Author name: Vincent Racaniello

I'm Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Columbia University in New York. I run a research lab where we study poliovirus, rhinovirus, and other RNA viruses. I also love teaching about viruses - check out,, or iTunes University for some of my offerings. I want to be Earth's virology professor.

The Bioterror Boondoggle

Scientists who conduct research on viruses depend heavily on outside sources of funding to staff and supply their laboratories. One of the major sources of funding for independent research is the National Institutes of Health. Funds for research are allocated through a grant mechanism in which investigators submit detailed proposals for the work they wish …

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Are Viruses Living?

Let’s first define life. According to the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary, life is “an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction.” Viruses are not living things. Viruses are complicated assemblies of molecules, including proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates, but on their own they can do nothing until they enter …

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