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TWiV 200 Letters

Luis writes:

Hi TWiVers!

I am writing to you this time because I have just read a short report in “El Pais” (the highest-circulation daily newspaper in our country) referring to the fact that five “exotic” mosquitos are establishing a permanent home in Southern Europe. This is not really new, since global warming seems to be driving tropical species to Northern latitudes. What I found interesting and probably attractive for you and the audience of your podcast is a series of maps which are produced by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/Pages/home.aspx). They show a detailed distribution of different species of mosquitoes (and also ticks) by provinces within Europe, and apparently are periodically updated.

It is particularly interesting the one that shows the actual distribution of the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), a vector for dengue, yellow fever, West Nile, Chikungunya virus, and others. In fact, there have been recent outbreaks of West Nile virus infections in Greece, and Chikungunya virus in Italy, for example.

If you check the map you will see that specifically, the tiger mosquito appears to be recently introduced and probably expanding in Italy, Southern France, NE of Spain, the Balkans and the Russian Black sea coast.

The link is:


Thank you very much again for your wonderful show. I am not sure if this e-mail will be read before episode 200, but in any case let me congratulate you all for this achievement, and wish a very long live to TWiV!



P.S.: Oh! I almost forgot. It is very hot in Madrid, few clouds, and temperature about 100ºF (37ºC approx.).


Luis Menendez-Arias

Centro de Biologia Molecular Severo Ochoa (CSIC-UAM)

Madrid, Spain

Nacho writes:

Hey TWiV team,

I'm a first-year bioinformatics student doing my PhD in a virology lab. I visited the NEIDL (the BSL4 the Boston University built) a few weeks ago, and really enjoyed it. During the visit, the director of the center explained that the building has remained unused for more than two years after it was built because local community groups sued Boston University for building what they claimed was a "bioweapons lab". This is just another example of the importance of educating the public about the true purpose of science –pursuing knowledge.

Anyway, save me a seat for the anniversary episode at the NEIDL in September. I discovered your podcast a few months ago and you've been a constant motivation for me to explore the virology world. I especially enjoyed the Lassa episode (back in #9) and the incredible story of my compatriot, Jordi Casals, since I'm currently working with Lassa and other hemorrhagic fever viruses.



Robin writes:

The invincible Vincent & crew,

Here is the weather in °C:


(at the very top of the page (above the ad banner) on the right side is the switch : °F°C.

In the location box below the ad banner you can type in the city & state or the zip code to get your location. I have it set for my location.

Kenneth Stedman writes:

As a TWiV "bump" I am starting a collaboration with Adam Abate at UCSF based on our TWiV chat.

David writes:

Hi Vincent

Just a quick email to say that I recently found TWiV and enjoy it greatly. I will try to branch out into TWiM and TWiP when I can, as well as making my way through the back issues - I've no idea how you've got the time to do all of them!

I've only recently gotten into the sciences and will be starting a physical therapy degree in September. During a preparatory health science course in basic biology and chemistry which I took over the past year, I've found myself much more fascinated by the small-scale physiology and microbiology side of things than the large-scale anatomy, leading me to find TWiV. I am contemplating pursuing some sort of research route after I graduate (e.g. into muscle or bone physiology), although it's still very early days of course. I was wondering if you or any of the team had ever come across anyone who started out with a larger scale focus in biology and "zoomed in" toward something only distantly related, perhaps even someone from a physical therapy background? Coming into the sciences after having only really studied the humanities feels a bit like being presented with an enormous buffet after having gotten by on oatmeal all my life!

Many thanks to you and the team for putting out a great show every week.

Best wishes

David in the UK

Ayesha writes:

Dear TWIVnauts,

I am responding to your navigation of the Reforming Science in I&I papers on the show. I was a bit disappointed at how you covered them. At times the hour sounded like a list, rather than a discussion. It's a lot better that than not having talked about it at all, so for that thanks.

Are there training fellowships for women academics who might be coming back after family leave in North America? Wellcome has these in the UK. Maybe this is a way to address one of the leaky pipelines?

Remember that you have a great deal of influence with what you have created with your podcasts. Look at what happened on the flu papers: TWIV had an effect some would argue a huge impact! Look at what you have already achieved with respect to changing some ordinary peoples' view of scientists! People are listening, people are looking to you guys to help come up with other ways to reform, not to tell us what we already know (that changes will be hard to achieve and unlikely). I don't think it's helpful to say that many suggestions from the reforming science papers won't work: maybe instead like Rich said, let's come up with new innovative ideas for solutions rather than saying change is unlikely.



Alicia writes:


I've been faithfully listening to the TWi-fecta for quite some time now and I enjoy them all thoroughly (though I don't know that I'll ever be able to catch up on all the old episodes of TWiV). I hope you won't mind another self-serving, advice-seeking question.

I always listen with great interest to your answers to students as I am just finishing my undergraduate degree in microbiology. However, I've noticed that all of the questions directed to you are in regards to continuing on in academia.

It's taken me a few semesters of laboratory placements, a well timed discussion by your pannel of experts, and a few months of reflection but I've decided that I might not have the drive to continue on in academia. I would be just as happy to be a technician of some sort as a post doctorate fellow, which is not at all how my peers feel.

I intend to work in one of my professors' labs in the spring to determine if I am cut out to be a grad student or not but in the meantime I have much to think about.

I've found that in Canada, and abroad, all that is really promoted in universities seems to be research and development as nothing else is ever discussed. I'm beginning to feel like there IS nothing else. While I consider all of those involved in the TrWi-fecta to be at the top rung of the academic ladder I also believe that you've had much experience with the wide variety of microbiology based occupations. In your opinion, what can I expect to find outside of academia?

Thank you again for all of your effort on these podcasts. They fill my days :)


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