Infectious Thoughts

What makes a bug super? Part II

Siouxsie Wiles Mar 07, 2011

In a recent post about the ‘superbug’ Staphylococcus aureus, I mentioned reading an article in the weekend Herald about a guy who had suffered badly from a series of major infections, including an ESBL superbug bacterium So what is this ESBL superbug? ESBL stands for Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases, a group of enzymes that are able to  deactivate … Read More


What makes a bug super?

Siouxsie Wiles Feb 17, 2011

The term ‘superbug’ gets bandied around quite a bit when referring to some bacteria. But what is a ‘superbug’? That font of all knowledge that is Wikipedia defines a superbug as a bacterium that is resistant to several antibiotics. But is it really as simple as that? I think if you asked a journalist (certainly one that writes for … Read More


When microbiologists go bad (or in praise of google alerts)

Siouxsie Wiles Jan 31, 2011

I’ve only just recently discovered google alerts. I’m not sure how this gem has managed to evade me. I’ve set it up to search for just two terms at the moment and am loving the daily email that pops up. One of my search terms is Staphylococcus aureus, one of the microbes my research is currently focussed on. Read More


1Above: the world’s first aerotonic flight beverage. Seriously.

Siouxsie Wiles Jan 15, 2011

I’ve just arrived in Vancouver* and had the pleasure of sampling Auckland airport’s revamped international departure lounge. More comfy seating, more shops, a rather scrummy gelato bar and then bam. I was (visually) assaulted by a flashing blue display for something called 1Above**. The world’s first aerotonic** flight beverage, apparently. According to the press release, 1Above** was “designed, … Read More


Wakefield’s (bad) science: when measles isn’t actually measles.

Siouxsie Wiles Jan 09, 2011

Fellow Sciblogger Grant Jacobs and I have both recently posted on the BMJ’s editorial ‘Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent’. The editors left us with plenty of food for thought, including: ‘What of Wakefield’s other publications? In light of this new information their veracity must be questioned. Past experience tells us that research misconduct … Read More


The Wakefield-Autism BMJ editorial revisited

Siouxsie Wiles Jan 09, 2011

Fellow SciBlogger Grant Jacobs has written an excellent post on the BMJ’s recent editorial ‘Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent’. I’d like to add a few points. I was recently told that the BMJ originally rejected Wakefield’s paper. I wonder if they sent it out for peer review? * If so, wouldn’t it be interesting … Read More



Siouxsie Wiles Nov 22, 2010

I’m feeling a little melancholic today. Last night I saw an obituary on the Guardian website for Dr Judit Nagy, a former colleague from my time at Imperial College London. She was the director of the proteomics facility, an excellent scientist and genuinely nice person. In an environment like Imperial it was always nice to have role models … Read More