The talks from the researchers in the field of infectious diseases. The podcast is hosted by South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (STCEID).
Plague, Anthrax, and ASM, Oh My! With ASM president Virginia Miller and president-elect Theresa Koehler
Plague and anthrax are feared diseases due to high mortality rates following pulmonary exposure, and both are considered potential bioweapons.
Dr. Virginia Miller, professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and ASM President, studies plague, as well as other Gram negative bacteria. Dr. Theresa Koehler, emeritus professor at UTHealth Houston and ASM president-elect, is an expert in anthrax.
microTalk caught up with Dr. Miller and Dr. Koehler at ASM Microbe 2023 in Houston to discuss these biothreat agents.
Dr. Miller discusses why she studies plague, the differences between bubonic and pneumonic plague, why Klebsiella pneumoniae poses a growing health threat, and what it was like being John Mekalanos’ first Ph.D. student.
Dr. Koehler discusses why anthrax is considered a potential bioweapon, why significant scientific progress was made following the anthrax attacks of 2001, why gardeners shouldn’t worry about catching anthrax, and her first failed experiment. Both discuss their vision for ASM and the role it plays in microbiological research and society.
Participants: Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA) Virginia Miller, Ph.D. (UNC Chapel Hill) Theresa Koehler, Ph.D. (UT Health Houston) Janakiram Seshu, Ph.D. (UTSA) Jesus Romo, Ph.D. (UTSA)
Microbes to the Rescue! Bioremediation with Dr. John Coates
Dr. John Coates, a professor at the University of California Berkeley specializes in environmental microbiology and how microbes can be utilized to resolve problems in industry.
microTalk caught up with Dr. Coates at the ASMicrobe conference in Houston and discussed his research in applied and environmental microbiology.
Dr. Coates discusses an unexpected discovery of how microbes drive the iodine cycle on earth, how sequencing microbes in the oceans has been beneficial for identifying novel biochemical activities, how climate change has stimulated his research into the “bioeconomy”, why he’s optimistic that science can mitigate the effects of climate change, and how Berkeley is a remarkable place to do science.
This episode was supported by miniScope, the portable keychain microscope.
Participants: Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA) John Coates, Ph.D. (UCSD) Janakiram Seshu, Ph.D. (UTSA) Jesus Romo, Ph.D. (UTSA)
The Evolution Revolution with Dr. Vaughn Cooper
The study of evolution has experienced a tremendous revolution with the advances in current sequencing technologies enabling e.g. rapid whole genome sequencing.
Dr. Vaughn Cooper, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh who studies evolution in microbes, has taken advantage of these technologies to delve into how microorganisms adapt and evolve in different environments. microTalk caught up with Dr. Cooper at the ASM Microbe conference in Houston and discussed microbial evolution with him.
Dr. Cooper discusses the power of next generation sequencing for the study of evolution, how mutation rates affect evolution, how providing hands-on evolution experiments to high school students can stimulate the next generation of scientists, how scientists need to work to combat public distrust of science, how antibiotic resistance evolves in the presence of immunodeficiency, and how his initial experience with baculoviruses hooked him into a lifelong study of evolution.
This episode was supported by Darbie’s pinworm detection kit, to combat nematodes in your bikini bottom.
Participants: Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA) Vaughn Cooper, Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh) Janakiram Seshu, Ph.D. (UTSA) Jesus Romo, Ph.D. (UTSA)
Adversary o’ Malaria with Dr. Debopam Chakrabarti
Malaria continues to have a significant impact on humans. The Plasmodium parasites are transmitted through mosquito bites, and the disease has a tremendous impact on global health.
Dr. Debopam Chakrabarti, a professor at the University of Central Florida who specializes in malaria. Dr. Chakrabarti discusses the history of the search for antimalarials, the problem of parasite drug resistance, how undergraduates can help to discover the next antimalarials, whether eradication of mosquitoes will eliminate malaria, and his challenging passion in growing roses in Florida.
This episode was supported by ArchaeaMingle.com, for single-celled organisms looking for a steamy time.
Participants: Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA) Debopam Chakrabarti, Ph.D. (University of Central Florida) Janakiram Seshu, Ph.D. (UTSA) Jim McLellan (UTSA)
“Ex” Marks the Spot: Exosomes with Ramin Hakami
Exosomes are small vesicles that that facilitate communication between eukaryotic cells. They resemble mini-cells, and act like carrier pigeons, trafficking various “payloads” among cells.
Dr. Ramin Hakami is a Professor of Microbiology at George Mason University. Dr. Hakami studies how infectious diseases are modulated by exosome signaling. Dr. Hakami talks about how exosomes can deliver messages to cells, how Rift Valley Fever and Plague affect exosome signaling within infected hosts, how exosomes provide specificity and a “reply all” function to signaling, how being in a Nobel lab affected his approach to science, and his alternate career as a salsa dancer.
This episode was supported by IV Rehydration Therapy, the treatment that prevents explosive diarrhea from inhibiting your social life.
Participants: Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA) Ramin Hakami, Ph.D. (George Mason University) Janakiram Seshu, Ph.D. (UTSA) Mylea Echazarreta (UTSA)
Coxiella burnettii with Stacey Gilk
Coxiella burnettii causes Q Fever, a zoonotic disease that is rarely acquired by humans. But Q Fever has a history of being developed as a bioweapon because of its ability to be spread by aerosols and cause debilitating but not lethal disease.
Dr. Stacey Gilk is an Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center who studies Coxiella. Dr. Gilk talks about what makes Q Fever a potential biothreat agent, how figuring out how to grow Coxiella outside of cells revolutionized the study of this bacterium that was thought to only grow intracellularly, how a large outbreak in the Netherlands led to the deaths of thousands of dairy goats, how cholesterol affects the ability of Coxiella to grow, how falling in love with Toxoplasma led her to pursue infectious disease research, and what a wonderful place Nebraska is to do science.
This episode was supported by Gordo Sheepsay’s My Dope Microscope, the kitchen appliance that may literally save your life.
Participants: Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA) Stacey Gilk, Ph.D. (Univ. Nebraska Medical Center) Janakiram Seshu, Ph.D. (UTSA) Jesus Romo, Ph.D. (UTSA)
Where is Dr. Seshu?
I’m a microbiology PhD student and I love the podcast! The mystery cases are especially fun. But is it ever NOT Micro-Seshu who hosts? I want to hear from his alter ego once in a while!
I am working on medical mycology and really love this podcast.
Very interesting with great scientists.