Hannah writes:

Dear TWiM hosts,

This new Nature paper about stingless bees demonstrates that they need a steroid from a mutualistic brood cell fungus (Zygosaccharomyces sp.) to pupate. I thought it might make a good snippet for TWiM: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-19583-9



Harry writes:

Dear TWIMers,

I hope my entry for the book is not too late.  I enjoyed Dickson on TWIM, and look forward to more cross pollination of the TWIX hosts for their insights.

I have been listening to the microbe.tv podcasts since I took microbiology as an undergraduate in the SUNY system. The shows are so entertaining that I have continued to tune in as I completed a masters in microbiology and immunology at Colorado State University. I did some work with the schools biosafety department and have been interested in such matters ever since.

I now work as a quality technician in medical devices where I get to combine my micro education with engineering.

Thank you for all your dedication to science communication,


Amir writes:


My name is Amir and I’m a MSc student of food science in the Hebrew University in Israel.

I love your show, I listen while commuting to the lab (trying to develop a quick spectroscopy based method to detect bacteria in drinking water).

I would really like to get this book about disinfection, especially since I had a discussion with my PI about how exactly does chlorine, ethanol and boiling kill bacteria, and whether these treatments break the cells down, break proteins and other macromolecules  to their basic parts and, most importantly – do they make the bacteria lose their optical fingerprints?

I would like to hear your opinions on this question by the way.

Thanks a lot for the podcasts

Oggy writes:

Dear TWiM team,

At last, I decided to drop an email to the cast of my favorite podcast. I started listening to TWiM following a friend’s recommendation sometimes last year and I chewed through the 140-something episodes in just a few months. This podcast should be a mandatory material for graduate students as they could learn not only the science part but also the logic of analysis, succinct description of complex topics and the overall importance of communication in science. I wish you could produce an episode every week, but I understand the reality of a busy PI (at least I can rely on the Immune podcast – also excellent –  and an occasional TWiV while waiting for the next TWiM episode). On a side note, I would like to mention that I was lucky to see Elio’s “Tales from a blog” talk this past December in Boston. Needless to say, it was fascinating even though I was familiar with most of the stories as I read “In the Company of Microbes”. I was hoping he could sign the book for me, but unfortunately I forgot to bring the book. By the way, in my lab, we have an eppendorf rack used by Elio back in a day. I’m keeping it as a lucky charm!

Here are my two potential suggestions for the next TWiM:

https://www.nature.com/articles/nature24661 : this microbiome paper goes beyond your typical sequencing and show a cause-consequence and not only correlation (Elio should be pleased with this!)

https://www.nature.com/articles/nature25178 : a fascinating tale of emergence of Clostridium difficile with some help from a dietary supplement

I hope the whole TWiM team stays together for many years to come,



Ognjen Sekulovic, Ph.D.

CIHR postdoctoral fellow

Molecular Biology and Microbiology department

Tufts University, Boston