Allison writes:

Dear TWiM,

I’ve never written into things before, but I wanted to write and thank you for the countless hours of free education and weather updates!

I’m presently in a community college for an associate’s diploma in Medical Laboratory Technician, so I’m am literally a greenhorn.  I began listening to your podcast in summer to get me in the right headspace back into medical science, particularly Microbiology. I’m glad I did! I went back to a lot of earlier shows and devoured them eagerly.  You explain things very well and go over so many different concepts, some of which I had begun to learn myself during my education. From the basics of antibiotic resistance, cellular respiration and basic biology to some fascinating topics like the development of bacteriophages and how they may be possibly tailored to an individual’s needs and the Asgard archaea and the work it took to discover and research these new prokaryotes!  I had even used the case you presented in your second episode about the researcher who had contracted septicemic plague from an attenuated strain of Y. pestis as case study to my peers as well as high school students in our region.  

As I continue to learn this new world, I can’t help but get a little excited when I find myself able to understand the topics that are brought up.   Your explanations are clear, and your metaphors are always fun and really help those new or with a casual interest in microbiology. Textbooks are fine tools but learning through current topics or discoveries really colors the world beyond what a class can. 

I’m hoping to continue to pursue an education into microbiology, particularly into epidemiology, and looking into this world is still daunting.  Is there any advice you can give to bright-eyed new future microbiologists and the best way to approach a future career in it?

Thank you all again and I hope you all have a wonderful 2020


P.S:  Every time I see mushrooms or drink wine, I think of Elio!

Trudy writes:

Dear TWiMers,

Over the holidays I had a lengthy discussion with a friend of mine about whether wooden cutting boards and spoons should go into the dishwasher. I recall a similar discussion on a previous TWiM, with the conclusion being that while the dishwasher does sanitize these items, it also dries them out, creates more cracks, and consequently creates more spaces for microbes to grow. Or maybe I’m not remembering correctly. Could you please advise?

Thank You and Best Regards,


Ryan writes:

Dear Twim there is a story out there that a person from Minnesota gotten Phage Therapy
One of the reasons here was that the patient got antibiotic resistant strain on klebsiella pneumoniae. Its a promising treatment but its still in clinical testing as of this posting.