Virologist Roger W. Hendrix died on 15 August 2017. I only met Roger once, at the 2011 ASM meeting in New Orleans where we recorded an episode of This Week in Virology. The video of that episode is below, starting at my conversation with Roger at 30:34. Harmit Malik and Rachel Katzenellenbogen were my other guests on TWiV 135.
I have always marched for science
This Saturday I will be participating in the March for Science in Washginton, DC. Itâ€™s all about celebrating science and the role it plays in each of our lives. Frankly, I could have participated in a March for Science one, two, three, or any number of years ago, because these issues have always been important.
Over ten years ago, well into my science career, I recognized the need for scientists to come off the sidelines (to quote March for Science) and start telling the world what it is that we do. Itâ€™s why I wrote a virology textbook; started virology blog; produce five science podcasts; teach a virology course and record all the lectures for YouTube, and much more. These activities have beenÂ my March for Science.
Whenever I visit a university to give a science talk, I spend the last 15 minutes telling the audience (mainly scientists) why they need to tell the public what we do. I tell them to let the world know that our lives are long and prosperousÂ because of science. I emphasize that every scientist needs to communicate, so that the public sees us all together championing the way science benefits the planet.
The March for Science, held in many different cities, will give the world a view of scientists together defending the roles that science plays in our lives. Itâ€™s a large scale view of what I have done myself over the years, and what I have encouraged other scientists to do.
It is unfortunate that the March for Science had to be triggered by an administration that shows disdain for science and facts. I bet we could have organized a similar march years ago. But the march is happening now, and whether or not we are branded as left or right doesnâ€™t matter – science doesnâ€™t care about your political party. Neil de Grasse Tyson put it perfectly: â€œThe good thing about science is that itâ€™s true whether or not you believe in itâ€.
More important than the March for Science is what happens afterwards. Does it build a “global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governmentsâ€ as envisioned by its organizers, or is it back to business as usual for most scientists?
I donâ€™t know the answer, but I do know that there are many scientists who do engage the public, and their work will continue. The work that me and my co-hosts do to bring science and scientists to everyone will go on, as it has before the March.
Thatâ€™s why I will be wearing a This Week in Virology t-shirt to the March in Washington DC. Itâ€™s the way Iâ€™ve been communicating science, making a difference by reaching as many people as I can. Thatâ€™s the spirit of the March for Science, which will go beyondÂ one Saturday in April.
I started myÂ first podcast,Â This Week in Virology, in September 2008, together with Dickson Despommier, father of theÂ Vertical Farm. Although IÂ viewed the creation of a science podcast as an experiment, IÂ was surprised when people began to listen. Since then I haveÂ created fiveÂ other podcasts,Â scattered at different websites. Now you can find all of them atÂ MicrobeTV.
MicrobeTV is a podcast network for people who are interested in the life sciences. More specifically, the podcasts of MicrobeTV use conversations among scientistsÂ as teaching tools. Although I have been a research scientist my entire career, I have also had opportunities to teach graduate students, medical students, and undergraduate students. A long time ago I realized that I love to teach, and my podcasts are the outside-the-classroom expression of that sentiment.
My original idea behind TWiV was to teach virology to the broader public by recordingÂ conversations among scientists. The success of this approach led me to create This Week in Parasitism, This Week in Microbiology, Urban Agriculture, and This Week in Evolution, all of which can now be found at MicrobeTV.
You may ask why I do so many podcasts. The answer is simple – because I love talking about science and teaching others about this amazing field that makes our lives better. I could not do all these podcasts without my terrific co-hosts. I am also grateful to the American Society for Microbiology for their assistance and support for many years, especially Chris Condayan and Ray Ortega and the Communications Department.
MicrobeTV is the home for all of the podcasts that IÂ have producedÂ (and there are more to come!). But I’d also like to use MicrobeTV as a platform to showcase other science shows. The requirements are few: you should be passionate about your subject, you should have a great relationship with your audience, and your podcast audio mustÂ be excellent. If you are interested in joining MicrobeTV, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MicrobeTV – Science Shows by Scientists.
ASM Live at ICAAC/ICC 2015
ASM Live will be broadcast from ICAAC/ICC 2015Â in San Diego, CA, where hostÂ Michael Schmidt, PhD, Professor and Vice Chairman of Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina, and co-host ofÂ This Week in Microbiology, will interview researchers about their work.
Streaming will take place at theÂ San Diego Convention Center,Â Room 29B, and meeting registrants are encouraged to attend. You can watch ASM Live at microbeworld.org. Content will alsoÂ be archived immediately onÂ YouTubeÂ andÂ MicrobeWorldÂ for future viewing.
Principles of Virology, Fourth Edition
I am pleased to announce the publication by ASM Press of the fourth edition of our virology textbook, Principles of Virology.Â Two years in the making, this new edition is fully updated to represent the rapidly changing field of virology.
Principles of VirologyÂ hasÂ been written according to the authorsâ€™ philosophy that the best approach to teaching introductory virology is by emphasizing shared principles. Studying the phases of the viral reproductive cycle, illustrated with a set of representative viruses, provides an overview of the steps required to maintain these infectious agents in nature. Such knowledge cannot be acquired by learning a collection of facts about individual viruses. Consequently, the major goal of this book is to define and illustrate the basic principles of animal virus biology.
This edition is marked by a change in the author team. Our new member, Glenn Rall, has brought expertise in viral immunology and pathogenesis, pedagogical clarity, and down-to-earth humor to our work. Although no longer a coauthor, our colleague Lynn Enquist has continued to provide insight, advice, and comments on the chapters.
A major new feature is the inclusion of 26 video interviews with leading scientists who have made significant contributions to the field of virology. These in-depth interviewsÂ provide the background and thinking that went into the discoveries or observations connected to the concepts being taught in this text. Students will discover the personal stories and twists of fate that led the scientists to work with viruses and make their seminal discoveries.
Principles of Virology is ideal for teaching the strategies by which all viruses reproduce, spread within a host, and are maintained within populations. It is appropriate for undergraduate courses in virology and microbiology as well as graduate courses in virology and infectious diseases. I have used previous editions of this textbook to build my Columbia University virology course. Volume I: Molecular Biology covers the molecular biology of viral reproduction. Volume II: Pathogenesis & Control addresses the interplay between viruses and their host organisms. The two volumes can be used for separate courses or together in a single course. Each includes a unique appendix, glossary, and links to Internet resources such as websites, podcasts, and blogs.
PoV4 goes on sale the week of 24 August 2015. If you are thinking about using the book for your course,Â reserve your review copy today at http://www.asm.org/pov.
Watch the video below to hear authors Jane Flint, Vincent Racaniello, Glenn Rall, and Ann Skalka talk about the making of PoV 4.
Richard Elliott, virologist
Virologist Richard Elliott passed away on 5 June 2015. I have known Richard since 1979 and I would like to provide some personal recollections of this outstanding virologist.Â A summary of his work can be found at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research science blog.
I first met Richard in 1979 when he joined Peter Palese’s laboratory at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. We overlapped for only about a year but it was enough to get to know him: he was a hard-working, enthusiastic virologists and a good friend. We shared many beers in New York City. At the end of 1979 I went off to David Baltimore’s laboratory where in 1981 I produced an infectious DNA clone of poliovirus. It proved very difficult to make infectious DNAs of negative strand RNA viruses, and it was Richard who was the first to accomplish this feat in 1996Â for a virus with a segmented genome. This work was very important as it showed that infectious DNA clones were not limited to RNA viruses with monopartite genomes.
I remained in contact with Richard over the years but I did not see him in person until the 2010 meeting in Edinburgh of the Society for General Microbiology. The following year he joined me, Connor Bamford, Wendy Barclay, and Ron Fouchier for TWiV #177 recorded in Dublin. Schmallenberg virus had just emerged as a new pathogen of livestock, and he discussed his work on this virus.
I next saw Richard in a 2011 meeting of the Brazilian Society for Virology. When I arrived in Brazil it was quite hot, and I found Richard sitting by the pool, reviewing manuscripts in his bathing suit. I snapped a few photos of him and put them on Facebook. Later that evening he said his laboratory had asked why pornographic photos of him were on the internet – he was shirtless in my pictures (with Grant McFadden in the photo).
Richard visited New York in the summer of 2014 but we were unable to connect. Early this year Richard had agreed to join TWiV again for an episode from Glasgow. Sadly he became too ill to participate and died on the Friday before I traveled to Scotland. While there I briefly visited the Elliott lab at the University of Glasgow MRC-Centre for Virus Research, nearly a week after his death. I’m happy that I made the lab members smile:
I can still remember Richard telling me how to spell his name: two ls, two ts. Richard was an excellent virologist, mentor, and friend. I will miss him.
Update: Corrected to reflect the fact that Richard produced the first infectious DNA of a segmented (-) strand RNA virus.