Jason writes:

Hi Rich!

I hope you’re doing well!  I wanted to get in contact as I think we have a really nice story we put together on VACV in combination with using super-resolution microscopy to map the viral membrane proteins.

We found that the fusion machinery sits at the tips of virions (binding proteins largely at the sides) and that this is important for fusion efficiency.

In other words localization drives function, which on a virus I think is pretty neat!  It’s got some really cool imaging, we solve the mystery of why A27 was thought to be the fusion protein, and I think it really begins to fulfill one of your remaining challenges listed at the end of “In a nutshell”.

We just put the paper on bioRxiv (I’ve attached it here). I usually never ask these things and I don’t want to be cheeky, but I thought this would be a really cool story for TWiV.

Of course, no expectations, just thought I would float it your way as I think listeners might really like this kind of “technology drives discovery” stories.

All the best,


Dr. Jason Mercer

MRC-Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology

University College London

Heather writes:

Greetings Esteemed Doctors!

I just had to drop you a line to thank you for mentioning my Instagram comment in your last episode. You probably don’t realize this but @VeggiePi42 (my Instagram name) is in fact the same lucky fangirl who inspired one of the main show topics for TWIV 354, The Cat in the HAART. It’s me, Heather. Hello again! My FIV+ cat Gimli (now age 6) is still doing very well and I really cannot thank you enough for being so generous with your time in that episode. I felt like I’d hit the lotto twice when you mentioned me again in TWIV 505. It really is like meeting your favorite celebrity. I was even more thrilled to hear you’d be exploring the intersection of Art and Science in your upcoming episode. I think love when science is able to inform and enrich art and I can’t wait to hear your discussion.

If I managed to get this email to you in time I have a rather self-serving listener pick, though I do believe it will be of interest to Dr. Despommier. This is a blog I contribute to for my local Co-Op over at https://www.gofarmcoop.org/blog-posts/categories/farm-fresh-features.  I write about a different produce item every couple of weeks. I am just getting started over there and could really use a TWIV bump. Also I am avidly re-listening to past episodes right now trying to get a Bingo so I can win Principles of Virology. Good luck to everyone else doing the same.

Thank you again for all that you do to educate and inspire! Perhaps today I can cross “3 mentions on TWIV” off my bucket list.