Launch of PhageCast: Bringing the Latest in Bacteriophage Research to Your Ears

Issue 222 | May 5, 2023
10 min read
Capsid and Tail

Want to hear Joana Azeredo talk about phage activity against biofilms? Or Martin Loessner speaking about L-forms and endolysins? How to set up an Appleman´s protocol with Ben Burrowes? This week a group of PhD students in the Azeredo Lab in Portugal discuss the launch of their new phage podcast: PhageCast!

What’s New

Evelien Adriaenssens wrote a piece for The Conversation on how thousands of phages (most of them unknown!) have been found in baby poo! The original study was done by a collaborative team from Denmark, Canada and France. And they even made an interactive version called the “atlas of infant gut DNA virus diversity”, and named the unknown virus families (200+) after the babies!

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Infant gutVirome

Toronto clinician Dr. Greg German: reports the first research use of a phage cocktail to treat an infection in Canada!

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MilestonePhage therapy

This article by Mart Krupovic and colleagues discusses the origin of the eukaryotic cell and the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA). They reconstructed the LECA virus repertoire and found that the origin of the LECA virome can be traced back to a small set of phages.

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Research paperVirome

Y. Emre Gencay and colleagues have developed engineered phages with CRISPR-Cas machinery to reduce E. coli in mice. The phages, called SNIPR001, were well tolerated in mouse models and minipigs, and out-competed their ancestral wild-type phages in coculture experiments. SNIPR001 is in clinical development and may benefit hematological cancer patients.

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CRISPRPhage therapy

Matthew C Johnson and colleagues have shown that Pseudomonas aeruginosa exhibits the greatest diversity of anti-phage systems among 30 species. They identified two core defense hotspot loci (cDHS1 and cDHS2) where many anti-phage immune systems are encoded. These regions could simplify immune system discovery and represent popular landing spots for mobile genetic elements carrying anti-phage systems.

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Research paperAnti-phage defense

Latest Jobs

InternshipPhage screening
Research Internship at Balgrist University: This full-time remunerated internship entails generating large scale datasets for phage activity against large collections of pathogenic bacteria, validating assays to best predict therapeutic effects, and refine the R&D process for phage selection. The candidate will be involved in an international network of researchers as part of the VIROINF project.
Post DocFulbright
Fulbright Israel is offering up to eight fellowships to U.S. postdoctoral scholars who seek to pursue research in one of Israel’s academic institutions. The grants are open to researchers in all academic disciplines and support programs of research in Israel for up to 20 months. Candidates must be hosted by an accredited Israeli institution of higher education. The application deadline is Wednesday, September 15, 2023.

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!

The Phage Therapy Today podcast interviewed Johan Wikstroem, the CEO of, about his story in transitioning from tech to biotech and founding a phage therapy company with the goal of treating his own M. abscessus infection and helping others with similar conditions. In the episode “The Ultimate Precision Medicine Story,” Wikstroem discusses the challenges and successes in his journey.

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Phage therapyPodcast

Kids Research (part of Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network) is hosting a webinar on May 19, 2023 at 2:00 PM AEST on phage therapy entitled “Phage Therapy in Australia: STAMPing out problematic infections”. The webinar will be presented by Phage Australia and local experts, including Ameneh Khatami, Jon Iredell, Stephanie Lynch, Tony Lai, Kylie Sangalang, Rachael Sloane, and will cover the science behind phage therapy, clinical eligibility, and practical nursing perspectives.

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Clinical TrialWebinarPhage therapy

From Sabrina Green via Twitter: Check out this documentary on #phage therapy in Belgium and Portugal. It is in Portuguese but interviews mostly in English.

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DocumentaryPhage therapy

The 2023 Symposium on New Concepts in Prokaryotic Virus-host Interactions (October 2-4, 2023) will bring together researchers studying new concepts and mechanisms in phage biology, with topics including viral cell biology, anti-viral defenses, and viral impact on microbial communities.

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Phage biologySymposium

Our volunteer Atif Khan was selected for the FEMS #OnThisDay volunteer team. The #OnThisDayteam aims to assemble a collection of historically important microbiology events for every single day of the year. These events could be interesting discoveries, the dates of seminal scientific publications, the important moments in the lives of famous microbiologists, or anything that would pique the interest of the microbiology community! Great job Atif!

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Launch of PhageCast: Bringing the Latest in Bacteriophage Research to Your Ears

Profile Image
PhagoMed Biopharma GmbH, Vienna, Austria
Twitter @DavidSaezMo

David Saez is a researcher at PhagoMed, now moving to the CEB/Uminho in Portugal to start a PhD. He gathered experience around different labs in Europe before joining PhagoMed. He is a passionate about phages and phage-based products and thrilled to see the phage communitiy and knowledge grow.

What is PhageCast?

PhageCast is a new podcast where you can hear phage science! We feature interviews with bacteriophage researchers driving this exciting field forward!

We wanna help you stay up-to-date on the hottest topics in bacteriophage research: our expert guests will provide you with the latest insights and discoveries.

But we didn’t want to stop there, since we all have a (normally exciting) personal life aside from science, so we like our guests to share their personal experiences and career advice: Whether you’re a seasoned researcher or just starting out in the field, PhageCast has something for you!

Who are we? How this project started

The minds behind PhageCast are David Saez, Maria Sequeira Lopes, and Alexandre Lima. We are all PhD students in the Azeredo Lab in Portugal. The whole idea came together in small bites:

(David) I had considered the idea before but always backed down due to the amount of work it would take until I talked to Maria about it. Then she was like: “It’s such a great idea! We really have to do it!!” and Alex also joined the team as the IT expert: “I can help with the editing guys! It will be so cool!”

So we could not find a reason not to do it anymore and started it off!

Starting a Podcast is not easy and requires preparation, recording and then editing. Although we found the right balance of work between us and are running smoothly, learning on the go.

(Maria) We are all friends working in the same lab, so it’s easy to share a paper or a possible person that we can interview.

(Alex) Plus it’s so much fun to listen to it afterwards!

Why are we doing this? Our mission.

The three of us love podcasts. There is nothing like letting the knowledge get to your ears. It’s the simplest way to get new information into our brains. We many times searched for a Phage Science podcast where we could learn while going for a walk, driving home, or cooking, but could not find one that would fit our interests. So we thought, well we might as well just do it ourselves!

Moreover, it allows us to go beyond what the articles describe: direct communication with the authors allowed us to better understand the concepts behind the work and their inspiration.

What can you expect? Phage science meets life advice. Whom is this podcast for?

We believe what we do can be interesting for any researcher interested in phages or phage-related issues. We keep this in mind and try to go deep enough into the science so that any researcher listening can still get something valuable and learn something. (e.g. how to think of phage-antibiotic combinations, endolysin resistances, how to think about setting up the Appleman’s protocol, hypothetical gene discovery… and much more!)

We do believe that early-stage researchers are the ones who would enjoy listening to this the most, especially because we are kind of biased, and most of the advice we are asking for are directed to them (and us): how to navigate successfully your PhD, your life in science, how to deal with failure.

A sneak peek into the podcast

Do you wanna hear Joana Azeredo talk about phage activity against biofilms? Or Martin Loessner speaking about L-forms and endolysins? How to set up an Appleman´s protocol with Ben Burrowes? Or Rob Lavigne explaining how he tackles the phage genomic dark matter discovery?

You will hear phage experts’ bits of advice towards navigating your life: “The PhD can be the best time of your life”, “avoid competition”, or “do not let nay-sayers discourage you”, “…. and this helps separate your personal worth from the science…”, “celebrate small wins…”.

We will probably make you think (and laugh).

  • Joana Azeredo did not know her social media when we asked her where people could find out about her.
  • Martin Loessner confessed he typed his name on ChatGPT.
  • Ben Burrowes told us about his life adventure moving from the UK to the US to make a career in science.
  • Rob Lavigne doesn’t like TikTok yet!

Much more is coming!

Wanna participate?

Excited? We are as well! Our guests have been amazing so far and we have had a blast!

We would love to hear about you, if you have research and life experiences you want to share. Reach out to us at [email protected] and we will be more than happy to have a conversation with you!

How to Listen

We will publish one episode per month, around 30-40 mins where you can hear about both the science and the personal life of many researchers!

Tune in to PhageCast today and join the conversation.

You can listen to PhageCast on Spotify, Apple or Google Podcasts by searching for “PhageCast”.

You can also find more about us on our webpage!

Listen to us on Spotify:

Have a Phagetastic day and hope to hear from you soon!

Capsid & Tail

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In collaboration with

Mary Ann Liebert PHAGE

Supported by

Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

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