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This Week in Virology

twiv

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.

TWiV 22: Viral Bioinformatics

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In episode 22 of This Week in Virology, host Vincent Racaniello and guest host Chris Upton, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at the University of Victoria in Vancouver, Canada, converse about hepatitis B in India, AIDS gene therapy with a ribozyme, antibodies that neutralize many influenza virus strains, killing tumors with vaccinia virus, myxoma virus of rabbits, and the Viral Bioinformatics Resource Center.

Read more: TWiV 22: Viral Bioinformatics

TWIV 21: Viruses of Bacteria

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twivlogoIn episode 21 of This Week in Virology, hosts Vincent Racaniello, Dick Despommier, Alan Dove, and special guest Max Gottesman, discuss an unusual wasp-virus symbiosis, influenza transmission and absolute humidity, how mosquitoes survive Dengue virus infection, and viruses of bacteria.

Links in the episode indlude:

  • Unusual wasp-virus symbiosis
  • Absolute humidity modulates influenza virus transmission, survival, and seasonality
  • How mosquitoes survive Dengue virus infection
  • Little Lambda, Who Made Thee?
  • Structure of HK97 procapsid

Science blog of the week: BioJobBlog by Cliff Mintz
Science podcast pick of the week: Distillations -  a weekly science podcast that brings you extracts from the past, present, and future of chemistry
Science book of the week: The Life of a Virus by Andrea Creager

Please send your virology questions and comments to twiv [at] twiv [dot] tv.

To listen, click the play button next to the title of this entry. You can subscribe for free to TWIV via iTunes, through the RSS feed with a podcast aggregator or feed reader, or by email.

Download  TWiV #21 (38 MB .mp3,  55 minutes)

TWiV 20: Hepatitis C virus

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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Dick Despommier, Alan Dove, and Matt Evanstwivlogo

Vincent, Dick, Alan, and Matt Evans converse about TED, the Wakefield autism controversy, 99 rhinovirus sequences, Marburg in the USA, and hepatitis C virus.

A photographer catches Bill Gates’ mosquitoes
Joe DeRisi at TED
Dengue virus entry movie
Sequencing of 99 rhinovirus serotype genomes
Two views of the Wakefield autism controversy here and here
Marburg virus comes to the USA
Human occludin is a hepatitis C virus entry factor required for infection of mouse cells

Science blog of the week: Not exactly rocket science by Ed Yong
Science podcast pick of the week:
Neuropod
Science book of the week: Phage and the Origins of Molecular Biology Edited by John Cairns, Guther S. Stent, and James D. Watson

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Download TWiV #20 (46 MB .mp3, 66 minutes)

Subscribe to TWiV in iTunes, by the RSS feed, or by email.

TWiV 19: Cap-snatching

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twivlogoHosts: Vincent Racaniello and Alan Dove

Vincent and Alan discuss cap-snatching by the hantavirus N protein and the influenza virus endonuclease, HIV-1 and Ebola virus antagonism of tetherin, and influenza pneumonia.

WHO confirmed cases of H5N1 influenza
Hantavirus N protein replaces eIF4F and sequesters capped primers in P bodies
Ebola virus G protein antagonizes tetherin
1918 influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia
Rabies survivor: Articles from CDC and New England Journal of Medicine
ProMedMail report on Fatal rabies case in the UK
Documentary film, “Naturally Obsessed: The Making of a Scientist”

Science blog of the week: Mystery Rays from Outer Space
Science podcast pick of the week: Emerging Infectious Diseases Podcast
Science book of the week: The Coming Plague by Laurie Garrett

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Download TWiV #19 (28 MB .mp3, 40 minutes)

Subscribe to TWiV in iTunes, by the RSS feed, or by email.

TWiV 18: Can a virus make you fat?

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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Dick Despommier and Alan Dovetwivlogo

Vincent, Dick, and Alan discuss adenovirus type 36 and obesity, new influenza antiviral drugs, viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus of fish, and Ebola virus in pigs and pig farmers in the Phillipines.

Nature paper and virology blog post on induction of adipogenic cascade by adenovirus.
New influenza antiviral drugs: Clinical Infectious Diseases review and post at virology blog.
Snow, insecurity hamper polio immunization in Afghanistan.
VHS virus could threaten Lake Champlain.
Tobacco mosaic virus is molecule of the month at the Protein Data Bank.
NY Times article and post at virology blog on Ebola in pig farmers.
“Bats prove to be rich reservoirs for emerging viruses”, Microbe Magazine.
Article on HIV resistance in African sex workers.

Science blog of the week: Rubor Dolor Calor Tumor
Science podcast pick of the week: Originz
Science book of the week: Biohazard by Ken Alibek

Send your virology questions and comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Download TWiV #18 (35 MB .mp3, 50 minutes)

Subscribe to TWiV in iTunes, by the RSS feed, or by email.

TWiV 17: Seminal discoveries in virology

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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Dick Despommier Guest: Saul Silverstein

Vincent, Dick, and Saul talk about discoveries in virology that have had a major impact on the field.

Sem•i•nal (adjective): strongly influencing later developments.
Note: There are two HPV vaccines on the market: Gardasil (quadrivalent, types 6, 11, 16, 18) and Cervarix (bivalent, types 16 and 18).

Gates Foundation donates to polio eradication effort.
Testing a bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine in India.
We played a clip from net@night episode 83.
I wrote about Jonathan Swift’s ‘Animalcules’ on virology blog.

Science blog of the week: Research Blogging
Science podcast pick of the week: Boston Museum of Science podcast
Science book of the weekThe Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher by Lewis Thomas

Send your virology questions and comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Download TWiV #17 (37 MB .mp3,  57 minutes)

Subscribe to TWiV in iTunes or by the RSS feed.

TWiV 16: Virology in Saanen, HIV origins

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Host: Vincent Racaniello Guest: Jeremy Lubantwivlogo

Vincent and Jeremy, in Saanen, Switzerland, review the 19th Challenge in Virology meeting, and implications of a new HIV-1 sequence from 1960 for the origin of AIDS.

NY Times article on Offit vaccine book.
Nature paper on new 1960 HIV-1 sequence.
Massive polio immunization in Pakistan.
PLoS paper on T cell responses to HERVs in HIV-1 infection.

Science blog of the weekEye on DNA by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Science podcast pick of the weekPersiflager’s Infectious Disease Podcast
Science book of the weekMicrobe Hunters by by Paul de Kruif

TWiV is podcast of the week at net@night.

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Download TWiV #16 (44 MB .mp3,  63 minutes)

Subscribe to TWiV in iTunes or by the RSS feed.

TWiV 15: Deer mice, Spanish flu, measles, antiviral resistance

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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Dick Despommier, and Alan Dovetwivlogo

Vincent, Dick, and Alan converse about hantavirus spread by large deer mice, why the 1918 influenza virus replicates in the lower respiratory tract, measles in Europe, and the growing resistance of  influenza virus to antivirals.

MMWR, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from CDC.
Larger, older deer mice spread hantavirus.
Viral RNA polymerase complex promotes optimal growth of 1918 virus in the lower respiratory tract of ferrets.
Measles in Europe: an epidemiological assessment.
Avian flu (H5N1) gaining resistance to antivirals.
Times article on resistance to Tamiflu and analysis by virology blog.
Angola widens border closure with DRC over Ebola.

Solutions, the iPhone/iPod Touch app to calculate molar solutions.
Vaccine, the iPhone/iPod Touch app to determine vaccination schedules.

Science blog of the week: Molecule of the Day
Science podcast pick of the week: Meet the Scientist by Merry Buckley
Science book of the weekThe Great Influenza by John M. Barry

The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin - published 150 years ago.

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Download TWiV #15 (37 MB .mp3,  53 minutes)

Subscribe to TWiV in iTunes or by the RSS feed.

TWiV 14: Common cold, H5N1 transmission, HIV denial, Ebola

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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Alan Dovetwivlogo

Vincent and Alan discuss a viral upper respiratory tract infection, transmission of H5N1 influenza virus, death of an HIV denialist, and the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

PLoS Pathogens paper on transmission of H5N1 influenza virus.
Ebola outbreak in DRC reported by ProMedMail.
Death of HIV denialist.
BioCrowd, a network for bioscientists.
Molecules, the iPhone/iPod Touch app to display molecules.

Science blog of the week: ViroBlogy
Science podcast pick of the week: Astronomy Cast
Science book of the week: The Cutter Incident by Paul A. Offit, MD

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Download TWiV #14 (37 MB .mp3, 53 minutes)

Subscribe to TWiV in iTunes or by the RSS feed.

TWiV 13: Top 10 virology stories of 2008

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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Alan Dovetwivlogo

Vincent and Alan talk about President-elect Obama’s choices for his science advisors, SARS sensationalism, a new enteric picornavirus, and the top 10 virology stories of 2008.

Obama’s science advisors (Yahoo story)
CDC RSS feed on influenza
PNAS paper on a new enteric picornavirus

TWiV’s top 10 virology stories of 2008:

1. Nobel Prize in Medicine to Montagnier, Barré-Sinoussi, and zur Hausen
2. AIDS elite controllers partly explained
3. Cancellation of PAVE HIV-1 vaccine trial
4. Gut homing receptor for HIV-1
5. New Ebola strain
6. New mosquito virus
7. How mosquitoes survive virus infection
8. Mouse model for Chikungunya
9. Genome sequences of 150 avian influenza virus strains
10.  Understanding the RS virus vaccine failure

Science blog of the week: Aetiology
Science podcast pick of the week: biobytes
Science book of the week: Principles of Virology, 3rd Edition by Flint, Enquist, Racaniello, and Skalka. Details on how to win a free copy here.

Send your virology questions and comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Have a great 2009!

Download TWiV #13 (34 MB .mp3, 49 minutes)

Subscribe to TWiV in iTunes (the problems are fixed!) or by the RSS feed.

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