C&T Round Up for November 2020

Issue 104 | December 4, 2020
6 min read
Capsid and Tail

This week, we’re highlighting the four feature articles we published in November: two interviews, a guest blog post, and a recap of the month’s PHAVES event!

Add your voice to the State of Phage 2020 Survey!

State of Phage 2020 logo

In celebration of our 100th issue of Capsid & Tail, we launched a survey called State of Phage 2020! We created this survey to help us all better understand the phage research community globally, including what kind of phages people are collecting, what methods they’re using, and more. If you work with phages, please fill it out! We’ll compile and share the results in Capsid & Tail in 2021, and repeat the survey annually so we can all follow and share our community’s exciting growth over time.

Thanks so much to the 80 of you who’ve already completed the survey (from 40 countries!), and to those who have shared it!!

We’d love if you continued sharing it with friends! https://survey.phage.directory/

Take the State of Phage 2020 Survey

What’s New

Diane Shader Smith and Mark Smith have established Mallory’s Legacy Fund. Their daughter Mallory was one of the first cystic fibrosis patients to receive phage therapy (and she inspired Phage Directory’s start!). Donations will support phage therapy research projects. Watch this 2-min video on Mallory’s story, and donate here.

DonatePhage Therapy

Dr. David Pride (IPATH, UCSD) wrote a great Scientific American article on the complexity of viruses and the human body. He talks about the tricky tasks of mapping where they are and how they spread, and managing the bad ones while exploiting the good ones. Great for sharing with your families who are undoubtedly asking you more about your work on viruses this year than ever before…

Science communicationVirome

PhagoMed’s synthetic phage lysin platform for treatment of bacterial vaginosis came in second place (and won 20,000 Euro) in the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s 2020 Health Catapult contest.

AwardLysins

Karthik Chamakura (Center for Phage Technology and Texas A&M) and colleagues published a new paper in Nature Communications on host lysis genes discovered in leviviruses, which are single-stranded RNA phages. They characterized the function of these lysis genes in 244 leviviral genomes, and suggest this could be a rich new source of phage protein-based antimicrobials.

Phage protein therapeuticsResearch paper

Shannon Miller (Broad Institute) and colleagues published a new paper in Nature Protocols on phage-assisted continuous and non-continuous evolution. This method allows directed evolution to occur much faster (100 rounds of evolution in 2 weeks), with minimal researcher intervention.

Phage methodsResearch paper

Latest Jobs

Clara Torres-Barceló (Plant Pathology Institute, INRAE, Avignon, France) has an opening for an 18-month contract as research assistant to work on the project “Characterisation of Erwinia amylovora phages in order to develop a biocontrol tool against fire blight.” She is seeking a highly motivated candidate with a Master’s degree and molecular biology, microbiology and bioinformatics experience. Working language is French or English. Please submit CV + motivation letter to clara.torresbarcelo@inrae.fr by Dec 15.
The Blower group at Durham University (Durham, UK) is hiring a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Microbiology and Biochemistry to investigate BREX and phage-bacteria interactions.
ContraFect (Yonkers, New York), a clinical-stage biotech company focused on discovery and development of protein therapeutics (including phage lysins) is hiring a Director of Research Laboratory.

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!

My name is Tom Ireland and I’m a science writer based in the UK working on a popular-science book about phages. Under contract with a major publisher, the book aims to bring the wonder of phages to a mass audience, telling the fascinating history of phage science and exploring what phages can do for us in science, medicine and the environment.

I am currently making contact with phage scientists from across the world as part of my research, and I want to ask anyone who wishes to be featured to get in touch with me. I’m really keen to get to know lots of phage scientists, visit lots of phage labs and follow lots of different aspects of phage work in the course of my research. Please contact me at tomjireland@gmail.com.

Science communicationSeeking to interview researchers

The fourth iVoM event will be Thursday, December 17, 7pm GMT, and the theme will be “Virus-host interaction: molecular mechanisms”.

Talks:

  • New discoveries on the immune system of bacteria — Rotem Sorek
  • The regulation and activity of Class 1 CRISPR-Cas systems — Peter Fineran
  • Molecular hijacking of Pseudomonas — Rob Lavigne

Chairs:
Karen Maxwell and Julia Frunzke

Register for the whole series or for individual events at https://ivom.phage.directory.

Virtual EventViruses of microbesiVoM

The recording for iVoM #2 (Virus Structure and Function with Petr Leiman, Kristin Parent and Pascale Boulanger) has been posted on the VoM 2020 Youtube channel!

RecordingVirtual Event

Save the date for the next rendition of PHAVES, a seminar with Dr. Jonathan Iredell, MD of the Westmead Institute for Medical Research and University of Sydney on Wed, Dec 16 at 8AM AEDT (Tues, Dec 15 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

Two upcoming phage webinars organized by the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science:

  1. From Petri Dish to Patient: Mycobacteriophages and Their Therapeutic Potential (December 8): Register here.
  2. Phage and Antibiotics: Induction of an Antibacterial Type 7 Secretion System in Enterococcus faecalis (December 16): Register here.
Virtual Event

This week included Giving Tuesday, and some of you likely donated to Phages for Global Health (PGH). A message from the PGH team: “Thank you so much for your gifts yesterday — between your contributions and matching funds we raised over $18,000 in just 24 hours! That’s the most we’ve ever received through crowdfunding in a single day.” If you’d like to donate or learn more, do so here!

Antibiotic resistanceDonatePhage Therapy

C&T Round Up for November 2020

Profile Image
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 November. 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 articles in the C&T archive! Remember this article on raising phage therapy awareness among doctors by Aël Hardy?

Capsid & Tail

Follow Capsid & Tail, the periodical that reports the latest news from the phage therapy and research community.

We send Phage Alerts to the community when doctors require phages to treat their patient’s infections. If you need phages, please email us.

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Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

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