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Vincent Racaniello

Vincent Racaniello

Vincent Racaniello, Ph.D. is Professor of Microbiology at Columbia University Medical Center. As principal investigator of his laboratory, he oversees the research that is carried out by Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows. He also teaches virology to graduate students, as well as medical, dental, and nursing students.

Vincent entered the world of social media in 2004 with virology blog, followed by This Week in Virology. Videocasts of lectures from his undergraduate virology course are on iTunes University and virology blog. You can find him on WikipediaTwitter, Facebook, and Instagram. His goal is to be Earth’s virology professor. In recognition of his contribution to microbiology education, he was awarded the Peter Wildy Prize for Microbiology Education by the Society for General Microbiology. His Wildy Lecture provides an overview of how he uses social media for science communication.

Monday, 26 June 2017 09:06

TWiV 447 Letters

Kathy writes:

Another paper demonstrating that having females as role models can aid in retention is this one from 2017:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=28533360

Female peer mentors early in college increase women’s positive academic experiences and retention in engineering.

I forgot to mention that you can apply for an extension to the 10-year span that defines when you are an NIH “Early stage investigator”. The woman who told me about her experience (she still has no R01 and has New Investigator status but not ESI) did apply for an extension because she had two maternity leaves in the 10 years following when she got her Ph.D.  NIH gave her a 6 month extension on the 10 years. Bleah.

Wink writes:

I am glad you mentioned that most deaths were due to bacterial pneumonia in 1918-9. Maybe we should be asking what was special about Staphylococcus aureus at that time.

Wink Weinberg

Kasey writes:

Hello,

I’m a relatively recent regular listener (mostly because I never used to listen to podcasts in general very regularly) and I was listening to latest episode (TWiV 446) where you discussed the gender parity trends at virology conferences. I thought it might have inspired you to look back at TWiV guests and authors of papers discussed on the podcast to see what the gender parity trends on TWiV have been, but since I didn’t hear you mention them, I’m assuming you don’t have a similar spreadsheet of your own. I think it would be interesting if someone could compile that data (although I’m not volunteering). As far as gender parity of hosts, it’s not so great (which had occurred to me before while listening). I tried to reason that the sample size is small and the way hosts were picked was probably based on previous personal relationships and not simply looking for talented virology professionals. But it would make me more comfortable if Kathy wasn’t the only female host. I’m wondering if Kathy has any thoughts on the subject.

-Kasey

P.S. It’s currently 29˚C here in Georgia with a high for the day of 32˚C.

P.P.S. Vincent, I thought you’d like to know that you inspired me to change the units of my weather app to ˚C so I could become more familiar with the Celsius scale.

Kasey Karen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biology

Biological & Environmental Sciences Department

Georgia College & State University

Milledgeville, GA 31061

Jens writes:

Thanks, guys, for reading our very lengthy explanatory letter about PpNSRV-1 on TWiV 443! It was indeed all in good fun and as you pointed out, the best part about TWiV is that things can be discussed at length, and multiple times, in a civil manner (much in opposition to peer review, which is often ridiculously hostile). I learn new things from you every week and am very happy that every now and then I can contribute something that you don’t know Best,

Jens

Sent to TWiP, but a must read here:

John in Limerick writes:

P.S. I was listening to the team on TWiV discussing a paper a few episodes ago and  Vincent mentioned that two of the authors had ascaris. My first thought that flashed into my head was “that’s an odd thing to say but albendazole or ivermectin should clear it up”. Of course, what Vincent actually said was that the authors had asterisks. They were joint first authors. I’ve been infected by Twip.

Shaun writes:

Hello Dr. Racaniello,

I’m a recent fan of the TWiV podcast, I especially appreciated your last cast #438: “Drs. TWiV go to Washington”.  I’m a BS level biologist who chose industry over further academics, mostly because I was a former US Army medic/nurse (12 years) that fell in love with pathophysiology and went back to school to study biology and got a late start on my undergraduate career.  Since then I’ve been working in the marketing and sales of molecular diagnostics & life science reagents.  Please forgive the backstory, but getting back to my appreciation of cast #438, what really resonated for me is the conversation regarding scientific communication.  Specifically the communication to both  professionals and lay people alike.  Additionally, the topic of how the internet has changed communication both for better and worse.  As a life science marketer I am constantly thinking about these topics and looking for new ways to illustrate the scientific utility of our innovative products and services across multiple generations of scientists who consume scientific communication differently.  It was a good podcast to listen to during my 1.5 hr. commute and thank you for representing Science at the March.

I currently work for Promega Corporation, I’m not sure how familiar you are with our unique organization.  We are one of the last privately held, global life science companies.  We have offices/branches in 16 countries and we are truly unique because we are privately owned and empowered by our founder and still CEO/Chairman to be primarily scientifically focused.  Here is a good article if you are interested in learning more about our founder/CEO/Chairman Bill Linton, “Capitalist with a Soul”.  Our commercial efforts are more tailored to support the scientific discussion, rather than bang customers over the head with our products and services.  I noticed in listening to your podcast that you have sponsors, again this goes back to something that is in line with our commercial ethos, support the scientific discussion.  Do you have a sponsorship information packet you could send me?

As I’m sure you are aware, ASV is being held in Madison, WI in a few months.  Madison is the world headquarters for Promega Corporation and if you happen to be attending and broadcasting TWiV from ASV this year I’m wondering if we could be a sponsor?  Additionally, we have quite a few technologies that are unique to support virologists, everything from simple benchtop automation to purify viral DNA to viral tagging using our proprietary luciferase technologies for a variety real-time imaging of infection/transmission.  Our R&D scientists might be a good panel member on a future episode.

Every week we have an R&D meeting where all of the company comes together to discuss a scientific topic for a few hours.  Sometimes we bring in an outside speaker, sometimes it’s a mixed speaker presentation and open discussion forum.  From my perspective, it would be really cool if you’d be open to discussing the possibility of broadcasting from the Promega Campus.  Let me know if you’d like to further investigate this idea, it could have nothing to do with Promega.  In fact last month we hosted a zika discussion group (David O’Conner et. al.), we love the opportunity to be supporting scientific discourse.

Apologies for being long winded, I’m a fan.  Please send me sponsorship information and consider us for ASV.

Respectfully,

Shaun Peterson

Global Marketing Manager

Molecular Diagnostics | Promega Corporation

Anthony writes:

TWiX Listening post

Here’s my new computer setup for Microbe.tv.  The system is a Raspberry Pi (that little box under the screen) — as suggested a month or so ago by Alan Dove.

1. raspberry setup profvrr wall 300x225

2. raspberry setup microbetv sy 1

The display was a gift, but I had to pay for the computer myself.  Price of the computer?  Around $60.  The screen?  Maybe $700.  And what’s the information worth?  PRICELESS!

The cat’s name is Sy.

Christopher writes:

Hey Twivsters, I have a bit of follow up for the episode with Tim.

I read Tim’s article and I listened to your interview.

I found the article’s tone even and measured and I had very little to disagree with. However, when he spoke on Twiv I noticed more frustration and cynicism.

Rather than quibble about arguments and assertions, I’d like to make a statement:

Scientists, explaining science is important, but it’s not enough. The good thing is you are not alone. Science helps us shape the understanding of our objective reality. But it is up to all of us, to the scientists, to the science communicators, to the teachers, to the tinkerers, to the enthusiasts, to the chronically curious, to help shape the opinions and beliefs of the public and those surrounding us. Plant the seed of curiosity in our children. Show people our perspectives are limited, but that’s okay. Help people understand why we need science through impassioned, lively discussions. Optimism is desperately needed in our political climate. Be the ones to provide it. We don’t have one solution to effect change, we have many, and we need them all. We need to get there first. We need to be persuasive. We need to have optimism. We need to spark curiosity. There is more to know out there. The next step in technological advancement, the next treatment for a debilitating illness, the solution for the crying child in the third world country who isn’t getting enough food. It is out there and the scientific process can and will help us find it. In the words of Carl Sagan, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”

Scientists, explaining science is not enough.

But you’re not alone.

Daniel writes:

Greetings from Norway!

Have you ever been here? Here up in the freezing north we have no viruses, but I still think you would find something to do here. I listen to your podcasts as much as I can. Really do find the bunch of you funny and engaging. I am studying biology at the University of Oslo and I want to work in virology or entomology or something. I also want to win your book! Much love Daniel

If I lost the book competition I retract everything I wrote.

Robert writes:

Hi twiv,

I would like to be able to play twiv through my alexa is there a way currently?

If not check out the link about developing such a skill. It appears fairly straightforward as long as the rss feed audio fits the amazon format. Plus it is free to develop and publish echo skills.

Thanks,

Rob

Chris writes:

Greetings TWiV professors,

We have been having our usual mercurial spring weather in central Ohio: it has been anywhere between freezing and 30°C, but without too much severe weather. I thought to write this e-mail after listening to a recent episode and noticing yet again that the theme music has changed. I’ve got two things I want to discuss, so I’ll go in increasing order.

First, I like the musical content of the new intro music better than the old music and it’s finally stopped being a bit jarring to hear it at the start of the episodes because I am still expecting the old intro. On this most recent episode, I mentally reminded myself that the new intro music was just about to play and I was not startled by the different music. Hopefully after a few more episodes I’ll finally stop having to be conscious that I should expect the new music and the new music will simply become the normal TWiV music.

Second, I am about ⅔ of the way through reading Paul de Kruif’s Microbe Hunters (I’m currently in the middle of the chapter on Theobald Smith) and am finding it quite enjoyable. De Kruif is very good at emphasizing the individual personalities of the scientists he covers and how their collaborations and grudges shaped the route of microbe hunting. The other thing that stuck with me is that most of the scientists he covered in the book were either still alive or had only passed away within the past 40 years before the book was published. Do you all have any book recommendations for a similar but more modern book that would cover more recent scientists?

As much as I have enjoyed reading this book while waiting for the computers to behave at work, I cannot recommend this book without the major asterisk that it contains liberal use of what may most politely/euphemistically be described as “1926 aphorisms” and those may be a strong turn-off to a potential reader. On a more positive note regarding the language de Kruif uses, the older spelling and grammar the book uses occasionally awakens some linguistic interest, like how they hyphenated free-lance, which highlights the mercenary nature of freelance work much better than the unhyphenated version of the word does.

Valerie writes:

Hi guys,

First of all, thanks to all for the great podcast – not just fascinating and informative, but also highly entertaining!

Listening to some of the recent TWiV material got me very interested in marine viruses and the vast range of hosts they infect, as well as their role in nutrient cycling.

So I wondered if you could, perhaps, expand a little on this topic in one of the upcoming episodes. I’d absolutely love to hear more about the current hot topics and challenges in marine virology.

Also, I should add that I am what in the UK is called ‘a mature student’ – I’m 29 and have just started my biosciences degree after years of independent study, and podcasts like TWiV are fantastic for expanding my horizons and providing a little direction for my future academic career. Though I must say I’ve always gravitated towards virology anyways!

All the best,

Valerie

P.S. I’d tell you about the weather in England, but it’s just too depressing.

Ben writes:

Dear Vincent and the Gang of TWiV,

Thought you’d be pleased to know that I found your TWiV 395 episode (“The cancer thief”) so compelling that I invited your guest Steve Russell to Johns Hopkins for a seminar and to meet with faculty and students. He gave an absolutely inspiring talk at our weekly “Molecular Pathology” lecture series, which I have to say was the best attended session I’ve ever seen. Prior to hearing the podcast, I knew very little of oncolytic virotherapy and likely would not have crossed paths with Steve otherwise. So we at Hopkins owe you all a debt of gratitude for doing what you do – spreading contagious virology. Please keep up your excellent work!

3. SteveRussell e1498265693860 300x225

– Ben

Benjamin Larman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Immunopathology

https://labs.pathology.jhu.edu/larman/

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8dwAT4VdQdjN25vTzM0N3lEZDZzNU1mRDRaRlJzb200RU5n

Brandon writes:

Dear TWiV consortium,

            First, please forgive my formatting, for I am not much of a letter writer. Second, my name is Brandon from Denver Colorado, a long-time listener who has only emailed once. Even that was a halfhearted attempt to win one of your contests. As I write, it is 9:30pm and 49 Celsius after a weekend that saw about six inches of snow.

            I write for no particular reason; a large part of it is the admiration I have for you all, part of it is that I have eked out just enough time to put together an email for you all which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. My favorite episodes are TWiV 373 with Dr. Youngner and TWiV 395, The Cancer Thief, I have listened to those episodes many times over, they have stopped me from remaining current. As much as I love the usual gang, your interviews with other distinguished virologists tend to be especially riveting.

            Now a little about myself (the least interesting part, I assure you). I am a high school dropout from a family of high school dropouts that eventually realized school is cool. I went back and finished my high school diploma and I am now finishing my final semester as an undergrad, earning a degree in Biology with a minor in chemistry. I am proud to say I will be going to the University of Florida to pursue a master’s degree in microbiology this upcoming fall. I would like to thank the Good Doctors of TWiV for keeping me motivated. Through your constant humor (or “humor” from Dickson), stimulating discussions and continued desire to learn. Thank you all for the work that you do, and keep up the excellence in science communication.

Tiredly yours, Brandon

5/1/17

P.S. I do find Dickson quite funny and appreciated his attempt at the OVER 9000 meme. I often find myself rolling my eyes with a smile on my face after one of his puns.

P.P.S I’m glad Rich is back. Though I may not recognize his face, would be able to pick out that voice anywhere.

Anthony writes:

Dr, Osterholm discussing his new book on Outbreak News Today

http://outbreaknewstoday.com/dr-mike-osterholm-discusses-infectious-diseases-new-book-deadliest-enemy-war-killer-germs-42502/

I did have to wonder about his description of the pressing concern for bioterrorism enabled through genetic information.

Osterholm’s mention of crop dusters might be something not to discount.  There were reports of Atta’s looking at crop dusters:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB100612269610000000

Alan Dove has outlined on TWiV the reasons why bioterrorism is unlikely to become a weapon in the arsenal of terrorists. In terms of attacking human populations, the analysis is certainly valid. I question whether that’s true for the sabotage of crops or factory farms.

Kedar writes:

Hi Prof Racaniello and team!

I have been listening to TWiV for a long time now and have always wanted to thank you all for the amazing work that you all have been doing – dissecting science for the curious folks like I.

I was a little under-confident to write in, but today, I have somehow gathered courage to tell you all that I am extremely grateful to the TWiV team. I have learnt a lot! Thank you!

Something about myself:

I am a veterinarian from India and currently working at National University of Singapore (NUS) as a research associate.

I initially joined NUS as a PhD student to work on passive immunotherapy against influenza virus (and yes, I love the plaque assay). Everything did not go well there and I had to change my project and take up job as RA and am now pursuing my PhD (part-time) on ‘animal models of urology related bacterial infections’.

I must admit, TWiV has kept me hooked on to virology. All the more reason for me to listen to you all!

So, many thanks to you all again!

I am not sure if you all have spoken on TWiV before. May I ask, what is your opinion on the debate of predatory journals and the Beall’s list being taken down?

Here is a recent Nature news item on the topic: http://www.nature.com/news/predatory-journals-recruit-fake-editor-1.21662#/predator

Warm regards,

Kedar

PS: It is hot and very humid in Singapore as I type and I am sure it will be the same whenever you all read this!

Chaim writes:

We took a bike tour of Milan last week, and when I saw this new condo building (called “bosco verticale”) I thought of Professor Despommier. The tour guide tried to shock us by explaining that the units run around $1.1M for 1000 or square feet, but after a decade in New York and DC, that seems pretty reasonable to me!

4. IMG 20170518 104224

Edward writes:

Hello Glorious Twiverati-

My name is Ed Grow, a postdoc studying fertility and embryogenesis at the University of Utah.

It’s 75F/24C in Salt Lake City and balmy—although we had snow last week, which melted in a day.

I’m writing in regards to fabulous episode 441, in which you discussed the construction of consomic mice bearing different Y chromosomes on a Black 6 background.

At 38:41, Rich mentions that during consomic generation, you get “the whole Y chromosome of the mouse you started with…[there’s] not an opportunity to get a hybrid Y chromosome”.

Which is mostly true, but at this point, please have Kathy sing “pedant, pedant”.

The Y chromosome has a small portion called the pseudoautosomal region (PAR) which is both homologous and orthologous to the PAR of the X chromosome. This region, while only ~5% of the length of the Y chromosome, is responsible for pairing with the X and recombining with the X. Although small, the PAR is extremely important. In fact, this X/Y recombination at the PAR is required to avoid non-disjunction—which can lead to devastating sex chromosome aneuploidies often resulting in subfertility or infertility.

The majority of the Y chromosome is referred to as the male-specific Y (MSY), and this region doesn’t normally recombine with the X. Thus, the MSY should be inherited directly from father to son, while the PAR of the Y can recombine with the X.

Put another way, the product of one normal male meiosis produces 4 haploid cells, each containing one sex chromosome: a non-recombinant X, a non-recombinant Y, a recombinant X, or a recombinant Y. In 50% of the male F1s, you should have a solely non-recombinant Y chromosome—which can likely be followed by marker analysis to ensure that the Y chromosome in its entirety (both the PAR and the MSY) is inherited.

I started listening to TWIV 18 months ago, and have progressed retrograde through TWIV, TWEVO, TWIM, and TWIP. I’m trained in the endogenous retrovirus field, but I have learned so much from you, and cannot imagine life without your podcast empire. There is no way to thank you as much as you deserve (unless I win the lottery), so I’ll leave it at that.

PS

If I may have a listener pick of the week? I feel like I’m cheating on my one true love to suggest another podcast, but I recently ran across the BBC’s “In our time” podcast of science/history. The episode “Lysenkoism” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00bw51j) detailing the scientific fraud of disgraced agriculturalist Trofim Lysenko, which led to the death of millions of Soviets, is a prescient reminder of the consequences when the State corrupts the scientific endeavor for political purposes. SAD!

Hannah writes:

Hello TWiV Friends!

I just wanted to write a quick note on something Kathy alluded to in TWiV 442, about 78 minutes in. She was talking about a graph noting the difference in agreement between liberals and conservatives when science is presented as “intelligence” versus “curiosity”.

Between my work life and my personal life, I interact regularly with people from both political parties. I have found that the most effective way to talk to anyone about science is to remove the politics from it. I know you point out on TWiV that science is inherently a political issue, but if you present it as such, people will make assumptions based on their own views and subsequently tune out anything you have to say that doesn’t match those views. However, if you talk about science with all of the passion you feel for it, people tend to listen because they want to understand your excitement. Then the conversation that could have gone “Climate change is real because this researchers published a paper on it” and ended in a fight becomes “Hey, I read this really interesting article/paper the other day, where X project had Y result. Isn’t it odd that so much changed in a short time?” and ends in a discussion. This now taps into the “scientific curiosity” in the graph Kathy mentioned.

Keep up the excitement about science!

Hannah

P.S. I’m in Boulder, Colorado, where we finally have a couple of days without thunderstorms and it’s currently sunny and 23C. Knowing the springtime weather in Colorado, I’m sure the storms will be back tomorrow afternoon!

Anthony writes:

I’ve not read the complete article, but I hope that feasibility is what’s really meant and not possibility.

FWIW

AO

# # #

In Vivo Excision of HIV-1 Provirus by saCas9 and Multiplex Single-Guide RNAs in Animal Models

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1525001617301107

Alex writes:

Chères TWIVeurs (et TWIVeuse),

I am an avid listener and new PI at the NIH and I wanted to share with you a recent paper of ours published in the EMBO Journal, which was conducted during my postdoctoral fellowship at Institut Pasteur in France (I am co-first author). I think you’ll find it interesting considering the coverage you’ve dedicated to Zika virus. In this paper, we reveal a Zika virus-induced cytopathic effect in human cell lines and primary cells that is non-canonical and visually striking. Using time-lapse video microscopy, we followed the fate of ZIKV-infected cells to show that viral translocation into the ER causes massive vacuolization and an implosive cell death. This phenotype became apparent when we silenced an important player in the cell-intrinsic innate immune response, IFITM3. Deciphering the cellular signaling events that led to this bizarre type of cell death showed a crucial involvement of PI3 kinase activity and indicated that what we were observing is paraptosis, a poorly understood cell pathway that has never been associated with a human virus infection. These results may be crucial to our understanding of how infected cells, such as neurons, die in infected individuals. Furthermore, the role of the innate immune response in blocking these destructive events may explain why the majority of ZIKV infections are resolved by the host without major complications.

I’ve attached the PDFs for you and here is the URL link, where you can also find our movies:

http://emboj.embopress.org/content/early/2017/04/27/embj.201695597

Best regards,

Alex

Alex Compton, Ph.D.

Head, Antiviral Immunity and Resistance Section

HIV Dynamics and Replication Program

National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI)

Dennis writes:

Hi Docs,

In TWIV 438 you had a wonderful discussion about teaching and explaining science.  Dickson brought up the “Mr. Wizard” show as a fine vehicle for teaching.  I’d like to point folks to reddit.com as an increasingly powerful communication tool for science.  Reddit.com is now the sixth most visited site on the internet.  There are many subreddits where science teaching and learning are happening.  Just as one example of a site where science is often learned, there’s a page called, “Explain it like I’m five (years old)”.  It’s amazing how often an interesting question is asked and how often there are “gold winning answers” where someone donated $3 to reddit in the name of the answerer.  There are many other “subreddits” such as AskPhysics, Space, SpaceX, chemistry and microbiology where questions can be asked and answered.  Although there are often subthreads that are mainly punny or which reference something cultural or comic, there is a huge amount of learning going on.  Scientists for example are holding “ask me anything” sessions in r/IAMA or within other subreddits wherein they can answer many good questions at one sitting.

As a surprising learning example, in ten seconds I learned how to “un-impact an elephant”.  When I went to reddit to check the names of some of the subreddits, the first video on the front page (thousands of people upvoted this) was of a park worker literally pulling a “rope” of chewed grass out of an elephant’s back end.  The rope was at least ten feet long.  Within ten seconds one learned that elephants can get impacted, educated people can help them out and that the person doing it was not freaked out by the knowledge of from which end it was coming.  There are much more technical and learned subjects being discussed For example of complex chemical reactions and even links to new tools for writing and displaying them.  

It’s my hope that indeed all generations are getting exposed to more and more bits, bytes and gigabytes of science.

Thanks,

Dennis

May writes:

Hello Vincent and the TWiV masters,

I’m a faithful TWiV listener. Love the show. Listened to all the episodes.

I saw this cool paper in the Science Magazine from the Feng Zhang lab at MIT.

You guys should talk about it on the show.

Here is the paper:

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2017/04/17/science.aam9321

Here is the commentary:

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/04/new-crispr-tool-can-detect-tiny-amounts-viruses

and the video from the Broad:

https://www.broadinstitute.org/videos/sherlock-detecting-disease-crispr

The weather here is cloudy and windy. 22C. More rain to come.

Take care.

May

Rockville, MD

Pete writes:

Hello Drs,

Always risky to email while listening to an episode, but I don’t want to forget this question: If it were feasible to remove, say, 1 – 5% of the ERV base pairs from a sexually reproducing organism:

  1. Would you expect that organism to be able to reproduce with an unmodified partner?
  2. What would be the effect on the organism? (Like, would replication be more efficient? Less error-prone?)
  3. Is anyone attempting the experiment?

The discussion reminded me of Greg Bear’s novel, Darwin’s Radio. I think HERVs could be the basis of many novels, hopefully including some more technically accurate than Bear’s 1999 work.

I listen to every episode of TWIV, TWIP and TWIM. I am not a scientist; I am an engineer, but I love the shows.

Be nice to Dickson, but not too nice – we don’t want him to think you don’t care Aloha,

Pete

Bill writes:

Dear TWIV team,

Having listened to TWIV for a number of years now, I have absorbed a lot of virology in a scattershot manner. I finally decided to go hunt down the Virology 101 sessions on your web page, and have found them fascinating.

They are called out in the web page, but I ended up downloading them as mp3-s, which mean my iPhone music app presented them. It is not clear how to download them as simple sequential podcasts.  The music app works OK for songs, but a virology lecture isn’t a song.  I want to be able to skip around easily, resume where I left off, and I certainly don’t want them shuffled.

I suggest that you duplicate the Virology 101 portions of previous TWIVs into a separate podcast stream.  I don’t imagine that this would take much work, and it would be much easier than collecting various shows.  You might even find a new sponsor who would be interested in this sub-series with a longer shelf-life and stream of novices. It would be easier to update dated lectures, if needed.

In the meantime, be nice to Dickson, the parasitologist formerly known as Dick.  He reminds me of the favored uncle who always has “got your nose” and is pulling quarters out of your ear.

Bill

Science guy on a farm in Flemington, NJ

Justin writes:

Dear TWIV hosts,

I am a postdoc at Texas A&M University in the Center for Phage Technology.

I am a long time listener and avid fan of the show. Recently, people have complained about political topics being discussed on the podcast too often. I wanted to offer my humble opinion on the matter. I like hearing these issues discussed, and I feel like I benefit from your perspectives. I don’t think I am alone in my opinion either. This stuff is important, and needs to be talked about.

I do understand the counter argument though. Sometimes it is nice to stop thinking about politics and all the ugly things in the news, and just think about something pure and beautiful… like capsid structures, nucleic acid replication, viral evolution, and so on.

This is just an idea, but I think it would be really cool if you could do more episodes centered specifically on science policy. That way you could talk about policy issues without feeling encumbered, and the people who find that stuff boring could just skip those episodes entirely. I would love to hear people from the TWiX gang chat with people from the Department of Agriculture, EPA, FDA, State Department, or maybe even a congressman on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

If any of you know of a good science policy podcast, or any other reliable source of information on the subject already in existence, let me know.

The topic of what other podcasts your listeners listen to has come up a few times. I listen to Hard Core History, Our Fake History, History on Fire, Mundo de los Microbios (a podcast about microbes in Spanish), Common Sense, Philosophy Bites, The Eastern Border, Inward Empire, all the TWiX podcasts, and Urban Agriculture.

I am running a few episodes behind at the moment, but if there happens to be a book contest I’d like to be included in the email count.

The weather is quite nice in College Station, at least for the time being. We are at a sunny 30°C, with a light breeze.

Cheers,

Justin

Amanda writes:

Greetings Tw’all,

I am a long-time listener of the TWiX series, and a sometimes writer. I am currently doing a Clinical Microbiology fellowship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada where it is dreary and 9 degrees Celsius. Previously I did a 2 year stint in Goroka, Papua New Guinea as head of Virology at their Institute of Medical Research – which brings me to why I am writing. I did a lot of teaching stuff there, with not a lot of resources. When Dickson et. al. released the 6th Edition of Parasitic diseases for free, I was able to download the PDF and send to my colleagues by USB, so thank you for that! While there, I wanted to share your coursera virology course with my staff as they do not have any specialized virology courses there, but the best internet connection in Goroka is shoddy 2G and quite expensive. If I can get an appropriately sized USB to you, would you be willing to load the lectures onto it for me so I could send to my PNG friends?

I know a lot of people say they fall asleep to TWiV, but I am the opposite, I use TWiV to stay awake on my morning commute!

As always, thanks for all you do for science communication and education.

Amanda

Amanda Lang, PhD

Clinical Microbiology Fellow

Nova Scotia Health Authority

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

and

Director of Virology

Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory,

Ministry of Health, Government of Saskatchewan

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Monday, 26 June 2017 08:52

Un-impacting an elephant - TWiV 447

TWiV un-impacts their email backlog, answering questions about viruses, viruses, and more viruses. You should listen – our fans ask great questions!

From ASM Microbe 2017 at New Orleans, Vincent and Rich meet up with Kate Rubins to talk about becoming an astronaut, space travel, and doing science in space.

At Microbe 2017 in New Orleans, the TWiM team speaks with Arturo Casadevall about his thoughts on the pathogenic potential of a microbe, rigorous science, funding by lottery, and moonshot science.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017 09:25

TWiP 135 Letters

Wink writes:

Vincent and Daniel,

I am willing to bet that you would not pass the Toxo/Sex/Internet study if it came through an oversight committee you were on. If so, why give it the TWIP bump?

Wink Weinberg (Atlanta)

Anthony writes:

The (lucky number 7) worms collected by Dickson Despommier (then in his technician phase (1962?)) from the woman in the hospital were tapeworms, not flatworms.

http://www.microbe.tv/twip/6-tapeworms-the-long-and-short-of-it/

FWIW.

Noah writes:

Chinese text printed on the “sticker test” cellophane

第一日

dìyī rì

first day

Day one

蟯蟲檢查玻璃紙

náochóng jiǎnchá bōlizhǐ

pinworm check cellophane

Check cellophane for pinworms.

Sincerely, Noah

Case guesses:

David writes:

Dear Hosts,

Although the hiking woman from Colorado featured in the case of TWiP 134 uses iodine tablets while drinking water from streams, the symptoms she presents seem to point to a classic case of giardiasis (or beaver fever). She likely caught the parasite on one of her summer hiking expeditions after drinking stream water contaminated with the infective cyst stage of the Giardia parasite.

The Giardia trophozoites colonize the duodenum and jejunum in the small intestine and prevent host nutrient absorption, which causes gastrointestinal symptoms such as sticky, foul-smelling, fatty diarrhea (or steatorrhea), abdominal pain and nausea. Cysts are then passed into environment along with the feces, and the life cycle can continue.

Diagnosis for this parasite can be obtained through stool examination, ELISA testing, and an entero-test using a thread in a gelatin capsule that has one end taped to the inside of the patients mouth. The thread is later extracted and examined for the presence of trophozoites.

Treatment for the normally self-resolving giardiasis include a nitroimidazole medication (such as metronidazole, which is considered a first-line therapy by the CDC); however there has been recent evidence of drug resistance developing in Giardia.

Thank you once again for the informative and educational podcasts.

Sincerely,

David P

Molecular Helminthology Lab at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Octavio writes:

Dear Professors,

About a month ago, I came across the Podcast “This week in Parasitology”, and it has since become my loyal, entertaining, and extremely educational travel companion during my usual 3 hours-long driving around beautiful Portugal, the place where I send you my warmest regards from.

I am a Veterinarian, after a few other professional sidesteps, and I felt compelled to write you today, after hearing Professor DesPommier introduction in the first episode of TWiP, when he answered to Professor´s Racaniello question on why had he become a Parasitologist; His answer had to do with “doors opening”. A great story with somewhat of an emphasis on the importance of being in the right place at the right time, which in my opinion seemed to neglect all the work, dedication and talent the Professor has. A sentence ascribed to Thomas Jefferson goes like “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it” and I believe this is also the case with Professor DesPommier as with illustrious Professor Racaniello and Professor Griffin.

As I said, I had a few other jobs before and in order to become a Veterinarian; I was a tomato paste factory worker, worked in restaurant kitchens, I was (and still am) a certified commercial diver, worked in private security, I held a couple of office clerk jobs, managed a bookstore, among other “survival experiences” that (in some cases thankfully) time ensured to blur out from my memory.

Nowadays and since 2013, I am working for a veterinary pharma company as a lecturer on their products, particularly in ectoparasiticides, the big fat teat on which  40% of all the vet pharmas gladly suck (smile).

As long as there are fleas and ticks in this world, there will be business –  and that’s not only because of the extraordinary biology, adaptation and resilience of these amazing and terrible creatures, but also because of the incredible misinformation, lack of information, or, as I find more frequent, utterly bewildering ignorance of the common citizen on the matters of parasites (parasites of their pets, internal or external, and parasites of their own).

I get a great pleasure and reward from what I do, because even within the constrains of a commercial activity, I feel that, every time I speak with someone (a pet owner, a Pharmacists, a Veterinary colleague, Technician or Nurse, an over the counter retailer, or whomever) I do my best to share with them my knowledge; It is a microscopic knowledge when I compare it with the likes of you three Gentlemen: I just hope it may be a microscopic embryonated egg of knowledge I can lay on my listener’s mind,and that it may hatch onto something useful and with relevance for the “one health”, just as you do with TWiP.

You do a truly great Service, and I learn every single time I listen to you. Please, keep on infecting us with your embryonated eggs of wisdom!

So that this already long message is just not a kilometer-long drooling-over-you exercise, I would like to add my hunch on what may be the cause for TWiP 134 case study – the fatty buoyant feces.

My guess goes to Giardia duodenalis, probably contracted due to consumption of water not completely treated with the iodine tablets this patient referred using, a situation described in the 1997 paper by Gerba, Johnson and Hasan “Efficacy of iodine water purification tablets against Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia cysts” (attached).

The epidemiological cycle is another case that reveals the intricate connections between human and wild fauna. In Urquhart’s Veterinary Parasitology it reads “There is evidence from the USA that Giardia from man which gain access to municipal water reservoirs may successfully infect wild animals, especially beavers. These then act as a source of contamination of domestic water supplies.”

Giardia trophozoites (Greek Throphós – the feeding state) should be the responsible for the duodenal, jejuneal (jejunii?) and ileal epithelial villi flattening with compromise of intercellular tight junctions, leading to malabsortion and steatorrhea.

Cryptosporidium would also be a suspect, but it is unusual that immunocompetent individuals should develop clinical disease.

The definitive diagnosis could be established by fresh stool smear examination, despite difficult, because the protozoans are very small (~15 micrometers), may not be passed in every sample, and this sample must be examined within 30 minutes after collection. Patience and systematic methodology are required. They are, nevertheless, very beautiful to watch.

In cats we have an ELISA fast test for Giardiasis, so I imagine quite more sophisticated kits exist for humans, including DNA amplification techniques.

If the diagnosis is confirmed, the anti-flagellated anti protozoan antibiotic metronidazole could be used to the treatment.

That is all for now.

I bid you farewell, and I am

Yours, “parasitophically”

Octávio Carraça Pereira

Post scriptum: “Pereira” is my surname and it means “Pear-tree” – almost a DePommier’s cousin My middle name, nevertheless, “Carraça” (it could be read karrassa) means “tick”.  Yes, I am a Veterinarian named Tick, who works with ectoparasiticides – I would not go so far as to say what Professor said about chance, fortune, fate or “Fado“, but it sure is quite a gag…

John writes:

Dear doctors Twip,

I think that the woman with the lighter-coloured, foul-smelling, sticky, floating stool from twip 134 has giardiasis.

The description of the stool seems to match steatorrhea (presence of excess fat in feces) which is characteristic of giardiasis. She had cramping and nausea which are also associated with the parasite.

She also consumed water from streams during camping trips (which may have been improperly treated)

Diagnosis can be made by direct microscopic observation of the trophozoites or cysts in a stool sample, by ELISA antibody test or by the delightful (though possibly obsolete?) string test.

The string test involves swallowing a gelatin capsule attached to a string. The string is taped to the subject’s cheek and the capsule is digested and travels down the gut. The string remains in place for several hours and is then withdrawn and the absorbent string is examined for trophozoites or cysts. Lovely.

According to Parasitic Diseases 6ed, treatments for giardiasis include metronidazole and  tinidazole, as well as paromomycin for pregnant women.

Regards,

John in Limerick, Ireland where today the weather is 15° C with torrential rain after a week of clear skies and 23° C

P.S. I was listening to the team on TWiV discussing a paper a few episodes ago and  Vincent mentioned that two of the authors had ascaris. My first thought that flashed into my head was “that’s an odd thing to say but albendazole or ivermectin should clear it up”. Of course, what Vincent actually said was that the authors had asterisks. They were joint first authors. I’ve been infected by Twip.

Marcia writes:

Giardia lamblia

Johnye writes:

Good morning,

As always a pleasure to listen and learn.

As I listened to the Case Study for TWiP 134, it struck me that a more objective description of the patient’s stool might have been helpful. Dr. Griffin do you ever use the Bristol Stool Chart? I’ve found it very helpful in pediatric and adolescent medicine as a way of clarifying what a patient or parent is describing as abnormal. It is also something medical students and residents find interesting and, hopefully useful.

I’ve included 2 examples of the stool chart. There are many others that may be more or less appealing.

Now to think more about the clinical scenario and possibilities.

Best from Boston and Cambridge where it is currently mostly sunny and 18C.

Johnye

(Your Cambridge Pediatrician)

JB writes:

Hey hey, Doctors!

I’d like to make a guess about the case study from episode number 134, the woman from Colorado experiencing weeks of foul-smelling loose stools.

The duration of her symptoms, as well as a few other facts in the case, has me leaning towards a specific diagnosis.

Floating, light-colored stools sounds like classic steatorrhea, and excess fat could also lead to an increase in “stickiness”. Many parasites can cause malabsorption in the intestines that could lead to steatorrhea, and some of them are water-born. What strikes me is that even though multiple people drank from the same water source, she became ill when her fellow hikers did not.

Had the entire party gotten sick, I would have suspected cryptosporidium. From what I’ve read, standard iodine disinfecting procedures aren’t very good at killing some crypto. If there were a lot of crypto cysts in the water, most everyone would likely have been infected.

The fact that only she got sick (and that only she drank out of her water bottle) leads me to believe that she did not practice sterilization as thoroughly as she may wish she had done.

So a freshwater-borne parasite that is easily killed by thorough iodine sterilization, and causes weeks of foul-smelling steatorrhea? I’m going with a diagnosis of beaver fever, aka giardiasis.

Thanks for all the great work, and here’s to many more wonderful episodes!

JB, Philadelphia

Iosif writes:

Dear Twip Team,

My guess for this week’s case is that our patient has a giardia infection. Cryptosporidium and giardia can both be obtained from dirty stream water and are more resistant to iodine treatment than most organisms. The giveaway is the fact that this diarrhea has been going on for a while and that the stool has turned fatty. The diagnosis can be made with a stool O&P or an ELISA. Treatment is with metronidazole.

Sincerely,

Iosif Davidov

Hofstra SoM Class of 2018

P.S. I found this picture of giardia that I think would have been more appropriate a few months ago, but it was too good to pass up.

TWIP135

Mark writes:

Hello to This Week in Parasitology Hosts Vincent and Daniel,

Be nice to Dickson who is away traveling the world.

Below is my diagnosis for the case study presented by Dr. Griffin in episode 133. Late in the show, you, Vincent, requested listeners to send in an audio file with their diagnosis.

I am having fun by generating an audio file for this letter on my Mac using Siri’s voice. Let us see how Siri pronounces the names of worms that are suspected in this case. Those names are taneia solium, taneia saginata, or As-car-is lum-bri-coi-des.

Eggs of these parasites are spread through contaminated water, food, or soil. Daniel’s case notes indicated the young patient lived in a rural area, in a house with dirt floor, and drank untreated water from a stream. This establishes risk factors and possibility of infection.

Given that she is physically smaller than a younger sister indicates a nutrition problem. Her protuberant belly, hard to the touch, is consistent with a large mass of parasites in her intestines.

There are three candidate worms. We need to start to eliminate some. The girl’s diet is described as plantains, rice, beans. This eliminates taneia saginata which passes from cow to human during its life cycle. Taneia solium is eliminated as it passes from pig to human during its life cycle. This leaves ascaris lumbridoides

The final piece of evidence is that the girl’s mother observed a long, moving worm in the girl’s feces. To me, this piece of evidence validates the diagnosis above. As described in “Parasitic Diseases Sixth Edition” T. saginata is a segmented worm and its proglottid pieces may be observed in feces. T. solium is also a segmented worm and can be eliminated for the same reason. This leaves As-car-is lum-bri-coi-des as the parasite infecting the young girl.

The CDC’s website lists treatment with albendazole, mebendazole, or ivermectin as treatments while noting that the FDC has not approved Albendazole for treating ascaris.

In ancient history, when I started listening to TWiP, Dickson described Ascaris lumbricoides in episode 21. The episode’s image was a disgusting looking jar filled with dead worms. For those interested, I found the URL — it is:

www.microbeworld.org/podcasts/this-week-in-parasitism/archives/854-twip-21-the-giant-intestinal-worm-ascaris-lumbricoides

Keep up the good work, and be nice to Dickson.

Mark

Anthony writes:

Here’s a Believe It or Not feature.  A freshwater mussel produces a fishing lure to attract fish to be infested with the mussel eggs:

http://molluskconservation.org/MUSSELS/Reproduction.html

And

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4647986/blackalls-bat-study-to-look-for-parasites/

Blackalls Park flying fox study to test for waterborne parasites

Wednesday, 21 June 2017 09:18

Embryonated eggs of wisdom - TWiP 135

TWiP solves the case of the Woman from Colorado With Loose Stools, and explains how single-sex infection with female Schistosoma mansoni reduces hepatic fibrosis.

Monday, 19 June 2017 08:40

TWiV 446 Letters

Junio writes:

Re: coccinellae in Japanese

These colorful round small beetles are collectively called Tentou-Mushi in Japanese. “Mushi” is a generic term for insects. “Tentou” is the Sun-God (you can call the Sun “O-Tentou-Sama”).

Wikipedia says they fly towards the Sun hence that name. The most common ones are called Nanahoshi Tentou (Seven-star Sun-God).

There is a less commonly used alternative spelling of the name of the bug, which is Beni-Musume 紅娘. It literally means Red Girl, so in that sense, in Japanese they are also deemed female just like “Lady Bug”implies female, but not many people know that spelling.

Akira Ono writes:

Japanese: Lady beetles

Google translation is helplessly incompetent in this.

It is called “tentou-mushi”. “tentou” means the sun, sun-god, or the path of the sun, and “mushi” means “bug”. So, “sun-bug” or sungod bug would be better translation. These insects are thought to fly towards the sun, hence the name.

Akira

Anthony writes:

I found interesting the need for an inverter.  How many devices are not available for 12V?  In addition to space, machines that require 110 will be difficult to use in a remote location on Earth.

It was good to learn that much of a standard lab can be used immediately in space, perhaps with just perhaps just minor adjustments in technique.  Even so, can better tools be designed?  Are comments on experience and limitations encountered being collected and published for manufacturers to review and incorporate in future designs for space applications?

Thank you on a particularly great TWiV episode.  Even though I basically stay put on a side street in Jersey City, through TWiX I learn about topics in a range of the biological sciences, hear Nobel laureates and now find out about living in space from someone who was there.

Let’s imagine BSL-10 as a facility in deep space where nothing but data ever leaves.  What would the space station then be?  BSL-7?

Wytamma writes:

Hi Y’all,

I’m writing this to you on the plane to Hungary, the weather on arrival should be clear skies and 28°C. Two other PhD students and I from James Cook University Australia are on our way to attend back-to-back conferences in Budapest. The international symposium on viruses of lower vertebrates and the international symposium on ranavirus are running from 4th-10th of July. Can you please give a shoutout to all the veterinary and wildlife virologists in Budapest this week and remember it’s not only men and mice that get viruses!

Cheers from a jet lagged student,

Wytamma

Aadra writes:

Dear TwiV: I’m a long-time listener of TwiV, and now, TwiM.

I just read this article in Science, and I am absolutely heartbroken. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6333/18.full

There are so many infectious diseases rampant in Nigeria: malaria, measles, polio. Is there any way the TwiV listener community could help out? I don’t really have a solidified suggestion or an idea. I am writing to you in a moment of sadness and wondering if there’s any way, as virologists/microbiologists, we could all help out this humanitarian crisis…it’s one of so many right now in the world.

Anthony writes:

A historical review. Just an excerpt is below

FWIW

AO

# # #

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/polio-history-story-then-and-now-pictures-iron-lung-vaccine-diseases-medicine-jonas-salk-rotary-a7580456.html

A passage in Philip Roth’s novel Nemesis describes the horror of catching polio in the US town of Newark in 1944, when outbreaks of the disease were common and each summer was spent in fear of infection.

“Finally the cataclysm began – the monstrous headache, the enfeebling exhaustion, the severe nausea, the raging fever, the unbearable muscle ache, followed in another forty-eight hours by the paralysis,” it says.

Polio, or poliomyelitis, has existed for millennia. There is ancient Egyptian art which depicts a victim of the disease with a frail, deformed limb, using a staff for support.

Now the disease is only endemic in three countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, and there were just 37 cases last year. Optimistic health workers and organisations such as Rotary International say 2017 could be the year in which the world sees the last case of polio.

Serious challenges, including violent attacks on vaccinators by Islamists and poor routine immunisation coverage, remain.

But one day taking children to the doctor for polio vaccination drops may be a distant memory, and the long list of famous Polio survivors including Francis Ford Coppola, David Starkey and Mary Berry will fade into history.

Anthony writes:

“Linus Pauling is the only person to have been awarded two unshared Nobel Prizes – the 1954 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize.”

https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/facts/

Gary writes:

Hello twivers,

I was listening to an old episode today and heard a letter talking about Amizon and how you could not find information about it. I am talking about episode 59 and an outbreak of swine flu in the Ukraine. I decided to see if I could find any information about the medication and I found it. I am curious what you guys think about this drug. Here is the link:

http://en.medicine-worlds.com/amizon.htm I hope you will let us all know what you think.

Gary

MaryClare writes:

Hello Vincent and colleagues-

I’m writing to thank you for making such worthy podcasts. I subscribe to all the TWix shows, and I’ve come to expect at least one personal lightbulb moment every week while listening. The papers are always interesting, and the conversations between the hosts are good fun. I’ve learned an enormous amount from your podcasts, and it’s time I thanked you for the exceptional work.

Cheers to the whole team!

MaryClare Rollins

Montana State University

Stephanie writes:

Hello

I am not a scientist, but I have the flu and stumbled on your March 31st podcast. I was wondering why I am so sore?  I literally have physical pain up and down my spine like I have been hit by a car.

Please help me understand how a virus can cause physical pain?

Stephanie

Florida

Harlan writes:

Dear TWiV,

Thank you kindly for your informative and engaging discussions on virology. As an undergraduate in clinical laboratory science, I’m eager for the sorts of discussions you provide across the whole TWiX spectrum. Seasoned scholars discussing the nuances as you do helps inspire me by elucidating the world that I’m steadily exploring with fun yet deep details of microbial machinery.

Keeping with tradition of mentioning local atmospherics, it is 26 degrees C here in Honolulu. Also in keeping with tradition, I believe that Vincent should also be nicer to Dickson, whose commentary in particular I treasure.

The political commentary is slightly longer than I prefer, if only because the intersection of science and politics at this time is somewhat despair-provoking. I agree with the principles that you’ve mentioned across various episodes, though.

Having been so inspired by TWiV, I’ve just purchased a copy of Principles of Virology that I’ve had my eye on for several months. Should any of you ever grace our tiny island, I’ll happily take whoever makes it for beers.

Warm regards,

Harlan

Ewa Beach, Hawaii

Laura writes:

Doctors Vincent Racaniello &  Dickson Despommier,

I recently found TWIM, TWIP, TWIV while adding podcasts on aquaculture to my list. I finished my laboratory sciences degree back in 2010 and I’m quite sad I hadn’t come across you sooner!  I find myself addicted to your shows- to now include Urban Agriculture. Despite my addiction and subsequent strife of not having enough time in the day to podcast n’binge I would like to extend my gratitude. I delight in the histories and stories previously unknown to me, as well as your humorous and informative banter.

I read these articles this last week and thought of you two.

Theileria parva- http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/04/16/508235759/as-a-boy-he-learned-about-science-by-rubbing-calves-ears

Yellow Fever-

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/04/14/523312856/is-yellow-fever-knocking-at-our-door

Rat Lungworm-

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/10/health/hawaii-rat-lungworm-disease-parasite/

Measles-

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/04/07/522867040/as-measles-surges-in-europe-officials-brace-for-a-rough-year

Thanks for all that you do,

Laura

Raihan writes:

Dear TWIV Hosts (I hope this is gender neutral enough, if not I will use TWIV Hosts(ess)),

I have several comments to the past few TWIVs:

  1. TWIV 437: WWTP is a common abbreviation for wastewater treatment plant. I am currently working as a post doc in the Water Desalination & Reuse Centre in KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia). One of my projects involves studying the different viruses present in a wastewater treatment plant. We studied the different viral species entering the wastewater treatment plant in human waste, the viruses which are retained in different stations of the wastewater treatment plant, the viruses which are exiting the wastewater treatment plant and the viruses which are inactivated by the wastewater treatment plant. I’m sure by now you must be sick of saying wastewater treatment plant and appreciate the WWTP abbreviation. This is extremely useful in writing manuscripts on WWTP efficiency with really low word count limits.
  2. TWIV 435: You brought up the plaque video which was discussed in TWiV 68 ‘Ode to a Plaque’. I remember hearing this TWiV as a miserable PhD student and showing it to my supervisor. He then used it in a lab practical to teach about plaque formation. Fast forward several years, I was invited to lecture on ‘Introduction to Virology’ in a Public Health Course in my current institute. I used the same video for my lecture and I still get mesmerized by it. In fact, after showing the video I played it again just to observe the awesomeness of the plaque formation
  3. I can’t remember which TWiV where this was discussed, but the topic of digital PCR was brought up. One of the hosts mentioned that the machine is expensive and has to be in a core facility to be shared by different groups because of the cost. I’d like to say that we have a dPCR machine in our lab (not sharing with anyone else). This dPCR machine runs on a different principle than the one discussed on TWiV which is droplet based. Our machine  runs by partitioning the DNA template on a chip http://www.jnmedsys.com/digital-pcr-principle/ . This machine costs approximately 5X less than the droplet-based  digital PCR machine, still rather expensive, but funding is not a big limitation to research in Saudi Arabia. Maybe the United States should follow the same model for research funding as Saudi Arabia, tell that to the far right.
  4. Lastly I’d like to express my appreciation to Prof Rich Condit. Nowadays, it seems like if one want to be successful in research, one should sacrifice family time. But on several occasions, Prof Condit had mentioned how he made sure that he allocates time for work and family even as a young researcher. I specifically remember Prof Condit explaining that he was in charge of baths before bedtime when his children were younger. This meant that he had to return home early and make the time at work really productive. I totally can relate to this as I am in charge of bedtime readings and school lunch preparation and I do not want to push all of this to my poor suffering wife, who also has her own career. I also follow other advice which Prof Condit has given like to put away any frivolous matters at work and focus on research and to come in for a few hours over the weekend to catch up on any work. I feel that young parents should really embrace and enjoy the time with children when they are young, because this time will never come back, and I look to Prof Condit as an inspiration for this. I also hope that in retirement, I can spend time traveling and visiting my children and grandchildren, just like Prof Condit. One can spend time with family and still do well in research. The pressures of publishing can get to a young researcher but spending time with the family, I find, is the best way to beat the stress.

Sorry for the long email

Best Regards,

a huge fan ,

Raihan

(sadly im not working on influenza B viruses anymore But they’re still my BaBies)

Monday, 19 June 2017 08:35

Old sins die hard - TWiV 446

The TWiV hosts review an analysis of gender parity trends at virology conferences, and the origin and unusual pathogenesis of the 1918 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus.

Monday, 12 June 2017 08:51

A nido virology meeting - TWiV 445

From Nido2017 in Kansas City, TWiV meets up with three virologists to talk about their careers and their work on nidoviruses.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017 18:00

Rigor, lotteries, and moonshots - TWiM 154

TWiM speaks with Arturo Casadevall about his thoughts on the pathogenic potential of a microbe, rigorous science, funding by lottery, and moonshot science.

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