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This Week in Virology (TWiV) is a podcast – or netcast, as some prefer to call them, since you don’t need an iPod to listen – about viruses. It was begun in September 2008 by Vincent Racaniello and Dick Despommier, two science Professors at Columbia University Medical Center. Their goal was to have an informal yet informative conversation about viruses which would be accessible to everyone, no matter what their science background. We wanted to eventually bring other virologists into the conversation, to make it more varied and interesting. Alan Dove, a science writer, joined us late in 2008, and Rich Condit, a poxvirologist, joined in 2009. We’ve had a number of guests on the show and we’re always trying to get more.
Why are we doing this? Dick, Rich, and I have spent our entire academic careers directing research laboratories, so we have a lot of knowledge to share. Plus, we both enjoy teaching. Put those two things together, and you have TWiV. If you want to learn about viruses in a relaxing way, then TWiV is for you.
Vincent and Dick recall the discovery of Lassa virus in Africa in 1969. A non-fictional account of the story, ‘Fever’, written by John G. Fuller and published in 1974, inspired Vincent to become a virologist. Part of the story took place at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital (now Columbia University Medical Center), where both Vincent and Dick are employed. Dick remembers many of the key players in this medical drama.
Click here to view to cover of ‘Fever!’
Buy a used copy of ‘Fever!’ at Amazon.
Science podcast pick of the week: The Naked Scientists (iTunes link).
Download TWiV #9 (19 MB .mp3, 41 minutes)
Vincent and Dick converse about warfare preventing immunization of 120,000 children in Afghanistan, bone marrow transplant curing AIDS patient, Google tracking flu, measles outbreak in Gibraltar, using viruses to make batteries, and small mosquitoes and Dengue.
Article on using viruses to make batteries (PubMed: Virus-enabled synthesis and assembly of nanowires for lithium ion battery electrodes).
Science podcast pick of the week: NY Times Science Times (iTunes link).
Download TWiV #8 (16.9 MB .mp3, 36 minutes)Subscribe to TWiV in iTunes or by the RSS feed.
Guest: Aidan Racaniello
An article on how World of Warcraft became a model for the transmission of virus infections was published in Lancet Infectious Diseases. The title of the article is “The untapped potential of virtual game worlds to shed light on real world epidemics.”
After we did the netcast we learned of a game for the iPhone called ‘Virus’. In this game your body is infected with a virus, and you must clear the infection by controlling white blood cells. The game is at the iTunes App store.
Science podcast pick of the week: MicrobiologyBytes.
TWiV is now part of Sciencepodcasters.
Download TWiV #7 (23.1 MB .mp3)
Dickson was at Pop!Tech last week.
Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon.
US Geological Survey Disease Maps.
CDC page on Hendra and Nipah viruses.
Vincent’s virology course.
Vincent’s texbook is Principles of Virology, third edition, ASM Press (available December 2008).
Science podcast pick of the week: Brain Science Podcast.
Download TWiV #6 (19.8 MB .mp3)
Host: Vincent Racaniello
Special guest: Saul Silverstein
Dickson Despommier is away this week at Pop!Tech.
Download TWiV #5 (22.9 MB .mp3)
CDC page on rabies
Dick’s Ecology 101 course
Negri bodies defined (down on the page)
Download TWiV #4 (16.7 MB .mp3)
Article on the mortgage crisis and West Nile virus in Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Environment-oriented review of Dengue.
Dengue page at the World Health Organization.
Download TWiV #3 (19.6 MB .mp3 file)
polioeradication.org for the latest information on the global state of polio.
Abstract of the Science article on engineering a new polio vaccine: “Virus attenuation by genome-scale changes in codon pair bias”.
TWiV has been accepted into the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe in iTunes by clicking here.
Download: TWiV #2 (22.9 MB .mp3 file)
Buy “West Nile Story” by Dickson Despommier.
ProMed Mail. The global reporting system for outbreaks of emerging infectious disease.
PubMed. A service of the National Library of Medicine, includes over 14 million citations for biomedical articles back to the 1950s.
West Nile page at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Great maps of where the virus has been found.
Download: TWiV #1 (41.8 MB .mp3 file)