Eric writes:

Dear Vincent et al.,

As a long-time fan of TWiV, it was a real delight to hear our work on “superspreader” phages profiled in a recent episode (TWiV 428: “Lyse globally, protect locally”).  Thank you for choosing to highlight our paper and, as usual, for superbly explaining the underlying science and its implications.  

With best regards,

Eric Keen

Hannah writes:

Dear esteemed TWIVumvirate,

I’m Hannah from the northern suburbs of Boston where, as usual for February, the days are getting longer but the winter weather just won’t let up. It’s 36F (2C) with patchy clouds now, but we’re supposed to get a snow storm tomorrow, yuck!

I don’t know if I’m too late to win the book since I listen to the episodes a week or two after they air, but I thought it would be a good excuse to write in either way. I studied computational biology briefly before switching to a career in the software industry. However, I still love to learn about various biology topics so I’m a big fan of all the TWI-series podcasts. They’re a fun and convenient way to learn about new research while driving, cooking and doing monotonous chores. Unlike most other science podcasts which just give quick overviews of studies, you really get into the details and explain them in a clear, understandable way. I also enjoy Alan’s puns. Here’s one of my own: What do you call an asymptomatic stomach virus? Ignorovirus!

My listener pick is the mobile game, Plague Inc. It’s a fun (if scary) strategy-simulation game where you control a plague in an attempt to create a global pandemic. You can play as a bacteria, virus, fungus, parasite, prion, or even a fictional pathogen that turns people into zombies! My one nitpick is that the ‘prion’ plague type includes DNA. Is it so much to ask for a little realism in a zombie apocalypse game?

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules and research to produce these great podcasts!

Keep on TWIVing,


Stig writes:


First time emailer, and I guess you could say long time listener.

I would like to throw my hat in the ring for a chance to win the book “infections of leisure” by David Schlossberg.

The temperature here in Denmark is, unfortunately continuously, below 0 C this month, in the mornings anyway.

My name Is Stig, and I am MSc student @ the University of Copenhagen, my BCs is in Biology, and I will soon have my MSc is in microbiology (which I will have to hand in at the end of August), although my master thesis project is in bioinformatics or, as you would say computational biology. I was fortunate enough to be able to do my master thesis project at the local hospital, where I have the support of the other, much more experienced bioinformaticians or computational biologists.

# something about thinking about taking a Phd, in computational biology. might not make it into the final email.

infections of leisure would be a nice addition to the office, where I have been given a desk. Right now all that I have, there, is a dozen printed underlined articles and lots of papers from the union that I am part of and of course the linux machine from which I work.

# IDA releases one “news” paper a week

I have been listening to TWIV, TWIM, and the newer podcast TWiEVO for under a year, and unfortunately it’s hard to find time to listen to the back catalog, as we have a child, our lovely son Sixten, who is now almost 20 months now, a part time job and my master thesis to attend to, although I would like to.

I usually listen to the podcasts when I am at work (student job) at the LAF bench

# having been working, the same place, there for almost the entire time om my time at the university, coming up on 5 years this October, it’s easy to let the hand do the work when, I listen to you discuss the interesting topics.

I would also like to thank you all, the hosts, and all others involved in making and supporting, through patriot or cafepress, the TWIX family of podcasts. The hours of entreatment we can enjoy for free, because of all the hard work, you all put in. Lastly I would like to thank the hosts for the important task of commentating science to the public, a task not easily undertaken, but you do an amazing job.

One more thing: even though I am studying to become a microbiologist, I find TWIV to be the most interesting of the podcasts, mainly because you usually also cover other important topics that the papers you present.


Stig Lundsgaard Josephsen

Keep up the interesting conversations!

Temet writes:

I assumed 27 would be reached quite quickly but I guess not! I decided to pull the vehicle over and try my luck.

Thanks for everything,


Richard writes:

Dear Virus mavens,

I would be grateful if you would do a TWiV in a lab. Tell us what the lab looks like. What are the sounds and smells? How big is it? Who is there? Are they sitting or standing? If they use an apparatus, what does it look like? How does it work? When you need a reagent or cell line, how does it come? What does the container look like? Who does the housekeeping? Do they have to know what to not to touch? Are there clerical staff associated with the lab? If so what are their names? Have they ever saved the day? I might understand the science a little better if I understood the lab better.

Lord Clingin writes:

emergent infections will come out to play

if you eat just one rotten apple a day

they can make a placebo just go away

the power of suggestion has nothing to say…

when you get pricked by a needle with a roll in the hay

then start to feel ill – here’s what you say..


it’s only emergent, it hardly sounds urgent

i’ll wait till it’s rampant, or mildly insurgent

then pick off a scab – send it down to the lab

“we’ve found something small and it looks like a crab,

here’s what to do, it’s all up to you

go down to the beach, and swim out of reach

of the lifeguards and coast guards and people who screech: he’s got crabs!


the power of the brine can cure a cut knee,

if that doesn’t work then drink your own pee,

or smear on some yoghurt or drink herbal tea

an old mothers cure or home remedy –

cause we’re all busy doctors so don’t bother me!”


please don’t send a book if i win – i can’t be bothered  reading them – or as Marie Curie once said

“no good can come from reading books – get out there and do something!” – maybe i mistranslate the french a little?


i have made a guess as why you chose Omega Tau to be in your podcast stable – and thought of Markus Volters own description of his podcast – “conversations with people who know things”

i heartily recommend the amp hour podcast – two lively gents, excellent in depth content, wonderful guests with candid interviews from the cutting edge, they is all letting off steam and sharing delight – much like your selves.

– in a recent episode – i liked Dave Jones’s prosaic Australian outlook on people who are anti-science:

“don’t bother pandering to their anxieties – just relentlessly shame them for being stupid” – hehe :o)

keep on yappin you lot – many thanks for the hours of listening – i can’t read books no more thru an inability to conc

John writes:

Hi TWiVerati,

Thanks for the continuing podcasts.

I’ve finally started Dr. Racaniello’s Virology course and it is great to finally have a better understanding of some of the jargon in TWiV. Unfortunately, my lack of a biochemistry, biology and chemistry background is beginning to hurt my progress. I might have to dive into the rabbit-hole of learning the prerequisites for the course. Oh well, who needs free time anyway?

Thanks again,




Vasudev writes:

Hi Vincent et al.,

Long time listener, but I rarely get an opportunity to write as I almost always listen to the Twix podcasts during my arduous commute on the beltway! Today I got the opportunity to pen a long due email as I am listening to TWIV on my flight to  CROI… Also some of the previous TWIV guests whom I don’t want to name due to privacy concerns 🙃 are on this same flight which makes listening to TWIV even more exciting..

As a neurovirologist and as a program officer with a neuropathogenesis portfolio I was so excited to hear an episode on neurotropic viruses and to listen about BBB, cytokines and TEER- something I worked on quite a bit in my previous life!! I was surprised to hear that you haven’t yet gotten the 27th email and also wanted to write in to applaud you all for the never ending commitment to science communication.

Also, wanted to get in touch with you about your idea about a museum with 3D models for infectious agents  ( I guess this was discussed on the podcast with Nels). This is long term dream of mine as I know first hand from NIH science fairs that lots of kids are absolutely fascinated with 3D models. If you are really serious about this project I can volunteer my time to work with Smithsonian and NIH/NSF/ASM to make this a reality.

By the way, I was one of the first listeners to write to you about Zika way back in 2011 or so when it was not a big news story..

Keep up the good work folks…Would love to meet and chat with you folks in person sometime!

Vasu. (Big fan of Dr. Rich conduit- not that I am any less of appreciative of others!!).

Dr. Vasudev Rao (NIMH)

Bryan writes:


Greetings from Allentown PA, with a wintry mix and one single degree Celsius.

Firstly, I would love to receive the Emerging Infections book, because I hear they’re really going to catch on.

Secondly, I think I may be eligible for a TWiV coffee mug, having submitted two haiku for the poetry contest. I believe there is no upper limit to the number of TWiX related mugs that a person should own.

Finally, I would like to express my sympathy to Vincent and pass some advice on to the audience which may help to limit his distress at having to keep the book contests running for such extended lengths:

Jesse Thorn, (of NPR’s Bullseye and the Judge John Hodgman podcast), had some helpful tips for anyone who is working their way through back episodes of their favorite podcast. To wit; he recommends listening to the podcasts in order, but interrupting that flow to listen to the latest episode when it comes out. This allows a fan to keep current regarding upcoming live shows, promotions, or contests, while also getting to appreciate the full catalog of content.

I strongly suspect that the lag in submissions is connected to our desire to savor the collective wisdom of the panel and your guests. If my DNA extraction load had been less heavy recently, I would likely not have spent enough time at the bench to become current once again myself.

Please keep up the excellent work.



Stig writes:

Hello all

The weather here in Denmark is cold, not using a weather app, all I can say is that is very dark and cold when I bike my son to the nursery, on my way to the local hospital.

Just started listening to TWiV episode 428, and I heard that you had not yet received the 27th email for the book.

So I would like to enter the contest, for a chance to win # (agin)

# This is my second entry for a chance to win the book “infections of leisure”, I felt I needed to clarify that.

I would like to submit, what I think is, sadly, a very necessary pick, although not related to science is, John Oliver’s “Last week tonight” called “Trump vs. The truth” # season 4 episode 1.



Keep up the interesting conversations!

Leave a Reply

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