James writes:

The quote that Michael was trying to say and Vincent got correct was:  “Many Bothans died to bring us this information.” I believe that was in Return of the Jedi and was a quote from Mon Mothma.  The quote Michael was thinking of was: “These are not the droids you are looking for.” Of course that was Obi Wan when he and Luke and C3PO and R2D2 were entering Mos Eisley Space Port.  LOL! Yeah, I have watched all the Star Wars movies way too many times.

Thanks for the great podcasts!  I am a regular listener to all the TWIX, plus Immune podcasts you do.  Long time past Biology and Chemistry double major and 25 years in the Pharma industry having sold many antibiotics and antivirals really makes me love and appreciate all the info you guys share!

Also love the Ronald Jenkees music you use on all the shows!  Have downloaded several of his tracks!

All the best,

James Morrison

Austin, TX

Mike writes:

Hello All,

This is a response to a letter read (from Jonathan) on TWiM 183 regarding viable but non-culturable cells in chlorinated effluent of municipal wastewater treatment plants. During my undergraduate studies I interned with a very supportive laboratory manager at such a facility. The lab also used IDEXX and we were curious if the chlorination levels were inducing a VBNC state. With resuscitation methods using amino acid supplemented media and extended incubation times, we obtained isolates that were confirmed as E. coli and would have otherwise been uncounted. As Michael mentioned, any oxidative damage would push some cells into the VBNC state. So what we saw was not very surprising. What is interesting to think about though, is that as operators, we try to be as cost effective as possible. We chlorinate just enough to keep bacterial counts low to meet permit requirements, but anything more than that would generally be considered wasteful and expensive. I also wonder if UV disinfecting systems would induce similar VBNC states, and if the cells would resuscitate or regain virulence after entering the receiving waters (and sunlight).

I am a new listener, and first time writer. After the internship I obtained my MS while surveying bacterial insertion sequences. I now manage and operate a small laboratory at a wastewater treatment facility, but am gearing up to submit applications and return for more school.

Thank you so much for your podcasts! They’re wonderful to listen to in the lab and keep me pleasantly distracted on the treadmill. I especially enjoyed the discussion of antarctic soil bacteria surviving on atmospheric gases in episode 169 and reading the paper afterwards.

I write from Seattle, where it is currently blue bird skies and in the 50’s.

Hoping you all the best,


Rajesh writes:

Hi Dr. Vincent,

Love your podcast.

Thank you so much for such amazing, rich and extensive discussions every couple of weeks.

I am an avid listener and have listened to you all a multiple times.

Thanks in advance for the book on Antibiotics as well.

Thanks again.

Kara writes:

Greetings TWIM-ers!

Long-time listener, first time writer here. I stumbled upon your podcast when I was taking general microbiology and wanted something to listen to between studying (I frequently knit when I listen to your podcasts!). I had the pleasure of taking general microbiology not just once, but twice: first as a part of my undergraduate degree in biology and second, more recently, as a prerequisite for nursing school, as schools require classes be taken within 10 years of applying. Not to my surprise, little had changed in the world of general microbiology; gram stains are still gram stains and flagella still wiggle. That is why I am thankful for your podcast as it delivers thorough and entertaining insight into some of the latest research in the field. As it turns out, I am starting a direct-entry nurse practitioner program this fall and the Antibiotics text would be a welcome addition to my growing library.

Thank you for all that you do and keep up the good work!



P.S. It was 84F, clear, and sunny today in Boston. Anything (including locusts) is better than snow!!

Kim writes:

Greetings TWIM crew,

I have been aware of the existence TWIM since 2016 shortly after I graduated from high school and wanted to enlighten myself about the noble field of microbiology. It was not until early this year though, that I started to listen more actively to TWIM and the other TWIX podcasts. While listening to these podcasts I have also become aware of how important science communication is in helping people understand how important science is and how it works. Additionally, after listen more frequently I feel like the passion you put into these topics have passed on to me, so much so that I have considered careers in virology, mycology and molecular biology although I won’t have to choose in a long time. I am currently starting my undergraduate studies in biology on the 3rd of September and would appreciate a free book on antibiotics as it might be useful during my studies and sounds interesting. Thank you for all the time and work you put into these podcasts, I feel podcasts like these are necessary for showing people that science isn’t scary, unnatural or something only scientists can understand or do but wonderful, logical and something anyone can understand or do.

It is a partly cloudy Monday morning here in Jyväskylä, Finland with 15°C, 77% humidity and 3m/s windspeed.

Kim Kreuze

P.S. Don´t worry if you butcher the name of the city, it´s hard to pronounce if you are not Finnish.

Rebekka writes:

Hello TWIM team,

I have been a long time listener, you’ve helped me through some rough times as silly as that sounds. Even before getting into the sciences academically (and while agoraphobic) I was able to learn through the podcast. Struggle through papers, constantly grabbing a dictionary, making notes on the important facts and concepts.

You won’t read this email but I felt like saying: thank you so much for everything. You’re doing a lot of good in this world.



Justin writes:

Wouldn’t using a personal cell phone with PHI violate HIPAA even if it was just to use as a camera for a microfluidics device? I know it made me really uncomfortable when I was with my mom in the hospital (on Long Island but I won’t name names) and the Doctor was showing her pictures of her own x-rays on his phone and her name was visible on the screen and he acknowledged that his phone syncs pictures to his iCloud account. I mean it was only for a broken wrist but still, didn’t seem right. Don’t really want people passing around medical information like it’s a common picture.

Hannah writes:

Dear TWiMicrobiologists,

This paper just came across my news feed, and my goodness, just look at those figures!

Visualization of the type III secretion mediated Salmonella-host cell interface using cryo-electron tomography https://elifesciences.org/articles/39514

Please show it to Dickson too: it’s such a visual paper that I’m sure he’d love it 🙂



Joyce writes:

Dear twim rock stars,

Great podcasts!  I love them and learn so much valuable information.

I am trying to listen to all the past episodes of all of the podcasts and I was just listening to twim79 and the discussion of the coral reefs and the effects of climate change.

And I too find a lot of what is going on with regard to climate change ti be depressing, but since I have joined citizens climate lobby I have so much more hope. I hope you will look at their website and see how fast they are growing and all they have accomplished in a short time and will mention this on your Podcast.

We, as citizens, can solve this problem, we just have to take action and this organization tells you how you can help accomplish the goal of slowing and then reversing climate change.  Even if you don’t have that much time, there is a lot you can do.

See https://citizensclimatelobby.org

There are a lot of great organizations out there working on this issue, but I believe this one has the most practical and focused approach. Their efforts have already built a bipartisan climate caucus in Congress that continues to grow. Their philosophy is that climate change is not and should not be a political issue, both sides need to work together to solve this problem.

Thanks for all you do,

Joyce Waterhouse, PhD