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.

The marine microbiology course is in the Max Planck institute in Bremen, Germany. And the marine biology course is in University College Cork in Ireland (my home town), this is the one that’s really getting me as if I did a masters in marine biology could I apply it to my microbiology degree, and how could I do that?

My question is, do you have any idea what the career prospects would be like for either, and in my position, which would you choose?

I love your podcasts, and because of them I have just signed up as a contributing member to the American Society for Microbiology, bought a subscription for Curiosity stream and looking into attending this year’s conferences XD.

Thanks for all the hard work ye put into making these wonderful education tools.

Kind regards,


Johannes writes:

Greetings from the bench in Perth Australia where it is unusually wet for this time of year.

We work on fungal infections of legumes, trying to identify fungal effector proteins. This involves a lot of cloning and screening of candidates.


Erik writes:

Hi all! Thanks again for another great episode in twim #144. Your discussions are always fun to listen to and motivate me to read more on your chosen topics. I recently picked up two books recommended on the podcast, from our library. ‘Coral Reefs in the Microbial Seas’ and ‘Microbes and Evolution, the World that Darwin Never Saw.’ I really enjoy your recommendations. It appears that I am the first person to check these two books out…which is a shame. Anyway thanks for what you do and for making my kids think I’m a Superdad because of your topics I bring up at the dinner table.

Oh and I am confused as to whether or not I should continue to use the ‘cold tap  temp’ water for our laundry?!? I thought I was saving energy but…



Central Mass

16 F sunny but snow on the way

: )

Tim writes:

Good morning TWIM hosts,

I’ve been so far behind on listening to my science podcast playlist lately that I haven’t been able to try to win any of these awesome books you’ve been giving away or reply to TWIP case studies without being woefully late to the party. I blame Roman Mars and his 99% invisible podcast which my brother told me about and I then proceeded to listen to the entire back catalogue of. Have a great day and keep up the great work.

Brandon writes:

Although at this point I’m sure I won’t be the winner I figured I may as well add something. I am an undergrad in my final semester as a biology major in Colorado while also working at a tissue bank. I love your podcasts!

Brandon, Denver Colorado

Wytamma writes:

Hi TWIM Team,

Thanks for all the great podcasts, they get my through the long hours in the turtle facility.



Anthony writes:

Persisters carrying on the genomic line?  Seed bank in SciFi flicks?  Microbial way of preserving the species?

Perhaps the intention, motivation and foresight is a bit much to expect from bacteria.

I’ve just taken a quick look at the Lewis paper


that was mentioned and this


from 2013.  My impression is that persister cells are dormant in response to stress, e.g. toxins.


Michael writes:

Hi all,

My name is Michael from Atlanta, GA. I don’t remember if TWIM does weather, but if it matters, it is 21 C with clear skies- pretty nice for October. My reason for writing is that I just finished reading a book that I think would make for interesting discussion. It is called, “Living at Micro Scale – The unexpected physics of being small,” by David Dusenbery. The book caught my eye because i am a Civil/ Environmental engineer who happens to like reading about biology in my free time. It is a nice combination of the two.

The book explores questions about how microbes’ behavior is determined by the physics at different size scales. Examples are: At what size does using energy to swim make sense compared to the option of drifting under brownian motion to find food?  What body shapes are most effective for movement through water at different sizes (not intuitive)? Can the physics of small scale movement tell us why many organisms differentiate large female and small male gametes?

He goes through each topic with some rough calculations using fluid mechanics, thermo, etc to make predictions, then compares that to known data on different microbe species. I don’t know if TWIM has addressed this sort of thing in the past, but if not I think it would make a fun conversation.

Thanks for all of the work you do making these shows,


Seweryn writes:

To the wonderful TWiM crew,

Last week’s (TWIM #144) topic of phage-induced nuclear-like membranes was absolutely fascinating. Coincidentally as I was listening to the episode, I came across a news story about the detection of nuclear-pore like structures in the compartment of a bacterium, and thought that it would be a great followup article to discuss: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0169432

The idea of the evolutionary line between pro and eukaryotes being blurred by things that we had no idea about because no one has looked/thought outside the dogma box is really exciting – perhaps a good topic for TWiEvo?

Keep up the great work educating and entertaining the masses.



Brisbane, Australia

Head of Research, Queensland Paediatric Infectious Diseases Laboratory

Jared writes:

Hello Wonderful Hosts,

I work at a blood bank in Oklahoma. I appreciate all the hard work that goes into all your podcasts and enjoy listening to them every week. Keep up the amazing quality and banter that make up every episode.

My Thanks,

Alex writes:

Hello TWIMmers!

I hope I’m not too late to be email #12! I got a bit backed up in my podcast feed, and just made it through this TWIM.

I’ve written in on other book offers (though I haven’t yet won), so you may be getting tired of hearing this from me. But just in case, I wanted to thank you folks for the years of TWiM, TWiV, and TWiP (I haven’t made it to TWEvo or Urban Ag. yet, but maybe in 2017…)! I’m a PhD student studying microbial pathogenesis at Wash U. in St. Louis, and so your podcasts have kept my ears and brain company through many happy hours of pipetting and tissue culture work.

We are beginning to leave behind winter here in St. Louis, with a daytime high today of 61F (16C) although it remains cloudy for now.

Thanks again for the podcasts! I look forward to hearing many more.

All the best,


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