C&T Round Up for February 2021

Issue 115 | February 26, 2021
9 min read
Capsid and Tail

This week, we’re highlighting the four feature articles we published in February: an interview with Richard Alm of CARB-X, part two of our State of Phage survey results, and a recap of the three phage events we hosted last week, written by three of our amazing volunteers!

Also in this issue: register/get info for 5 upcoming phage webinars and 4 phage conferences!

Sponsor

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The Bacteriophage Therapy Summit returns virtually on March 23-25 to provide you with an unrivalled opportunity to hear first-hand from leading drug developers, regulators, academics and clinical researchers and engage in the most comprehensive discussions to enable you to discover and translate bacteriophage research into targeted therapeutics that demonstrate clinically significant results. Register now to save on your booking and join experts from BiomX, Cytophage, the FDA and more!

Urgent February 26, 2021

Urgent need for Burkholderia gladioli phages for a patient

Phage Therapy

We are urgently seeking Burkholderia gladioli phages for a patient in Germany.

Ways to help at this stage:

  • By sending your phages for testing on the patient’s strain
  • By receiving the strain and testing your phages
  • By receiving the strain and using it to search for new phages against the organism
  • By helping spread the word about this request
  • By providing us with names/email addresses of labs you think we should contact

Please email staff@phage.directory if you can help in any way, or if you would like further details/clarification.

Let’s make a difference,
Phage Directory

What’s New

Locus Biosciences announced the completion of a phase 1b trial of CRISPR-Cas3-enhanced phage targeting E. coli in urinary tract infections. The trial met all the endpoints, and represents the first randomized, placebo-controlled trial using recombinant phage therapy. The company is advancing into Phase 2 trials to prove the efficacy of recombinant phage in precisely removing specific bacteria from the human body without harming any other bacteria in a patient’s microbiome.

Biotech newsCRISPRClinical TrialNew phage productPhage engineering

TechnoPhage has initiated a phase I/IIa study to test a phage treatment for diabetic foot infections. This product is the first of TechnoPhage’s pipeline to enter clinical trials, constituting an exciting milestone for the company. The results of the study are expected during 2021.

Biotech newsClinical Trial

Esther Shmidov (Bar-Ilan University, Israel) and colleagues published a new paper on a counter selection-based novel method of curing prophages in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. They validated their method with local PCR amplification and whole-genome sequencing, proving it to be highly efficient for curing prophages in laboratory as well as clinical strains.

ProphageResearch paper

Shayla Hesse (National Cancer Institute, USA) and colleagues published a new paper showing that mutations in genes coding for cell surface structures impair adsorption of phages in multidrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae. They concluded that phage cocktails targeting different phage receptors decrease the incidence of resistance, while multiple phages targeting the same receptor increases the chances of resistance development.

Phage receptorsPhage resistanceResearch paper

Mabruka Salem (University of Helsinki) and colleagues published a new paper on the isolation and characterization of three broad host range Yersinia phages. Phages were characterized with TEM, growth curves, burst size assays, and genome size. Whole-genome sequencing of spontaneous phage-resistant mutants revealed mutations in porin and LPS genes, which were successfully complemented in trans.

Research paper

Latest Jobs

Research Technician
PhagePro is a Boston-based, preclinical phage biotech startup focused on helping the world’s most vulnerable communities. They’re looking for a part-time Research Technician to support their R&D team.
Post Doc
The Koskella lab at UC Berkeley is hiring a postdoc to explore bacteria-phage dynamics over both short (monthly) and long (yearly) time scales to better understand the ecology and evolution of phage host range, the scale of phage adaptation and bacterial counter-adaptation, and the role phages play in shaping pathogen invasion and disease. The project is based around a tight integration of research and teaching, and includes the development of a four module undergraduate research program.
Scientist
Locus Biosciences (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina) is hiring a Scientist for its Phage Discovery and Cocktail Optimization team.
Associate Scientist
Sensei Bio (Maryland, USA) is a clinical-stage immunotherapy company with an initial focus on treatments for cancer. Their proprietary ImmunoPhage platform is a powerful, self-adjuvanted and highly differentiated immunotherapy approach designed to utilize phage to induce a robust, focused and coordinated innate and adaptive immune response. They are hiring a Phage Stock Production Associate Scientist.
Associate Scientist
Armata Pharmaceuticals is hiring an associate scientist to evaluate existing engineering methods and devise new ones to build improved phages as needed for clinical development. The work will involve genetically altering phages and their hosts to improve their safety, efficacy or manufacturability profiles.

Community Board

Anyone can post a message to the phage community — and it could be anything from collaboration requests, post-doc searches, sequencing help — just ask!

Good things….
come to those who wait. It is now evident that corona will continue to disrupt our plans to share science and meet at VoM Portugal yet again this year. The local organizers of the upcoming VoM conferences and the ISVM board have made the decision to move the original 2020 VoM in Guimarães, Portugal to 2022 and the originally scheduled 2022 meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia to 2023.

Furthermore, we’re excited to announce that ISVM/VoM is going ‘down under’ in 2024, with a conference hosted in beautiful Cairns, Australia. We look forward to ‘Expanding our viral frontiers’ at that meeting.

So, besides the iVoM lectures and other online opportunities being made available to us this year, we’ll be ready for fully vaccinated conferences:
18th – 22nd July 2022, Guimarães, Portugal
2nd – 7th July 2023, Tbilisi, Georgia
15th – 19th July 2024, Cairns, Australia

We look forward to seeing you again!

On behalf of the ISVM executive board,
Rob Lavigne (president)

ConferenceISVMViruses of microbes

We are excited to announce that the Viruses of Microbes 2024 meeting will be held in Cairns, Australia! Being situated on the shores of the Great Barrier Reef and surrounded by the oldest rainforest on Earth, Cairns will host a truly unique VoM experience. This also marks the first time that the VoM conference series will take place outside of Europe.

The theme for VoM 2024 will be ‘Expanding our viral frontiers’, which references both the expansion of the VoM conference series to Australia and a focus on the next frontiers for viruses of microbes research. Our local organising committee is led by Dr. Jeremy J. Barr (Monash University) and includes; A/Prof. Ruby CY Lin (Westmead Institute), Dr. Lucy Furfaro (University of Western Australia), Dr. Karen Weynberg (The University of Queensland), and Dr. Paul Jaschke (Macquarie University).

Our meeting will be held at the Cairns Convention Centre from July 15th – 19th, 2024. We are excited to host you all in beautiful Cairns, Australia and hope to see you all ‘down under’ soon!

ConferenceISVMViruses of microbes

The International Bacteriophage Research Consortium (IBRC) and Phage Directory are co-hosting a series of Phage Bioinformatics Webinars.

The second speaker in the series will be March 2 at 9.00 pm IST / 7.30 am PST, with a talk by Katelyn McNair, a Research Scholar at the University of California, Irvine and San Diego State University, USA. Katelyn has developed the software PHANOTATE, the first gene finder specifically designed for phage genome annotation. Also, of immense interest to phage researchers, is her previous tool, PHACTS, which computationally predicts whether a phage is temperate or virulent. Register here!

Also check out our #phage-bioinformatics channel in the Phage Directory Slack room, to give & get help as you work through this series & beyond!

BioinformaticsVirtual Event

phageSuisse is hosting its second webinar on March 2nd at 20h00 CET on “Temperate bacteriophages and the evolution of the Staphylococcus aureus lineage 398” by Dr. Floriane Laumay from Geneva, Switzerland. Register here!

[Date change!] The sixth iVoM event will be Thursday, Mar 4, 11AM GMT (note earlier time than usual too!), and the theme will be “Biotechnology applications in health care”.

It will feature talks by:
Laurent Debarbieux: Phages (in)action in the gut
Krystyna Dabrowska: A study that went wrong: phage engineering and phage pharmacokinetics
Tristan Ferry: Phage therapy experience in France in the field of Bone and Joint infection

Chairs:
Jeremy Barr
Joana Azeredo

Register at https://ivom.phage.directory.

Also, the iVoM image contest deadline has been extended to March 2!

Virtual Event

PHAVES #13 will be a seminar with Prof. Jonathan Iredell, MBBS, PhD of the Westmead Institute for Medical Research and University of Sydney on Wed, March 10 at 8AM AEDT (Tues, March 9 at 4PM Eastern Time/10PM CET). He will give a talk entitled Phage Therapy: The Australian Experience. Small group networking to follow! Register here!

PHAVESVirtual Event

The NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS) is hosting Prof. Paul Turner on Wednesday, March 10 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm, who will give a webinar entitled “Phage Therapy to Combat Infections by Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria”. Watch at https://videocast.nih.gov.

Phage TherapyVirtual Event

The Centre for Microbiology and Phage Therapy (Zewail City of Science, Technology and Innovation) is organizing their first Annual Phage International Conference on March 12-13, 2021. Register here.

ConferencePhage TherapyVirtual Event

C&T Round Up for February 2021

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Phage microbiologist and co-founder of Phage Directory
Co-founder
Phage Directory, Atlanta, GA, United States

Jessica Sacher is a co-founder of Phage Directory and has a Ph.D in Microbiology and Biotechnology from the University of Alberta.

For Phage Directory, she takes care of the science, writing, communications, and business aspects.

In this month’s Capsid & Tail Monthly Round Up issue, we’re highlighting the three feature articles we published in February. Be sure to check them out if you missed them, and let us know if you have thoughts, comments or questions! Reach us anytime by email or Slack!

C&T Throwback!

There’s lots of great phage stuff in the C&T archive!

Remember this article on High-throughput genetic tools for phage biology: An interview with Dr. Vivek Mutalik by Rohit Kongari?


Thanks to Atif Khan for his work writing summaries for the What’s New section this week!

Capsid & Tail

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