Sometimes the big picture can be too big. Microbes are everywhere, and sometimes looking at the small things can answer questions you weren’t expecting to ask.
Arjan Kortholt is Associate Professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Arjan’s original work was studying chemotaxis; the movement of cells up or down substance concentration gradients, for example when white blood cells are chasing pathogens. However, whilst studying the proteins involved in chemotaxis, he found they are related to Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s has traditionally been studied by medical doctors, but now Arjan is studying the disease from a new, microbiological angle; using techniques and tools from microbiology to help find a cure.
On this month’s podcast, we discuss the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans with Dr Liz Ballou from the University of Birmingham
In January 2019, news broke that two patients at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow had tragically passed away. When tested, both patients showed signs of a fungal infection caused by Cryptococcus neoformans. One of the patients’ deaths was unrelated to the infection, however it was a contributing factor to the death of the second patient.
This month we talked to fungal geneticist Dr Ballou; she researches how human fungal pathogens, specifically C. neoformans, survive and cause disease in the host. We discussed C. neoformans research, the lifecycle of the fungus, and the disease it can cause.
In 2018, influenza made headlines, with the 2017/18 flu season heralded on of the 'worst ever' for the National Health Service with the highest number of influenza-related hospital admissions since 2010. This flu season has been markedly different. But why is there so much variation?
This month, we spoke with Dr John McCauley, Director of the World Health Organization's Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, at the Francis Crick Institute, and Dr Othmar Engelhardt, Principal Scientist in the Division of Virology at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control. In this episode, we discuss how different subtypes and strains of influenza can have different effects in the population, and how microbiologists are working on preparing vaccines for the upcoming flu season.
For more information about influenza, why not read our blog Déjà flu: can science help the NHS cope with the annual burden of respiratory infections? from the Hot Topic lecture at the Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2018: https://microbiologysociety.org/blog/d-j-flu-can-science-help-the-nhs-cope-with-the-annual-burden-of-respiratory-infections.html
This is our first episode of a new series called 'Domino Effect'. In this episode, Lena (@drlenaciric) interviews Paul (@PaulHoskisson) about his research history, his hobbies and the importance of science communication. Next time it will be Lena's turn in the hot seat!
If you would like to get involved in a future episode of Domino Effect, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
To book a place at the Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2019: microbiologysociety.org/event/annual-…nference.html
The panic that sets in just before taking the stand at a conference is all too common. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some way to get presenting experience in a relaxed, friendly environment?
The Junior Awards for Microbiology (JAM Talks) are the monthly seminar series based in Birmingham that allows early career researchers to gain experience presenting to an audience of their peers.
This month, we talked to Alice Lanne and Anja Djokic - both part of the JAM Talks Organising Committee - to discuss their involvement in the talks and their views on the importance of presenting experience for early career researchers.
Why Microbiology Matters
To celebrate our 75th anniversary in 2020, we’re inviting members to nominate the discovery or event that best showcases why microbiology matters and helps us demonstrate the impact of microbiologists past, present and future.
To make your submission, click on the link below
This month, we spoke with Dr Alexandre de Menezes, soil microbiologist. Last year, Dr de Menezes went to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone to see how the nuclear disaster is impacting the microbes in the soil, over 30 years later. We will cover what the soil microbiome is, why is it important and how microbes are affected by radiation
This month, we have spoken with Dr Nicholas Johnson about the ongoing outbreak of West Nile Virus in Europe. Dr Johnson researches arboviruses, which are spread by mosquitoes at the UK's Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
To find out more about the research done at APHA: www.gov.uk/government/organisa…ency/about/research
For outbreak reports from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: ecdc.europa.eu/en/home
To find out more about Flaviviruses: jgv.microbiologyresearch.org/content/jo…v.0.000672
This month, we've caught up with microbiologist Ruth MacLaren, owner and founder of Sciencedipity.
This May, Ruth was at the Eden Project running a number of activities as part of their launch week for their new exhibit Invisible Worlds.
To find out more about the Invisible Worlds exhibit: https://microbepost.org/2018/06/20/invisible-worlds-at-the-eden-project/
To find out more about The Microbiology Society's engagement and outreach grants, see: https://microbiologysociety.org/education-outreach/get-involved.html
Malawi, in Sub-Saharan Africa, has the highest incidence and mortality of cervical cancer in the world. Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by human papillomavirus, or HPV.
Earlier this year, the Microbiology Society funded one of our members, Dr Ramya Bhatia, to travel to Malawi as part of a research collaboration between Nkhoma Hospital and the University of Edinburgh.
In this podcast, Ramya talks to us about her time in Malawi, and Nkhoma's highly successful cervical cancer screening programme.
Image credit: Derek Brumby/Thinkstock