Cellular & Microscopic Biology

Cellular and microscopic biology allow scientists to study cells and microorganisms. Cellular biology is the study of cells, including their structure and function. Microbiology is the study of microorganisms, which include algae, bacteria, and viruses.

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For something too small to be detected by an ordinary microscope, viruses pack a big punch. We all know they can wreak havoc on the body, but how do they do it?

By Molly Edmonds

When you've been in bed for two days clutching a bottle of cough medicine and a box of tissues, you know it's germs behind your misery. How do they do it?

By Molly Edmonds

You've heard it on the lips of every newscaster and seen it in the pages of every newspaper and Web site: swine flu. Just how worried should we be about the 2009 version of the H1N1 virus?

By Molly Edmonds


Are you the first to complain when it's too hot or too cold at work? Extremophiles have news for you: Suck it up. These hardy microbes make most of us humans seem like whimpering Goldilocks, and studying them may tell us more than you might imagine.

By Jacob Silverman

Herd immunity means that after a certain percentage of a population is immune to a disease, the whole population is. This is usually achieved through vaccination but some are not convinced.

By Alia Hoyt & Molly Edmonds

Researchers are working on ways to engineer viruses to attack cancer cells, killing the disease without radiation, medicine or surgery. How do the viruses know what to kill?

By Josh Clark

How can spam e-mail help fight HIV? Find out how spam e-mail and HIV are linked and learn about new methods for HIV treatment.

By Josh Clark


You may be familiar with the medieval "Black Plague," but did you know that bouts of plague still break out today? Find out what causes an outbreak, why plague still exists and how the plague has influenced history.

By Tracy V. Wilson & Alia Hoyt

Hand sanitizers can only get you so far in preventing a viral infection. Scientists are discovering how visible light can be used to destroy viruses. Learn about the laser technique and what it means for the future.

By Jacob Silverman & Patrick J. Kiger

Like the one ring of power in Tolkien's fantasy trilogy, "Lord of the Rings," deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the master molecule of every cell. From its structure to what it does, learn all about DNA.

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

The results of three recent studies show that an uncircumcised man is twice as likely to contract AIDS from an infected woman as is a circumcised one.

By Julia Layton


The journal "Nature" recently published a paper describing how a cell transplant had allowed blind mice to see again. What does this mean for humans?

By Tracy V. Wilson

If you've kept up with the news lately, you've probably heard dire warnings about avian flu, or bird flu. In this article, we'll review the basics of how viruses and influenza work, and we'll learn the answers to these and other questions about avian flu, including whether it is likely to cause a global flu epidemic.

By Tracy V. Wilson

We hear about them on the news and we listen to politicians argue for and against them using them to treat disease. Learn all about stem cells and the research, challenges and controversy that surround them.

By Stephanie Watson & Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

While most flu sufferers moan and groan for about a week and then return to work, the flu season creates more than just discomfort and a costly loss of work days.

By Stephanie Watson


Severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS is back in the news. A second case has been confirmed in China in the southern province of Guangdong. Learn about this potentially lethal condition.

By Katherine Neer

HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed more than 35 million lives so far.

By Kevin Bonsor & Oisin Curran

Stem cells are a controversial topic because they are grown from human embryos. Learn about the controversy and get the facts here.

Why have some bacteria become resistant to antibiotics? Learn about the role of antibiotics in drug-resistant bacteria strains.


Learn about weight gain and the processes going on in your cells.

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

Your body temperature has an important role to play in fighting off infections from viruses like the flu. Here's how it works.

The human body is composed of about 10 trillion cells. Everything from reproduction to infections to repairing a broken bone happens down at the cellular level. Find out all about cells.

By Marshall Brain