9 episodes

Incubation is a new podcast that traces the history of humanity through viruses. We’ve all seen how the SARS CoV2 pandemic changed just about everything — from family life to work to politics –– but that’s just the latest installment in a long line of virus shake-ups. Other viruses –– influenza, HPV, smallpox, RSV –– have dramatically changed or endangered life as we know it. In many cases, scientists have been able to change the odds in favor of humanity. But deadly viruses persist — and containing them remains a scientific and technological challenge that each successive generation must take on.

Author and What’s Your Problem host Jacob Goldstein takes us on a journey with leading medical researchers, doctors and historians to trace key moments in our battles with viruses, breakthroughs in vaccine research, and the impact of vaccination campaigns.  These stories will help us better understand the evolutionary contest between humans and viruses, and how vaccines and new technologies are changing the score. Incubation drops weekly on Thursdays starting September 7.

Incubation Pushkin Industries

    • Science
    • 4.6 • 97 Ratings

Incubation is a new podcast that traces the history of humanity through viruses. We’ve all seen how the SARS CoV2 pandemic changed just about everything — from family life to work to politics –– but that’s just the latest installment in a long line of virus shake-ups. Other viruses –– influenza, HPV, smallpox, RSV –– have dramatically changed or endangered life as we know it. In many cases, scientists have been able to change the odds in favor of humanity. But deadly viruses persist — and containing them remains a scientific and technological challenge that each successive generation must take on.

Author and What’s Your Problem host Jacob Goldstein takes us on a journey with leading medical researchers, doctors and historians to trace key moments in our battles with viruses, breakthroughs in vaccine research, and the impact of vaccination campaigns.  These stories will help us better understand the evolutionary contest between humans and viruses, and how vaccines and new technologies are changing the score. Incubation drops weekly on Thursdays starting September 7.

    Phages: Bacteria’s Worst Nightmare

    Phages: Bacteria’s Worst Nightmare

    Can bacteriophages help us in the fight against antibiotic-resistant infections? Author Tom Ireland joins the show to discuss the fascinating world of bacteriophages, also known as phages – viruses that attack bacteria.. Then, Ben Chan, a researcher with a fridge full of phages, tells the story of what it was like putting them to use in a high-stakes case.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 30 min
    Herpes: Symptoms and Stigma

    Herpes: Symptoms and Stigma

    Why do we all know so little about the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), despite the fact that herpes infections are common and chronic? First, we get some Herpes 101 from researcher Anna Wald. Then, we speak with Ella Dawson, a sex and culture critic who is one of the billions of people living with HSV–1.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 22 min
    HPV: Unpacking Papilloma

    HPV: Unpacking Papilloma

    What can the mythical jackalope teach us about HPV? Author Michael Branch tells the story of how scientists first discovered horned rabbits, and how their findings paved the way for the study of all different kinds of papilloma viruses. Then, Elena Conis joins the shows to discuss the rollout of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine in the US and Americans’ complicated relationship with vaccine mandates.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 27 min
    Influenza: In the Wild

    Influenza: In the Wild

    What risk does H5N1 pose to humans? We hear from David Quammen, author of “Spillover,” about the vast and complicated interplay between influenza, the environment, animals, and humans. Then, molecular virologist Wendy Puryear helps us understand why seals on a remote island can be an early warning system.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 27 min
    The Common Cold: A Viral Mystery

    The Common Cold: A Viral Mystery

    What do we know – and not know – about the suite of viral infections known as “the common cold”? We speak with curator Katie Dabin about the UK’s Common Cold Unit, where volunteers signed up over the course of decades to get infected with colds. Then we enlist top virologist Gary McLean for some advice on what we can do to help ourselves feel better.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 29 min
    RSV: The Quest for a New Vaccine

    RSV: The Quest for a New Vaccine

    What is ‘structure-based’ vaccine design? Before scientists used these techniques to design vaccines against Covid, they were testing them in the lab to combat RSV. Keren Landman joins the show to talk about how this respiratory virus endangers the lives of babies and the elderly. Then, we hear about an early RSV vaccine trial that cast a shadow over modern research, and how scientists, including our guests Jason McLellan and Barney Graham, later figured out how to create and stabilize a viral antigen’s spike protein to fight RSV.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
97 Ratings

97 Ratings

praxis78 ,

Well researched

…and well produced.

MESTRK ,

Great Host, Fascinating Topic

Love Jacob Goldstein as the host of this podcast! Great questions, and always does a great job of breaking down the complex topics for those of us who aren’t scientists. I could not stop listening to the show, such an interesting topic! I couldn’t help but start curiously googling photos of horned rabbits with papilloma virus after listening to the HPV episode, and I recommend not doing that hahahaha.

RKeith ,

Binged in one afternoon!

Please drop episodes faster! Love Pushkin.

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