offer Ms Kroes our thanks for all her support towards ‪#‎openaccess‬.

You can read Neelie Kroes' blog below on the importance of open science: 

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Where did the Dodo & Spotted Green Pigeon come from?

For 200 years the origin of the extinct Dodo & Spotted Green Pigeon has been a mystery.

Now new research from +Griffith University in Australia has unveiled these too bizarre #birds are descendants of an island hopping bird.

You can learn more in our latest blog: 

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What would we do without antibiotics?
We often seem to take #antibiotics for granted, but they have been vital in ensuring our survival. 

In the past 
Penicillin was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, & it changed the world. Thanks to antibiotics we are safe from diseases that could have once killed us very easily.

The present
Now thanks to bacterial #evolution & overprescription we are seeing a rising threat of antibiotic resistance that could throw us back into the dark ages. 

In intensive care units (ICU), we see the Enterobacteriaceae bacterium is growing resistant to major antibiotic families. Not only that but it's a large cause of death.

The future
Global groups are coming together to combat the problems, with an aim to fight overprescription & to discovery new antibiotics. 

But, how will they do this? What else can we do to stop this rising threat? Check out the blog for more information!:

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Scientists have found new giant 'Samba virus' in the #Amazon   River. 

The newly discovered 'Samba virus' is now the largest known virus in Brazil. This #virus  was found in the Rio Negro river inhabiting an amoeba (known as the Acanthamoeba). The Amazon holds a rich & diverse ecology - not just for animals but #microbes  too! 

Learn more about the new Amazonian 'Samba virus' in our latest blog:
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