TWiV 201: Rabid about viruses

September 30, 2012

World Rabies DayHosts: Vincent Racaniello, Alan DoveRich Condit, Dickson Despommier, and Kathy Spindler

Vincent, Alan, Rich, Dickson, and Kathy answer reader email about rabies, xenotransplantation, poliovirus, Ph.D. programs, mosquitoes, and much more.

Click the arrow above to play, or right-click to download TWiV 201 (90 MB .mp3, 125 minutes).

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Links for this episode:

Weekly Science Picks

Alan – Wallace Online
Rich – World Rabies Day
Kathy – Yo-yos in space
Dickson – The Art in Science
The Podcasters Studio

Listener Pick of the Week

Wink – DuckDuckGo
JoshIntroduction to Solid State Chemistry

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  • Pritesh

    Adding to the Ph.D program in BSL4 or BSL3 labs:
    Department of Biology at Georgia State University, Atlanta has two faculty members working on BSL3 and BSL4. Dr Margo Brinton (west nile virus) and Dr.Julia Hilliard (B virus).

  • jim vandiver

    Thanks, again, for the excellent program guys and gal. Was it Rich who suggested the download to Australia might be slow? I see that Steve Gibson (Scty Now) offers different quality (smaller size) downloads because  many folks  are still limited to tiny pipes. Or, when I convert files to 25% faster playback your 90MB drops to 19.5MB. Yo-yo was interesting, and the chemistry class is enticing (time….), and I have to listen to those Podcaster Studio programs, too.  Need larger cerebral pipes!

  • Guest_4

    Although it has been quite some time since this episode was published, i also wanted to add to the discussion about a Ph.D. program in a BSL4.

    You of course are right in that it is mainly  about the scientific programm when you do a Ph.D., but i think it wouldn`t be bad either to look for institutes that offer a Ph.D. student a possibility to train in a BSL4. There are several BLS4 labs in the US, of course Galveston and Boston, but also the Rocky mountain labs, which harbour BSL4 labs.  In addition, there are several BSL labs outside the US, some of which work with Nipah and Hendra, for example the CSIRO`s BSL4 in Geelong/Australia ( ) and the BSL4 lab in Marburg/Germany ( ).

    In addition, BSL4 training takes some time, and it could be worthwhile to do this training  during a PhD, since it definitly would be an asset if you wanto to continue with this kind of work as a Post-Doc. Also, while research in a BSL4 labs takes a lot of time, the number of  experiments you do under these conditions is rather limited, and research on BSL4 pathogens  is often combined with studying individual proteins or using models under BSL2 conditions, therefore you are not necessary doing a longer PhD because of the lengthy BSL4 experiments.

    I hope that somehow helps, if you really want to to do work on BSL4-pathogen you could look for a place in one of the institutes harbouring  BSL4 labs, in my opinion it is definitly worth trying.

  • Sven Enterlein

    I completely agree! I was fortunate enough to get my PhD in Marburg and to work in the local BSL-4 lab as well. In addition, I was fortunate to do some of my studies in Lyon’s P4 lab due to our close collaboration (and other bureaucratic reasons). I was also not the only PhD student to get to work in BSL-4; if you show the right mind (and skill) set there is no real reason not to get granted access after appropriate training.

    I wanted to add another (in my opinion important) aspect of working in high and maximum containment laboratory: You learn how to work safely and efficiently. If you don’t prepare yourself and have everything you need ready when you start your experiments you will find yourself losing about an hour to shower out, doff your suit, get dressed, get whatever you need, and do the reverse for getting back inside. Not everything can be delivered through the dunk tank…

  • Sven Enterlein

    One quick comment on Kathy’s yo-yos in space: It’s not “Zero gravity” in space but “Zero G”. Although it might sound like semantics these are actually two different (albeit sometimes related) physical phenomena: Gravity and acceleration. SciShow has a great video about exactly this: