TWiM v3 275

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Thursday, 13 July 2017 15:07

TWiM 156 Letters

Written by

Hope writes:

Hello!

My name is Hope, and I'm a rising high school senior from Maine. I absolutely love listening to TWiM and learning what I can from it. I listen to your podcasts every night when I go to bed (although it bores my 12-year-old sister to tears). When I graduate high school, I would like to pursue a degree in Molecular/Cellular Biology, and TWiM has played a large role in encouraging that interest of mine. Thank you for all that you do!

Thursday, 18 May 2017 21:26

TWiM 152 Letters

Written by

James writes:

Guys,

Episode 150 was the best episode I've heard so far (Having listened for a couple of years now I guess).  I absolutely loved hearing about science jobs and the intersection of pure science, medicine and patients.  I will add, that is my fav part of TWIP too.  Just awesome.

I have written before, but this episode really hit me.  As a displaced and more or less retired Pharma rep with a double major in Biology and Chemistry I am actually going to look in to the possibility of a career change to medical laboratory technologist. It might be too late for me at 52 and being in a wheelchair but it is SO VERY interesting to me that I feel like I need to do my do-diligence to see if it might be a fit for me in some way...

Thursday, 04 May 2017 17:33

TWiM 151 Letters

Written by

Tarwin writes:

Hi TWIMsters,

First, as always thanks for all your work.

Sorry if I'm pedantic in the following but I know you all like to be quite specific a lot of the time.

When listening to the episode Viral Arbitrium when talking about prions, I got a little confused with the discussion. This is probably simply that I lack understanding, but I still found it confusing.

The beginning of the confusion was when talking about the "central dogma" and it was saying that this break it. This was corrected but was the start of confusing things...

Thursday, 23 March 2017 18:01

TWiM 148 Letters

Written by

Sol writes:

Oh I hope I win!

I love your podcast...

I listen to all these kind of science podcasts.

Like are we there yet? Planetary radio, star talk, science Friday, etc

 

Dale writes:

Hi TWIM Team

I am a graduate student of medical microbiology in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

At the moment I study antimicrobial resistance in hospital acquired infections...

Thursday, 09 March 2017 19:05

TWiM 147 Letters

Written by

Kala writes:

Dear Micro Crew,

Hello from frozen Ireland, it's 5 degrees Celsius but feels like -2, cloudy and generally miserable haha

I was wondering if you could give me some advice as I am stuck between a microbe and a hard place!

I have a BSc in Microbiology and 2 years experience working in a diagnostics lab, but I want go back to academia.

Microbiology is my passion and my lifetime love and I couldn't imagine being in any other profession. I have been toying with the idea of doing a masters in either marine microbiology or just straight marine biology. I have read up on both but I can't seem to decide which one would be better career wise...

Thursday, 23 February 2017 14:44

TWiM 146 Letters

Written by

Jonathan writes:

Hello TWiM Team,

I'm sure it's a long shot but here's hoping for #12!

I was catching up on a SciFri podcast recently and came across this story and just had to share it with you all.  (Dr. Racaniello, I think Dixon would also appreciate this but I'll leaving sharing it to your discretion.)

SciFri: Scientific Simplicity by Design..

Wednesday, 25 January 2017 19:50

TWiM 144 Letters

Written by

Kayla writes:

Hey there TWIM team

I am a Veterinary Microbiologist in Cork in Ireland!

Long time listener of all the TWIX series and I love everyone of them.

I work in a diagnostic lab in cork and the only thing that gets me through the day is your podcasts and buckets of tea.

Thanks for the wonderful podcasts :)

Kayla ...

Wednesday, 11 January 2017 20:05

TWiM 143 Letters

Written by

Letters read on This Week in Microbiology, episode 143.

Thursday, 29 December 2016 14:21

TWiM 142 Letters

Written by

Carole writes:

Dear Vincent and hosts of TWIM,

I am a long time listener and fan of your weekly TWIM podcasts. I really enjoyed the latest episode in which you discussed a paper by Kelly Wrighton and colleagues, and was especially happy to hear you talk about chemistry! On that note I'm writing to tell you and your listeners about a seminar series entitled the Chemistry of Microbiomes, organized by the Chemical Sciences Round Table of the National Academies of Sciences. In separate workshops the series addressed Earth, Marine and Human Microbiomes, and we were fortunate to have Kelly Wrighton speak at the Earth Microbiome seminars...

Friday, 07 October 2016 02:17

TWiM 136 Letters

Written by

Steve writes:

Hi Microbophiles,

Here's an interesting little historic snippet from The Lancet.
 
Venerable bacteria: In another interesting history of science piece, The Lancet gets bully over Koch's bovine TB samples--but not over the tragedy of him advising that this form of the pathogen was not significant for human health, and thus delayed the introduction of basic meat and milk hygiene and testing.

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)31420-9/fulltext?elsca1=etoc

It seems that the good and the great nearly always put their foot in it somewhere!

All the best,

Steve
luton
England

Where it has been hot and sticky for some days (and nights: most people don't have air conditioning in UK homes.).   Incidentally: how does one get black mould stains out of pillowcases? Yes: that sticky!  :/

Anthony writes:

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37287715

"The plague of 1665-1666 was the last major outbreak of bubonic plague in Britain, killing nearly a quarter of London's population.
It's taken a year to confirm initial findings from a suspected Great Plague burial pit during excavation work on the Crossrail site at Liverpool Street.
About 3,500 burials have been uncovered during excavation of the site.
...
In Germany, molecular palaeopathologist Kirsten Bos drilled out the tooth pulp to painstakingly search for the 17th century bacteria, finally obtaining positive results from five of the 20 individuals tested from the burial pit.
"We could clearly find preserved DNA signatures in the DNA extract we made from the pulp chamber and from that we were able to determine that Yersinia pestis was circulating in that individual at the time of death," she said.
"We don't know why the Great Plague of London was the last major outbreak of plague in the UK and whether there were genetic differences in the past, those strains that were circulating in Europe to those circulating today; these are all things we're trying to address by assembling more genetic information from ancient organisms."

Steve writes:

Hi TWiM team,

Just to say thanks for your interesting discussion of the points I raised regarding uses of gut gas analysis/fingerprinting, and hand hygiene in the context of declining use of copper coinage.

One or two of my points weren't expressed very well:

I hadn't intended to convey the sense of a general increase in the spread of infectious diseases‎, but more in the increase and spread of antibiotic resistant strains. The widespread use of antibiotics and antiseptics in hand and surface cleaners has, most likely, produced the general decline in infection that the team noted, but, previously, there would have been a good deal of copper in circulation on people's hands in addition; and bacteria on the fingers would frequently be brought directly into contact with copper metal, which would kill them before they could be passed on. This may have held back the spread of antibiotic resistance.

It does strike me, that, from what I hear in your podcasts, antibiotic resistance does not have to arise denovo very frequently: it is a part of the general  variation which just needs to be selected by knocking out the‎ remainder. Also, you have noted that horizontal transfer, even between unrelated bacterial species, begins almost immediately, when they are mixed  together. Given this, it seems to me that antibiotic resistance has taken a surprising long time to spread and become a major health concern. It could be, that the metals in our environment were holding it back, until recently, when our metal pipes and handrails were replaced with plastic and plastic coatings, and we reduced our use of coins in favour of plastic cards, paper, and electronic transactions.

The second remark--about mosquito's stance on it's legs--left me puzzled as to why it wasn't understood by the team. Having spent many a night scanning my walls and ceilings for nearly invisible mozzies, that whine in one's ear, as soon as the light is turned off, and then vanish again when it's turned back on, I had become very familiar with the, two back legs in the air‎, stance of the common mosquitoes, here.

https://static01.nyt.com/images/2016/06/01/health/well_mosquito/well_mosquito-facebookJumbo.jpg

I had assumed this was a general thing among those that hold themselves at an angle to the surface, but, following your team's confusion, I checked more Google images, and see that there are, indeed, as many pictures where all six legs are used, as there are of those where the back legs are held aloft or just left loose. I don't know how many species I'm looking at though.

One could imagine that the back legs might be needed for purchase while the proboscis was penetrating the skin, but then can be relaxed as‎ grip is transferred to the proboscis itself; but those on my walls hold their back legs aloft though they are not feeding, so it seems to be a preference, or have a specific purpose.   I had speculated that the raised legs may serve as aids to sensing air currents, and so contribute to the mozzie's uncanny ability to avoid swatting hands! Possibly the stripy legs of some species could be used in signalling too.

Anyhow, I have always found this stance an interesting observation. I further note, that the same places where the mozzies land, are frequented by Pholcus 'daddy long legs' spiders, but they rarely get caught. Both the spider and the mozzie have the same habit of doing high speed push-ups on their spindly legs, from time to time. I hope it's not catching!  :)

Hope this explains my points a bit better.
Many thanks for your, always thought provoking, podcasts.

Steve.
(Weather now uniformly grey, cool, and still.)

Vincent: I asked Kristen Bernard at UW-Madison:

Mosquitoes often don't use the last pair of legs, but will use all six for balance especially once blood fed.

 

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