TWiV 291: Ft. Collins abuzz with virologists

Vincent, Rich, and Kathy and their guests Clodagh and Ron recorded episode #291 of the science show This Week in Virology at the 33rd annual meeting of the American Society for Virology at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado.

You can find TWiV #291 at www.microbe.tv/twiv.

TWiV 193: Live at ASV in Madison

On episode #193 of the science show This Week in Virology, recorded at the 31st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Virology in Madison, Vincent, Rich, Carolyn, and Sara discussed genetic conflict between viral and human genes, and how the placenta protects the fetus against viral infection.

You can find TWiV #193 at www.microbe.tv/twiv.

Herpetic Legion – Reactivation

Herpetic LegionWe all know that virologists love to dance. But did you know that they can also perform in a rock band?

At the recently concluded 2012 meeting of the American Society for Virology in Madison, WI, seven virologists and a neurobiologist, members of the band Herpetic Legion, entertained meeting attendees with a mix of old and new rock and roll. You can view a video of their performance below or on YouTube.

Herpetic Legion is Joel Baines (vocals, bass guitar), Ian Mohr (drums), John Parker (guitar), Phil Pellett (guitar), Michele Bialecki (vocals), Amy Hudson (vocals, cow bell), and Cheryl Stucky (flute). Richard Lloyd made a guest appearance for two songs on guitar (the virologist, not the rock star).

It was a terrific performance, demonstrating that scientists can do many things. Thanks, Herpetic Legion!

Live tweeting of the ASV meeting

asm gmLast week I attended the 30th annual meeting of the American Society for Virology in Minneapolis, Minnesota. During the morning symposia, which consist of formal 35-minute talks, I decided to post ongoing summaries of each talk on Twitter, a process known as ‘live tweeting’ or ‘live blogging’. Some individuals were skeptical about this activity, because many of the speakers presented unpublished data which they might not want circulated. I continued to live tweet the rest of the meeting, but wondered about the future of this practice.

Live blogging is often done at tech conferences (MacWorld Expo, South by Southwest, to name just two). My efforts at the ASV meeting were inspired by Jonathan Eisen, a microbiologist who frequently live blogs from a variety of scientific presentations, such as the American Society for Microbiology annual meeting, small conferences, and seminars.

Shortly after I began live tweeting the ASV meeting (you can find the stream on Twitter by searching for the hashtag #asv11) one of the speakers asked me if I was ‘broadcasting’ the conference. She had mentioned unpublished data in her talk and was concerned that it would now be ‘public’. Later another conference attendee voiced similar concerns. In particular, she asked whether I had permission to live blog. I did not, and I did not find guidelines about dissemination of information at the conference website. I asked Jonathan Eisen for his thoughts on the issue of live coverage of scientific meetings:

Generally I am usually pretty careful to try and not post details about unpublished work without permission. Sometimes it is hard to tell what is published or unpublished but if people specifically say “this is unpublished” then I avoid it and if they say “published” or give a citation, then I feel fine.

It is a fine line … mostly I feel that people like to see general details on twitter and thus even published stuff is useful to post.

As Jonathan writes, it’s often not possible to determine which information given in a talk is published or not. Even restricting the blogging to ‘general details’ can be problematic if these include unpublished information.

One conclusion that I reached while thinking about this issue is that meeting organizers need to have a policy in place to regulate live blogging. Reaching such a policy decision will require discussion among meeting organizers and participants. A recent article on this topic in PLoS Computational Biology summarized the issues:

…live blogging does not change what information is broadcast from a conference, merely how fast it is propagated. […] Organizers and scientists alike gain from embracing social networking applications, which now support an unprecedented timeliness and level of visibility for both social aspects of the conference and the knowledge presented there. Conferences where information is intended to be public should embrace this timeliness as an amplifier. Other conferences may be better served by more restrictive policies, although presenters should always have the ability to make their presentation public. Whatever decision is made by conference organizers, a clear policy regarding publication of presented information should be advertised. Organizers, attendees, presenters, and journalists all require clear and equitable guidelines. By following the suggestions presented here, conference organizers can shape their policies quickly and simply, and bloggers can provide a useful, timely record of a scientific meeting.

I would be interested to hear your opinions on live blogging at scientific conferences. Have you ever done it? Was it permitted by the meeting organizers? If not, did they object? Moving forward, should guidelines for this activity be clearly stated in the meeting materials?

 Lister, A., Datta, R., Hofmann, O., Krause, R., Kuhn, M., Roth, B., & Schneider, R. (2010). Live Coverage of Scientific Conferences Using Web Technologies PLoS Computational Biology, 6 (1) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000563

Photograph by Jonathan Eisen

TWiV 143: Live at ASV in Minneapolis

asv minneapolisHosts: Vincent Racaniello, Rich Condit, Julie Overbaugh, and Stacey Schultz-Cherry

Vincent, Rich, Julie and Stacey recorded TWiV at the 30th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Virology in Minneapolis, where they discussed the role of neutralizing antibodies in protection against HIV-1 infection, and astroviruses, agents of gastroenteritis.

Click the arrow above to play, or right-click to download TWiV 143 (48 MB .mp3, 66 minutes).

Subscribe to TWiV (free) in iTunes , at the Zune Marketplace, by the RSS feed, by email, or listen on your mobile device with the Microbeworld app.

Links for this episode:

Weekly Science Picks

Rich – Iter – building a fusion reactor
Vincent – American girls sweep at Google science fair (NY Times)

Listener Pick of the Week

JingBees by Rudolph Steiner

Send your virology questions and comments (email or mp3 file) to twiv@microbe.tv, or call them in to 908-312-0760. You can also post articles that you would like us to discuss at microbeworld.org and tag them with twiv.

TWiV 92: Live at ASV in Bozeman

Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Rich Condit, Karla Kirkegaard, and Marilyn Roosinck

On episode #92 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent, Rich, Karla, and Marilyn recorded TWiV at the 29th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Virology in Bozeman, where they discussed plant viruses and how they make plants resistant to adverse conditions, and identification of dominant negative drug targets.

Click the arrow above to play, or right-click to download TWiV #92 (42 MB .mp3, 57 minutes)

Subscribe to TWiV (free) in iTunes , at the Zune Marketplace, by the RSS feed, or by email, or listen on your mobile device with Stitcher Radio.

Links for this episode:

Weekly Science Picks

Marilyn – Viruses in the faecal microbiota of monozygotic twins and their mothers (Nature)
Rich –
The Known Universe by the American Museum of Natural History
Vincent – The Red Queen by Matt Ridley (thanks, Jesper!)

Send your virology questions and comments (email or mp3 file) to twiv@microbe.tv or leave voicemail at Skype: twivpodcast. You can also post articles that you would like us to discuss at microbeworld.org and tag them with twiv.