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TWiP 10 letters

Beki writes:
I am a second year graduate student, and the lab that I joined works on Leishmania and Trypanosomes. I originally discovered TWiP via TWiV (where my true interests are - but that is a long story; Matt Frieman came and gave a seminar and gave a small plug for TWiV).  I am really excited to have the opportunity to listen to highly informed people talk about parasitism.  I request more frequent episodes - I will start preparing for my qualification exams soon and I am sure that this podcast will be invaluable - especially if you get to Leishmania soon (hint,hint).

I would also like to say that listening to a podcast is like having a viral/parasitic infection - usually there are only a few people that show clinical symptoms (i.e. send an email or post a comment), but there are usually many more who have asymptomatic infections (i.e. just listen).  So in the end, there are many people who would like more episodes, but only a small percentage will actually contact you to request more.  I am very grateful for the time you both take to prepare and do this podcast - keep them coming!

Bernhard writes:
Dear TWiVers and TWiPers, Last time I just suggested a Pick of the Week, but now I'm ready to pose a question: In a science news compilation, I recently learned about the work by Shigeto Yoshida et al. of Jichi Medical University (supposedly reported recently in 'Insect Mulecular Biology') on genetically engineering mosquitos to secrete an antigen from Leishmaniosis in their saliva. The idea being that being bitten by such a mosquito would trigger antibodies against the protozoans. The regulatory issues with such an approach are, however, quite severe since you cannot control who 'gets the shot'. However, I've since heard a podcast on Australian wildlife being threatened by picking up diseases from farm animals and species introduced by the Europeans like rabies. Would it be possible to use the above approach to immunize wildlife, say, using a mosquito that's specific to the wild animal and doesn't bite humans? Would the supposed specificity help with the regulatory issues and provide a 'proof-of-concept' for the approach?

Just an idea.

Hope you can keep TWiV and TWiP going for a long time!


Ryan writes:
I love the podcast!  I am a grad student in microbiology and this podcast along with TWiV is a great part of my week.  I study bacteria so we need a TWiB too! Thanks again

Ashlee writes:
Dear Dr. Despommier, My name is Ashlee and I am a graduate student at CUMC and an enthusiastic fan of both TWIP and TWIV. Recently, I was listening to the podcast "This Amercan Life" episode 404 entitled "Enemy Camp" which features a segment called "As the Worm Turns". This brief story was about a man who believes that hook-worms have cured him of his allergies and asthma by acting as immune system modulators in an example of what  has been coined the 'hygiene hypothesis' for immune system dysfunction. The man  subsequently went on to sell his hookworms to other individuals  under the guise that they are a 'cure-all' for autoimmune disorders until he was threatened with arrest and fled the country.

Considering that 'This Amercian Life' has such a large audience, I'd imagine that this story has generated a lot of interest in the 'hygiene hypothesis' among the general public and would make a great topic for an upcoming TWIP episode.  Having had an interest in autoimmune disorders and the hygiene hypothesis in particular for years, I think it would be great to hear your take on this as an expert in the field of parasitology.

Sincerely, Ashlee


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