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

Hand-powered ultralow-cost paper centrifuge

50-cent microscope that folds like origami

Thank you all for such great work on the TWiM podcast. As an epidemiologist, I stumbled upon the TWiX series while looking for ways to stay up to date with research related to infectious diseases.  I also was thrilled to find my alma mater (the University of Michigan) so strongly represented in both the TWiM and TWiV podcasts! Here’s to many more podcasts from the TWiX series and lifelong learning.  Thanks again!


Anthony writes:

The widespread use of cotton clothing — that allowed for aggressive washing, including boiling — has been considered as a major advance in health.

The attached image of text is from here:

The Biology of Human Longevity:: Inflammation, Nutrition, and Aging in the Evolution of Lifespans

by Caleb E. Finch

Napoleon’s invasion of Russia might have failed because of poor hygiene.

Evidence for Louse-Transmitted Diseases in Soldiers of Napoleon’s Grand Army in Vilnius

Tangentially, the 140F (60C) possibly scalding water temperature mentioned by Professor Schmidt is chosen to prevent Legionnaires’ Disease:

Much of everyday life is to ward off the pathology of everyday life.

On a separate note, here’s something of possible interest for This Week in Insects:

Thank you.

Steve writes:

Hi Microphileaceae,

I happened across the above report of unfortunate Armenian folk being poisoned by botulinum toxin in ‘homemade marinade’, and was prompted to read more about the wondrous toxin and its bacterial producers.

I was astonished to see that this tiny, soil-living, organism, has managed to evolve toxins that interfere with a single neurotransmitter pathway of higher animals, in no fewer than seven different ways!

I know we aren’t supposed to ask ‘why’ questions, but what on Earth (or in earth) does a soil-dwelling bacterium need with such a powerful and precisely targeted toxin against the nerves of creatures it would normally never meet?   It is noted that the bacterium only produces the toxin whilst it is sporulating, so it can’t be taken as a simple deterrant weapon against bacteria-eating worms.

I’d be interested to hear what the experts think as to how this particular bacterium, came to evolve such precision guided attack‎ weapons against higher animals. What do the bacteria gain by producing chemicals that attack nerve transmission in seven different ways?

Or is it just accidentally acquired genes evolving with a purpose of their own…


All the best,


Luton, England

Where the weather is, currently, nicely sunny, and very mild by your standards.

Mike writes:

I love microbes. I really do! Even if I don’t win the book though, I love the podcast and look forward to many more in the new year. Thank you for everything you guys do.



Erik writes:

Second entry, sorry. For my first entry I took it literally when you said send an email with the subject line ‘I love microbes.’ This entry I’m including a little thank you. I’m a water treatment operator who is entertained endlessly by your podcasts. Thank you all for what you do!

James writes:

Hey everyone,

Just found you all a year or so ago.  Really enjoy listening despite much of the content being over my head.

I was a biology and chemistry double major at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Tx (graduated in 1987) and studied under Dr Vicente Villa and Dr Robert Soulen… both amazing professors.  I was accepted to a Biology PhD program at Texas A&M but left after a semester to work in the Pharma world on the sales side.

I always loved microbiology and virology and was lucky enough to sell many antibiotics as well as a few antivirals.  I always felt like I was teaching the doctors I called on a little bit more about those topics, it was a great career while it lasted (through 2013)!

Listening to your podcast helps me to feel current and still plugged in to that part of the medical and scientific community!

Thanks for all you guys do.  Btw I just started listening to TWiP as well!  Great job to you all!


Round Rock, Tx

Sean writes:

Hi TWIM Member’s,

Thank you for all your great work. We would use your new manuscript everyday here in our lab.



Sean E. Dunn ASCP(MB)

Arizona Department of Health Services

Public Health Scientist II

“The pure culture is the foundation for all research on infectious disease”. –Robert Koch

Gavin writes:

Hello TWIM folk,

    I’m throwing my hat in the ring for the Manual of Clinical Microbiology. Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of listeners have suggested an insect podcast (an arthropodcast?). While this would be interesting, I’d like to put my two cents in and join the chorus of listeners who want more immunology. Audioimmunity hasn’t done anything since September. Thanks again for all the hard work.



Melissa writes:

I would love to receive a copy of the Manual of Microbiology to share with the lab at UCSD (crossing my fingers to be #19).

I’ve been listening to your podcasts since Dr. Pride introduced me to them when you spoke with him and Dr. Rohwer in TWiV.  (I downloaded all of your old podcasts too and am now currently almost completely up to date in all of your podcast stations.)

Thank you for making these podcasts and keep it up.  I really enjoy them all, especially TWiP.

Thank you,

Melissa Ly

from Dr. Pride’s lab at UCSD

Victor writes:

Howdy y’all,

I am an avid listener and fan of the whole twix nation (not sure if that is spelled correctly). I average a hour commute each day on my commute from Cedar Park Tx to Austin Tx and am often times delighted to have a new podcast to listen to during the arduous journey.

I want to thank everyone for their time and effort they put into the podcast.  Listening to Twip has helped me to discover that I want to pursue a career in medicine, specifically immunology.  

I am wondering:  would it be possible to have a podcast that talked about the clinical aspects of bacteria and viruses?  I have a degree in Biology, with an emphasis in microbiology, and I was always interested in the clinical nature of microbes.  You could even have a case study in the podcast, like twip.  Just an idea.



Emory writes:

Hello Twim Team!

Thanks for all that you do, hope I’m lucky number 12.

I listen to all the Twix (just added Twevo) and am a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Thanks for making this science accessible.

(Holding the impulse to send 11 other emails to up my chances)



Scott writes:

Hello TWiM!

Sending this email with hopes of winning the Color Atlas of Medical Bacteriology. Listener for a few months now. Although current research opportunities has pushed me out of the lab and directed me towards the clinical field, thank you for keeping me connected to the ever-so fascinating world of microbiology.

Sean writes:


Your podcast is awesome and has encouraged me to read more papers in my spare time.  I’ve been sharing your podcast with my colleagues.  Thank you and your team for all your hard work.

Marc writes:

An unqualified listener, but love your show.

You all work in a fascinating domain.

Regards – Marc

Jack writes:

Hey TWiMers,

I’m currently finishing up my undergraduate at UCLA and interviewing for graduate school this cycle. I just wanted to say I really enjoy your podcast, particularly during hours working in a BSC. It has been very helpful during interviews and just in general keeping up with wider microbiology world.

Best Wishes,


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