Patrick writes:

Dear TWiV team,

Make a call to the TWiV universe and the TWiV universe responds! With regards to Kevin’s email, and also Vincent’s barb suggesting that we’re not listening, here are our thoughts about why there’s no systemic antiviral response as has been described by Carolyn Coyne’s lab at the maternal-fetal interface.

One possibility is the one that Alan suggested – that a lineage with the placental antiviral response gone systemic went extinct. There’s no need to evoke forward ‘thinking’ by evolution. And Carolyn Coyne’s work has actually already shown that certain viruses, most prominantly CMV, have in fact already figured out a way to both evade and exploit the placental antiviral response, so such a systemic response could be rapidly selected against.

Another possibility is that there’s some unique placental biology at the maternal-fetal interface such that the antiviral mechanism may not be beneficial in other contexts. We think that is unlikely because the Coyne lab showed U2OS cells engineered to express the placental microRNA cluster confer antiviral properties to the supernatant.

We think the most likely scenario is one in which a systemic utilization of this type of autophagic response would be detrimental, even in the absence of an evolved super-virus able to overcome it. This would be consistent with the control of IFN and other antiviral responses – these systems are highly regulated because inappropriate activation is harmful (inflammation, cytokine storm, autoimmunity, etc.). Since there does not seem to be a ‘sensor’ that turns on the (deep breath) microRNA-mediated-exosome-delivered-antiviral-autophagic response, the placental tissue must have co-evolved to be able to handle a hyper-autophagic state. But in other tissues, such constitutive activity could very likely be damaging. We like this line of thinking because it’s consistent with tight regulation of other antiviral genes and offers an explanation to the frequent occurrence of pseudogenization or gene loss events in antiviral gene families (e.g., TRIMs, IFITs, APOBECs). The idea is that if you need it, you keep it, but that otherwise it may be too detrimental to keep on constantly or even keep it in the genome at all. Although we don’t know that the rampant autophagy going on in the placenta would be damaging to other tissues, there are certainly plenty of examples of overuse of anti-pathogen responses being extremely bad for the host (see work from Russell Vance’s lab showing that constitutive activation of the inflammasome can kill a mouse in 30 minutes).

Rainy and ~13 degrees C in Seattle.

Patrick Mitchell and Matt Daugherty

Malik Lab

From Matt: Thanks for giving our recent paper on overprinting in Merkel cell polyomavirus some air time on TWiV 250. Hopefully it’ll get the TWiV bump! Your episode (#214) on the raccoon PyV that is associated with brain tumors came out right as we were writing this up, and since Raccoon PyV is one of the viruses where I found this new overprinting gene, I wanted nothing more than to email you and suggest that the people studying this virus should look for a role of gene in their virus and the associated cancers. That didn’t seem like a good idea given the fact that the paper wasn’t even submitted yet, but hopefully they’ve heard about it by now and are looking into it.

Richard writes:

Hi Vincent and fellow hosts!

Still loving the podcast, etc, etc (insert listener from first episode, blah, blah).

Weather for today (currently 14C, cloudy, wind 6 mph from sw, humidity 86%)

Random non virus related email.

You don’t have to have a v8 to go fast.

Here’s a kit car, I’m sure you have such things? Its a 2.1l engine, with race cam, and some adapted motorcycle cards, home made exhaust manifold, and exhaust. Roughly 160 bhp @ 7500 rpm

The key is weight, it’s less than 400kg, and therefore goes quite well. It also spits flame from the exhaust, and makes (people wander up, and say what’s that? It sounds awesome) Sort of noises.

I know this is a bit random, but you mentioned you liked driving, I’m the same, and made myself a car, for that purpose.

Anyhow keep up to great podcasts.


Robin writes:

Low dose viruses:

Emergency Department personnel recognise that newcomers tend to have a lot of coughs and colds during their first year or so. Thereafter, they tend to be free of such maladies, with only occasional sniffles. But on the rare occasion when they do get one, it’s a whopper, laying them low for several days.

Once upon a time, little children seen in the Emergency Departments had Winter Vomiting Disease, before it was associated with the “Norwalk Agent”. The diagnosis was made by “filling up their tank” (hydrating them up). This was judged by the colour of their urine: if light-coloured (dilute) their “tank was full”. If they would smile after that, they could go home.

My father religiously vaccinated everyone in the family once a year for smallpox when I was growing up. He related the time when he worked at a smallpox ward in a hospital during his medical school days. Prior to that, his vaccinations would always “take”, but after that, they never did, although he continued his own yearly vaccinations.

Hummingbirds vs. pigeons, when driving around town: that’s the difference between performance cars and the rest. It’s not so much what they do on the freeway.

The size of the engine is not by itself a determinant of a car’s performance. One has to consider both the horsepower and the tare weight.

My current car, a 2007 Corvette z06 has 7 lbs/hp; my previous one, a 1993 Supra twin-turbo had 11 lbs/hp.

Types of diabetes

They are entirely different beasts. DM I has lack of insulin, while DM II has lack of receptor function.

Risky behaviours:

Jumping out of helicopters was mentioned. From a different perspective that might be a prudent thing to do, especially from government helicopters.

Viruses vs. seeds

Seeds are metabolically active, although at a low rate, as is the case with cysts and spores. Extremely low metabolic rates are found in long-surviving seeds, as in the case of plants from hot, arid regions. Higher metabolic rates occur in the case of seeds from tropical, wet regions. Many of the latter cannot tolerate even moderate desiccation, including mango seeds.

Seeds require attention to proper storage conditions, which can vary widely. All of them have “shelf lives”: they are not equivalent to pebbles or rocks.

Seeds are not an analogy for viruses.

The Vertical Farm Guru can tell you that.


Arabian/Dromedary (one hump), Bactrian (two humps), llama, guanaco, alpaca, & vicuña.


If 50 out of 50 Omani camels have it, it has been around that block for quite a while. And if it is the same virus in humans, then they have had it for about as long.

VZV (from your emails) is forever. The original chickenpox may be so mild as to pass unnoticed. It lives in the dorsal root ganglion neurones. Reactivation gives an anatomically accurate depiction of dermatomes. Polydermatomal herpes zoster (more than one, non-adjacent dermatomes) suggests immune compromise. Without any other predisposing history (malignancy, chemotherapy, etc.) it is a good reason to check for HIV. Even with them, for that matter.

Assaf writes:

Hello TWIV team,

I just submitted my PhD thesis in microbiology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. I found out about your Podcasts almost couple of years ago, starting with TWIM, and as I was out of new episodes to listen to- moved to TWIV- I still have about a hundred episodes to go before I catch up.

I’ve been waiting for a good reason to write and express my appreciation and gratitude for the wonderful job you all do for so many years now. As I’m no longer in the University listening to seminars and journal clubs (I’m currently running the laboratory of the biggest winery in Israel), your podcasts help me feel that I will always stay a scientist.

The misfortunate reason for this letter is the recent detection of wild Polio in Israel. As you wrote in your blog, Wild Polio was detected in the sewage in southern Israel around February 2013. I should mention that the oral vaccine was given since the ’80s, but a few years ago (8?), our ministry of health shifted to the attenuated vaccine. Now, that the wild Polio was detected, ministry of health wants kids under 8 to get the oral vaccine, despite being vaccinated by the attenuated one. Another point worth mentioning is that several communities in Israel are known to have low vaccination coverage: some of the extreme orthodox, some of the Bedouins, and some “new age” communities.

My questions to you are:

1. The attenuated vaccine is given as a few distinct shots (three of them before the baby is one year old). Why is it given this way?

2. My own baby is 11 month old, and starts kindergarten next week. She got the first three attenuated shots, and should get the fourth one in a month. I do intend to give her the oral vaccine as well, but not sure whether its better to wait for the fourth attenuated vaccine, or to do it sooner, before she goes to kindergarten. Any advice?

3. I understand the contribution of getting the oral vaccination from the population point of view, but what should I tell to my friend, who asks my advice, and doesn’t care about the population, he only cares about his own kids?

Thanks again for educating me, and yes, also for making me laugh out loud in the bus.


Ilker writes:

Dear Vincent and Alan,

Thank you very much for coming all the way here to Harvard and recording another great episode of This Week in Virology!

Both Aysu and I – she is a PhD student in Genetics, and I am a PhD student in Virology – are thrilled to have had the chance to meet you guys in person today. As we mentioned after the recording, our own science podcast for the Turkish-speaking general public, Bilim Kazani (Eng: The Cauldron of Science) is very much inspired from your efforts.

It was a pleasure to tell you about our own show where we try to mix humor and science to the best we can to make the latter more accessible and enjoyable to the general public. Our motto is “Science is a cauldron, we are the ladles”. It is based on a Turkish idiom, generally used to refer to the exploration of, say, a geographical area as in: “I strolled around in New York; New York was a cauldron, I was a ladle”. We liked the idea of applying this to science, ie. explore a wide range of topics from a scientific perspective (some of them unfamiliar to us as well), do our research, and talk about both established and cutting-edge findings in those fields to the general public. As you mentioned, a solid community of Turkish scientists exists outside Turkey, but we feel it is important to build bridges between this community we also belong to and the people of Turkey.

On another note, we were also very pleased to hear that you know many other Turkish scientists in the US, like Oya Cingoz, who took the current events in Turkey to their heart and have been very active in the protests. However, the Gezi Park protests that have come to the international spotlight the past two months are merely isolated events. They were more of a result of a longer term authoritative political agenda of the current government, which Turkish scientists were not immune to either. We document our efforts to support a free academy and an open democracy in Turkey on Science for Gezi to oppose that agenda.

Our efforts to raise awareness to these issues were also joined by John Bohannon from Science Magazine, who in the past two months has extensively covered the state of the Turkish Academy that over the years has been gradually ripped of its independence. If you could possibly give these articles a nod and help us further raise awareness, we would appreciate it immensely.

Again, many thanks for your inspiration and for your efforts to spark an interest in science among non-scientists and scientists alike! Looking forward to crossing our paths again in the future, be it for purposes of communicating and/or doing science!


Ilker Oztop and Aysu Uygur

Johan writes:

Really glad you decided to make a Google Hangout and post the video!

Just makes it so much better to watch with the video compared to just audio

Greetings from Sweden

John writes:

Dear TWIVvers,

I was just listening to TWIV #246, where you were discussing the huge pandoravirus. This made me wonder about where viruses came from, and whether there are examples of intracellular parasites in the process of evolving toward becoming viruses. For example, are there examples of intracellular bacteria that send mRNAs out to the host ribosomes, or send DNA into the nucleus? I know (from TWIM) that bacterial endosymbionts can sometimes lose most of their working genes, and that bacteria can even make a kind of shell when they sporulate (though I don’t know how similar this is to making a capsid). Is this a plausible way for some viruses to have evolved, or are there reasons to think it would just be too hard to get from an independent organism down to genetic material + enzymes in a protein shell? To my amateur mind, it seems like pandoravirus and mimivirus might be somewhere on that kind of path downward from independent organism toward virus, but I’d love to know what you guys think.

Thanks for your wonderful podcasts, which keep teaching this computer scientist more and more about the living (or almost living) world.


David writes:

Based on what I’ve just learned in week 3 of the coursera class, I read this and say….yeah…and?

The article makes this discovery sound like a new finding but it seems like the wheel has been reinvented.

I’m sure my “newbie” eyes are missing something. Is this really new news?

Peter writes:

Dear Professors

I was talking to a friend who is a retired pedigree cat breeder about virology, she was telling me about feline coronavirus, a usually mild infection but which in some cases can mutate to cause the potentially lethal Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) a leading infectious cause of cat death. She directed me to this informative site:

and also to recent work from Cornell, who have announced that they know where the mutation occurs, which should lead to all sorts of new tests and possibly treatments :

I was wondering if it would it be possible to have an episode of TWiV dedicated to

veterinary viral diseases.


Scott writes:


Thanks once again for one of the most interesting as well as entertaining science podcasts out there.

I ran across this item on the NSF web site,

and the article didn’t answer my questions, so I am asking the experts:

1. Would it not be possible to create a vaccine against this mutant virus and at least use it to attenuate the virulence/transmissivity of the normal DENV-1 strain as a result?

2. If such a vaccine were created, how likely is it to exacerbate the problem of hemorrhagic dengue in subsequent infections with different strains?

3. Since this strain is incapable of reproducing in the absence of coinfection, does it offer the potential of a vaccine against DENV-1 or possibly other strains? My thought is that if a similar mutation could be introduced into all three other strains, perhaps it could be used as a vaccine against all four types simultaneously, neatly sidestepping the problem of hemorrhagic dengue in creating a universal dengue vaccine.

Here in Costa Rica, where dengue is endemic, we are in the midst of our worst-ever dengue outbreak – so severe that the State Department has just issued a travel advisory. Due to global warming, dengue is now appearing at altitudes where it has never before been seen – as high as 5,000 feet. Anything that can be done to halt the spread of this terrible disease would be of huge benefits to millions throughout the tropical (and increasingly the temperate) world.

Regards from rainy Costa Rica,


Sal writes:

Dear Dr. Racaniello,

I am behind on my TWIV listening but I just listened to episode 211 where you said, and I quote, “Dinosaurs were the dumbest, but they lived 140 million years”. I am not a paleontologist, although that was my first career aspiration (at age 5), but an interested amateur. However, I know enough to know that both halves of that statement are FALSE.

Dinosaurs have existed since the Triassic, and yes, they still do exist, although the extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous killed most branches on their evolutionary tree. But not all! They fly around and crap on your car. Birds are a small branch of theropod dinosaurs, closely related to troodontids and dromaeosaurids (for example, Velociraptor) and slightly less closely related to oviraptorosaurs, therizinosaurids, ornithomimids, and tyrannosaurids. Note that all of the above families contain demonstrably feathered species.

Now, realizing that birds are living dinosaurs, we can consider whether they were “the dumbest”. Of course, they aren’t. Alex the parrot, and parrots and corvids in general, have shown that many birds are quite intelligent. Even extinct dinosaurs can occasionally be studied in terms of at least brain size and shape, showing that their intellectual gifts, for theropods at least, ranged from crocodilian level to average modern bird level.

Incidentally, there is evidence of parasitic infection of the T. rex known as Sue, who may have had a Trichomonas infection of her face and throat.

Despite the infection, an injured shoulder, broken ribs, gout, and arthritis, Sue lived to the ripe old age of 28, making her the oldest, largest, and most complete T. rex specimen we have. Not bad for an apex predator who had to hunt, scavenge, or starve. That probably required a bit of brain.

Joe writes:

Sounds like Ian needs to borrow Jacques Cousteau’s boat and anchor it offshore in the Med to avoid all the border crossings!

Great work tracking this mystery virus.



EH&S Manager, LSG

Robin writes:

Open access explained. Check out this video on YouTube:

Shallee writes:

Vincent et al;

I am a couple of weeks behind, just finished listening to the textbook podcast. I love the podcast; it is the closest I get to a journal club nowadays…..which brings me to my question —–how do you do it? Academia, that is.

I am scrambling to assemble labs and syllabi for fall, write up a grant proposal, draft an accreditation report, do some benchwork and bioinformatics, and trying to keep up with a passel of bright undergraduate researchers. I am not whining. I love the work, but I feel like I can’t do justice to any of it without adopting out my kids. (I can’t, of course, afford a nanny).

You guys seem to be doing all of this, while gracefully reeling off podcasts and going to lots of conferences, and revising a textbook.

Suggestions? I have pretty much maxed out my caffeine consumption, so don’t go there.



I am on the coast of Maine, where it is, of course, foggy and 17 degrees C (65F). It is supposed to get back up to 80F by the weekend, though.

Amy writes:

Dear TWIV:

I really enjoyed Episode 245 about the writing of Principles of Virology. My question is about the time commitment you all make to write/edit this textbook.

As a junior faculty member, I am mired in the world of dividing my time between teaching, research, and administration. One of my worries is always where salary support will come from and where my time is dedicated.

How much time do you dedicate to working on this book? How often do you meet in person and for how long? How long do each of you spend individually working on the book? Is there a financial incentive for you to write this book? Just trying to figure out where authorship of this textbook fits with your other obligations (running a lab, writing papers, writing grants, institution committees, etc).

In general, I would really appreciate more comments from TWIV and guests about how to efficiently dedicate time to the most critical areas of the academic career. I believe this would be of use to post-docs and junior faculty.


Amy, Ph.D.

Research Manager

University of Pittsburgh Regional Biocontainment Laboratory, Center for Vaccine Research

Assistant Professor, Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, GSPH

Stephen writes:

Flu vaccine backfires in pigs

Nature News, Published online: 28 August 2013; |

doi: 10.1038/nature.2013.13621

Nathan writes:

Dear Scientists of TWIV,

Thank you all so much for giving so generously of your time and making such an outstanding podcast. I wish I had clever way to help you reach more people and compensate you for your contribution to the world. Alas, I do not.

However, I recently listened to the excellent TWIV #161 discussion of the immune system. That podcast stimulated me to read an interesting paper that might merit discussion on TWIV or TWIM. Its written by former Columbia Professor Fred Alt and tells of an fascinating story of how gut bacteria assist in the process of B cell development. This paper seems to connect two exciting areas of science these days, immunology and the gut microbiome.

Keep up the great work.


Chapel Hill, NC

Curt writes:

Hello TWiV team!

I’ve been a long-time listener to your show, and I have to thank you. TWiX makes my two hour commutes educational and entertaining. I also must say that I’m thoroughly enjoying the virology course on Coursera (and iTunesU before it). My question today is this: Are there any examples in nature of viral symbiotes with complex organisms? For example, how the Komodo Dragon uses not a toxin, but a few really nasty bacteria to bring down its prey in a single bite (the need to stalk the prey for days thereafter notwithstanding).

PS: I’m considering a math/bio research major. I was wondering if you guys had any recommendations for second languages that would apply in those fields? I’m already fluent in Spanish, but I’m not aware of any research coming out of Spain or Central/South America.

Thanks for your time, keep up the great work.

-Curt, from sunny California, where the weather is currently fire and brimstone.

Johnye writes:

Good afternoon Twivitians (rhymes with phy-ZEE-cians) Extraordinaires!

Thank you, all, for so wonderfully and generously sharing your wit and wisdom; informed and instructive, weekly collegial conversations. A pure pleasure! Waiting for the next episode, is akin, I imagine, to the weekly serial radio programs of old with the Lone Ranger, Fibber McGee and Molly, etc. You are forcing the practice of delayed gratification in this immediate, fast paced world; thanks for that too.

I have 3 questions, 2 regarding human papilloma virus (HPV) immunizations, and the last related to a currently circulating news story.

The first has to do with HPV vaccines and the optimal age for administration. A while back in passing, another primary care physician at Boston Children’s Hospital, said the earlier the vaccine is given, the better the antibody response. Could you please help me understand why that might be true? Currently, Gardasil, is licensed starting at age 9 and extending through age 26. Of all the current vaccines given, patients complain the most about the pain associated with Gardasil, and which seems to increase with each booster. Any thoughts why? I’ve been offering that perhaps it has to do with the pH, for lack of a better response. Do you have any ideas?

Also, there were some case reports of Guillane Barre Syndrome perhaps connected to simultaneous administration of HPV vaccine and one of the multivalent meningococcal vaccines. The facts are vague to me, but my practice is to administer Gardasil and Menactra specifically, in separate arms.

Lastly, I would like to bring to your attention a news report about the transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease among patients having undergone neurosurgical procedures, possibly via borrowed, contaminated neurosurgical instruments. Now this may be out of the range of virologists, but perhaps your cell and protein biology colleagues can shed some light on prions. To be colloquial, “What’s up with them?” Pieces of protein translated from what DNA, from where or whom? Neither virus, bacteria, fungus or self? Where do prions fit into the personal, eco-genomic-biome universe of organisms?

Now to update your running listeners’ demographic records:

I am a pediatrician in Boston, with a private practice in Cambridge. I also am a tutor and instructor at Harvard Medical School and have suggested TWIV to first year students as well as undergrads.

I graduated from Brown, Class of 1977, and had the honor of working for about 2 years in the molecular biology labs of Seymour Lederberg, PhD; Al Dahlberg, MD, PhD; and tangentially with Susan Gerbi, PhD. Seymour was mapping the genome of lambda phage alpha, as I remember, and I counted, counted and counted plaques. Al Dahlberg was running and staining polyacrylamide gels, looking at ribosomes. I was growing up and didn’t realize how fortunate I was. (As an aside, on my way to my AB in Biology, and ultimately MD, David Baltimore’s mother was my Don for 2 years at Sarah Lawrence College. I remember she mentioned that her son was a scientist, but had no idea what his work was.)

I stumbled across TWIV while trying to update myself on immunology and the inflammatory response. “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” Who knew what had happened since the mid to late 70s!!!!! Toll-like receptors; lipid rafts; MOTOR PROTEINS?!?!. (Those science animators are great!) Again, many thanks for helping me enter the 21st century of molecular and cellular biology, physiology and immunology. I speak more authoritatively about the myriad viral infections children have, and the mild, nuisance side effects some get after immunizations, as the immune system does it work making antibodies. So much to know, so little time.

Stay well; get your flu vaccine; update your Tdap if you have not already done so.

Sincerely and most appreciatively,


My favorite episodes, so far are: 161: Concerto in B and 200: Threading the NEIDL.

Johnye Ballenger, M. D., FAAP

West Cambridge Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, P. C.

Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138

Topher writes:

Hey TWiV team!

My name is Topher! I have a google alerts set for “new virus” (among others) ya know, just my way of monitoring the viral chatter. Lol Anywhooo… There seems to be a circovirus making the rounds in dogs, any thoughts? Just checkin to see if you guys had anymore info, I’ve never heard of a circovirus!

I love your podcasts and am currently in San Antonio and strongly considering a pursuing a virology related job here. Anyway, take care guys! Keep up the great work!

Robin writes:

For Dr. Condit:

Includes humidity.

A shortcut for this and each other host location can be saved to desktop/home screen at TWIV HQ to expedite review of the weather.

Johnye writes:

Mauricio writes:

Dear all,

I greatly enjoy your podcasts, it makes my waiting time between transcriptions, labeling reactions and centrifugations more pleasant. I enjoy your talks and even though I’m kind of new following your show, I have noticed that given the background of the TWIV team the podcasts rarely talk about physical virology. By physical virology I do not mean structural virology but rather a relatively new field in which physicists and chemist try to understand the physical laws that govern viral assembly, genome packaging and releasing, replication, transcription, budding, etcetera. As well as some applications like using non-traditional viral vectors for gene delivery (i.e., packaging a replicon from a Sindbis virus by the plant virus Cowpea chloritic mottle virus capsid protein to deliver genes into a mammalian cell which was achieved by a team in my former research group at UCLA [Profs. William M. Gelbart and Charles M. Knobler ). I myself was trained during my Ph.D. (by them) as a physical chemist in trying to understand how the length of ssRNA affects capsid assembly of a very simple (+)ssRNA virus (Cowpea chlorotic mottle virus). Given my experiences with other virologists, I think that some tend to disregard “hard-core in vitro” experiments. I do recognize that whatever is tested in vitro should be later on tried in vivo, but I am convinced that clean and simple in vitro experiments are extremely useful to understand precise and specific mechanism and parts of the viral cycle.

What is your point of view towards this kind of virology?

Kind regards


Mauricio Comas-García, Ph.D.

HIV Drug Resistance Program

National Cancer Institute

Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer


Christopher writes:

Hello twiv team! First I just have to say thank you all for the TWIV,TWIP,TWIM trifecta. Your dedication to excellence in science and learning has enriched my life since I discovered TWIV way back around episode 50. I am a physical therapist working in rural Idaho and love to listen to the episodes during my serene commute to work.

My wife has pointed out many times how odd it is that I listen to your net casts instead of more relevant ones in my field. I frankly have not found any podcasts that can compare to you all and love to stretch my mind out of its comfort zone. This brings me to the point of this email tonight. My wife said to me as she was checking her Facebook “hey! Let’s see if those podcasts are doing you any good” and directed me to this story about SIV and CMV and research done at OHSU by Dr. Louis Picker. I drew Rich’s’ axiom like a gun and fired back “slow down turbo…….mice lie and monkeys exaggerate”. This led to a great discussion about news versus published data, supposition etc. You know the drill. Just wondering if you had any thoughts not so much on the news article but the science. Please see the link below.

Thanks so much for your sacrifices of time and effort on our behalf. You all really are making a difference!

PS. The temperature here in Grangeville is an unseasonably warm 77 degrees Fahrenheit for 10:30 PM and although dark….. if I strain I can see some high clouds. Thanks again!!/11784/f28dc7d7c7fe0207bb85de506e462e55

Nature article

Meika writes:

Hi to the TWIV team.

I am watching my new favorite weather site right now! Seattle doesn’t get many thunderstorms, but I am really appreciating the pick from last week, WeatherSpark. And as you can guess, right now: it is raining in Seattle.

My pick of the week is a video that came up on our local news about a marine biology research station. A video put out by Scripps Oceanography really shows the scale of the vessel. Next on my list to do is to figure out what sort of research is done on that amazing “boat”.

Here is an excellent description of the ship:

Thanks for the endless hours of productive, educating entertainment!

Meika (pronounced like the mineral, mica)

Varun CN writes:

Greetings TWiV team,

I have been enjoying your podcasts (all the TWiX podcasts) and have probably become smarter than i was (Assumption), at the expense of your valuable time. I have a couple of questions that i can’t get my head through and is probably bothering me and probably you guys are the best out there, for me to query around.

1. I recently came to know that individuals producing antibodies against HIV- Env are more likely to have higher viral titers, compared to people with Gag antibodies with opposite effect. Is there any mechanism that is being known or studied? Insights please

2. HIV ELITE carriers have elevated 2-LTR circles in nucleus that cripples HIV integration. Noting from other literatures i concluded that there is not much difference in HIV replication steps in cytoplasmic events (ELITES vs Non ELITES). So is it reasonable to believe that there is some difference in nuclear machinery (probably an enzyme or micro-RNA etc), that is variant enough to be involved in this difference. Is there any studies enlightening the same?

3. I would like to know what your comments are regarding the recent nature publication regarding SIV-CMV vaccine.

I also have pick of the week- ‘Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell. Thank you, for your efforts to educate the public and keep virology interesting.


Saumyadip writes:

Respected Sir,

Please don’t feel I am sending this email to publicize anything.

I, the undersigned is Managing Director of a group called We The Microbiologist led by a group of young students from Microbiology, Biotechnology and other Life Science background. Our motivation is to empower the knowledge among young researchers to develop better research as well as to impart proper knowledge towards society.

I am writing you to provide your suitable comments and support to this group, although this is very new group where it is run by all young students of 20-23 years but still with wide hope.


Will look forward for your reply.

Thanking You,


Bernadeta writes:

Dear TwiV team,

As always thank you for the great podcast! As the Nobel Prize season is coming close, I was wondering would you mind giving your opinions on who in the field of virology would deserve or maybe should’ve gotten the Nobel Prize?

I would also like to suggest a Nobel Prize-related blog post for the pick of the week  “In surprise advance announcement, 2013 Nobel Prize in physics awarded to Higgs boson“, which I found to be quite a nice read (someone in the comments has suggested to award the piece prize to Mother Nature :))

Best wishes,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One comment on “TWiV 253 letters