I'm a Belgian student in veterinary medicine (I hope my English isn't too bad), and I'm very interested in microbiology. I have a few questions about the last episode of TWiM (and quite a lot about episodes of TWiV, but I'm still in the process of listening to all of the episodes first in order to be sure answers aren't already discussed) :
The first questions are about the Yersinia Pestis infection story : during the explanations about the life cycle of Yersinia, you talked about iron as the main limiting reagent in many infectious processes. Is it only because of the fact that it's not easily available in the host, or is iron a more important reagent than other trace elements like Zinc of Manganese? Also, are the requirements for such reagents the same in bacteria as in eukaryotic cells? I suppose not since there are already some variations among domestic animals, but in that case are the differences important?
The other question is about the microbiome. You talked about the NIH microbiome project and studies about bacterial microbiome. Is there a similar project about a viral microbiome going on?
Finally, could you make an episode about bacteriophages and their relations with bacteria, and phagotherapy?
Thanks a lot for all your podcasts and blogs, it's really informative and feeds my passion for microbes more and more. Keep up this great work!
PS : I plan to do a PhD in microbiology after I get my diploma, but I hesitate between bacteriology and virology, both are so fascinating. How did you choose your area of research, and do you have advices to choose between one or the other?