Daniel writes:

I’m a neuroscientist-to-be at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA. I’m sending this message primarily to thank you and Nels for your wonderful podcast! Aside from seminars in other departments, I don’t really have many opportunities to get to know other areas of science, and listening to TWiEVO has given me the opportunity to do just that. Your chemistry and conversations make this podcast a BLAST to listen to, and I’ve recommended it to my friends and even my mentor.

…I’ll be waiting for the TWiEVO swag.

I’m relatively new to the podcast universe, and TWiEVO is my first step into the TWiX world. You can be sure that it won’t be my last- I’m really looking forward to exploring parasitism and virology as well. In a previous episode, you expressed an interest in beginning a podcast focused on insects. That would be wonderful. Once you’re podcasting exclusively, do you expect the TWiX series to expand and explore any other scientific niches? Perhaps neuroscience??? I certainly hope you have more opportunities to explore brain evolution in TWiEVO.

On another note, the subject of annotation seems to come up pretty frequently with your guests, as some of them have had to annotate the genomes of their own model organisms (I’m thinking back to your raider ant episode). Some of your listeners, myself definitely included, might be interested in learning what goes in to the process of genome or transcriptome annotation. If you’d like to pair that with a paper, the following url has an interesting study published in elife that just popped up on my radar https://elifesciences.org/articles/27860. The authors are focused on annotating genes with ‘alternative’ open reading frames.  Their findings suggest the presence of functional proteins (in humans and other species) that we didn’t even know about, some of which are conserved even in yeast. Give it a look— I think it would make cool material for an episode, though I’m sure you already have quite a few scientists lined up waiting for the TWiEVO bump.

P.S. I’m an Asimov fan, and I was happy to find that your episode #1 pick of the week was the Foundation series prequel. It’s awesome that so many of the lofty goals we work towards in science were dreamed up by science fiction authors. Without these creative dreamers, we might live in a pretty different world.



Ph.D. Candidate, Neuroscience Program

The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine

Hershey, PA