C&T Round Up for October 2020

Issue 99 | October 30, 2020
5 min read
Capsid and Tail

Your recap of the feature articles we published in October! Happy Halloween!

This week, we’re highlighting the three feature articles we published in October: an interview, a guest blog post, and a recap of the two PHAVES events we hosted this month. Enjoy!

What’s New

Patients in India in need of phage therapy used to have to ship their samples internationally for phage susceptibility testing, which was a dealbreaker for even phage-friendly doctors as this was slow and expensive. Now, they can do it locally because of a new partnership between Vitalis Phage Therapy, the Eliava Institute in Georgia, and an Indian diagnostics company. For about $11 USD, patients in any city in India will be able to find out within a few days whether their samples are susceptible to the Eliava Institute’s phage cocktails.

NewsPhage TherapyPhage susceptibility testing

Dutch phage biotech company Micreos has signed a license agreement with L’Oréal — this means L’Oréal can incorporate Micreos’ phage lysins into its products, and represents a huge milestone for phage biotech making its way into the mainstream!

Biotech newsLysins

There is currently no working treatment for recurring bacterial vaginosis (BV). Christine Landlinger (PhagoMed Biopharma GmbH) and colleagues published a new preprint in medRxiv showing that their engineered phage endolysin candidate eliminates Gardnerella in bacterial vaginosis without damaging the healthy vaginal microbiome. This is great news and paves the way for development of this lysin (which came from a prophage) as a vaginal suppository for BV.

LysinsPreprintResearch paper

Long-read genome sequencing suffers from high DNA requirements and sequencing errors, so Olivier Zablocki (Ohio State University) and colleagues developed VirION2, an integrated short- and long-read metagenomic wet-lab and informatics pipeline. Check out their new preprint here, where they show how VirION2 sample prep and workflow can help researchers better investigate the virosphere, even when analyzing low-biomass samples. VirION2 on Protocols.io.

BioinformaticsPreprintResearch paper

Do you consider a virus-like particle (VLP) to be a particle that looks like a virus, or is it a virus specifically lacking a viral genome? Different fields (e.g. ecology vs. vaccine development) use the term differently. Paul Hyman, Gary Trubl and Steve Abedon discuss the evolving meanings of VLP in this perspective piece published in PHAGE.

PerspectiveViral ecology

Latest Jobs

The non-profit organization Emily’s Entourage is looking for an experienced, passionate and entrepreneurial scientist to lead research and development activities as a full-time Chief Scientific Officer. This is a unique chance to help lead an organization that fast tracks research for new treatments and a cure for rare nonsense mutations of Cystic Fibrosis. It has funded several phage projects lately!
Interested in a career in quantitative biology? Georgia Institute of Technology’s unique QBioS graduate program is accepting applicants for next year’s cohort (apply by Dec 1, 2020). This program aims to train students to identify fundamental principles that underlie the structure, dynamics, and function of living systems at scales spanning molecules, cells, tissue, populations, and ecosystems. This program is well-suited to phage enthusiasts, particularly as the program is led by Prof. Joshua Weitz, whose lab applies these principles to viral evolutionary dynamics (phages included!).
The Hill lab at the APC Microbiome in Cork, Ireland is hiring a postdoc to study the molecular interactions (especially host recognition and DNA injection) between a model phage and its host, Lactococcus lactis.

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!

Looking for viruses in your microbiome data? KBase has new Apps to identify and analyze viral sequences in your assemblies. Join this webinar on Nov. 4 at 1pm ET/10am PT to learn the basics of viral analysis in KBase from Dr. Ben Bolduc of The Ohio State University. Ben and others in Dr. Matthew Sullivan’s lab at OSU have been working with the KBase team to integrate several viral tools to create our first viral genomics pipeline.

Virtual Event

PHAVES #10 will be a seminar by Dr. Paul Jaschke, Assistant Professor at Macquarie University, Australia, on Nov. 10, 5:30 PM Eastern Time (GMT-4) / Nov. 11 at 9:30 AM AEST. His talk is entitled “Learning How to Engineer Genomes by Building Phage”, which will cover research stories about highly engineered øX174 phage created in his group and lessons learned about genome engineering in general and phage engineering in particular. Small group networking to follow! Register here.

PHAVESVirtual Event

C&T Round Up for October 2020

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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 place of a feature article this week, we’re highlighting the three Capsid & Tail feature articles we published this month. 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!

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