C&T Round Up for August 2020

Issue 90 | August 28, 2020
8 min read
Capsid and Tail

Recapping the feature articles we published in August!

This week, we’re highlighting the three feature articles we published in August: two interviews and a recap of the two PHAVES events we hosted this month. Enjoy!

What’s New

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has awarded $15 Million to 33 organizations studying how to improve outcomes for cystic fibrosis patients battling infections, and three are phage therapy-based approaches! One is for research into phages that target Pseudomonas, another is engineering phages to target Burkholderia, and the third is developing a phage library to target each of the different strains of Burkholderia bacteria known.

Cystic fibrosisGrant funding newsPhage Therapy

Patrick de Jonge (Utrecht University, Netherlands) and colleagues published a new paper in iScience on AdsorpSeq, a new method for rapidly linking phages with hosts, which is based on sequencing phages physicially bound to host cell envelopes. They used AdsorpSeq to identify 26 new phage-host interactions in hospital wastewater.

Phage-host interactionsResearch paper

Cyclic-oligonucleotide-based anti-phage signalling systems (CBASS) share ancestry with an innate immune pathway in animals. Adi Millman (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel) and colleagues published a new paper in Nature Microbiology on CBASS diversity. They saw evidence of extensive gain and loss of CBASS systems, as well as shuffling of effector genes between systems, and they propose a new classification system.

Phage defense systemsResearch paper

Clay Crippen (University of Georgia) and colleagues published a new paper in Frontiers in Microbiology showing that phages can lead multidrug resistant Acinetobacter isolates to release intact antimicrobial resistance determinants in vitro.

Antibiotic resistancePhage-host interactionsResearch paper

Moran Meir (Tel Aviv University, Israel) and colleagues published a new paper in Science Advances showing that competition between social cheater viruses is driven by mechanistically different cheating strategies.

Phage-host interactionsResearch paper

Mpho Defney Maje (North-West University, South Africa) and colleagues published a new paper on pathogenic, antibiotic-resistant Vibrio species found in drinking water, along with their isolation of two lytic phages that could be exploited for control of these strains.

BiocontrolResearch paperWater treatment

A new episode of The Economist podcast investigated how viruses shape the world through interviews with Jennifer Doudna on CRISPR and Steffanie Strathdee on phage therapy.

CRISPRPhage TherapyPodcast

The Ibadan Bacteriophage Research Team (IBRT, one of 3 undergraduate phage research programs in sub-Saharan Africa) has started recruiting incoming clinical undergrads at the University of Ibadan for its SEA-PHAGES phage research program.

Undergraduate phage research

Latest Jobs

Two PhD student positions are open at KU Leuven in Belgium to unravel the role of protein acetylation in the interplay between phages and Pseudomonas bacteria. The project combines elements of research between the research groups of Prof. van Noort and Prof. Lavigne.
IPATH at UCSD is hiring two postdocs to work in the Pride Lab on translational projects relating to phage therapy.
The DNA Core at Delaware State University (Dover, Delaware) is hiring a Research Technician to study microbiomes, phages and phage application using molecular biological techniques and bioinformatics.
A biotechnology company in Orkney, Scotland is hiring a Laboratory Scientist to isolate phages and determine their specificity against various strains of bacteria.
Sentinel Environmental (Houston, Texas) is hiring a Research Scientist to develop novel microbiome engineering products (candidates that have experience working with phages are particularly encouraged to apply).
EMD Millipore Corporation (Bedford, Massachusetts) is hiring a Scientist III to design and execute virology testing and research projects, focused on viral (including phage) clearance and viral inactivation for biotherapeutic processing.
Dupont (Madison, Wisconsin) is hiring a Scientist to study lactic acid bacterial strains with the objective of developing new and improved starter cultures and food ingredients (competencies in understanding and managing phage in relation to starter culture design and manufacturing is essential).

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!

We’re excited to announce that we’ve been awarded a grant from the Mozilla Foundation in partnership with Phages for Global Health (PGH), a nonprofit organization that facilitates the application of antibacterial phage technology in the developing world.

This grant will support the digitization of PGH’s hands-on phage workshop teaching materials. During this time when PGH is unable to deliver in-person workshops due to the coronavirus pandemic, this online resource should be especially valuable, and we are grateful to the Mozilla Foundation for their timely support!

Phage Directory has started building a website for the course, and PGH’s workshop instructors will soon be depositing lecture videos, laboratory demonstration videos, experimental protocols, scientific papers on phage topics, and frequently asked questions. All of this material will be freely available to anyone in the world, and we are designing the website so that it will be more easily accessible to people in resource-limited countries where internet bandwidth is often reduced.

We plan to launch this online resource in December — stay tuned! (Read more in PGH’s newsletter here!)

Grant funding newsPhage trainingPhage workshops

The Indian ‘Society for Bacteriophage Research and Therapy’ (SBRT) is a platform for phage researchers to share their expertise & resources. SBRT is pleased to announce a webinar on “Phage Directory: Making the world’s phages accessible, manageable and shareable” by Dr. Jessica Sacher and Jan Zheng, founders of Phage Directory. The directory was created in 2017 with an aim to develop the technological infrastructure to support an ever-expanding global collection of well-characterized phages curated by phage researchers. The mission of this independent, dynamic two-person organization is to assist in phage therapy and biocontrol by empowering the global phage community to access, use and build upon the world’s phage knowledge.

Please join us on 03 September (Thursday), 2020 at 8.30 pm IST/11 am EDT. We look forward to your participation. Register here!

Phage TherapyVirtual Event

The next rendition of PHAVES will be a seminar with Dr. Sabrina Green, PhD on Sep 1 at 6 PM EST (GMT-4), 8 AM Sept 2 AEST. (Now at an Australia/NZ-friendly time!)

Sabrina will give a short talk called TAILORing Phage Therapy for the Gut and Beyond. Small group networking to follow! Register (& read more about her talk) here!

PHAVESVirtual Event

The organizers of VoM 2020, in collaboration with ISVM and Phage Directory, are excited to announce iVoM, a series of online lectures from prominent researchers studying viruses of microbes. These events will run monthly from September to February, in the lead-up to the in-person version of VoM, which will still take place July 2021.

The first iVoM event will be Sept. 17 at 11:00 AM GMT, under the theme “Ecology and Evolution of microbial viruses”. It will feature talks by:

  • Rob Edwards (Flinders University, Australia)
  • Ruth-Anne Sandaa (University of Bergen, Norway)
  • Colin Hill (University College Cork, Ireland)

Chairs:

  • Corina Brussaard (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Netherlands)
  • Debbie Lindell (Faculty of Biology at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Israel)

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

Virtual EventViruses of microbesiVoM

The next (and last) KITP Bacteriophage Forum Zoom session will be Sept 1 at noon Pacific time: Dr. Britt Koskella (UCB) will present on “Phages as drivers of bacterial diversity” followed by a general discussion session.

Virtual Event

I am an enthusiastic beginner of phage research and a PhD holder in virus immunodiagnostics. Since phage research is quite new in my country, Kenya, I am looking for mentorship from a senior phage researcher and placement in an active phage lab where I can learn phage techniques. Thanks! Email: [email protected]

Seeking research placement

C&T Round Up for August 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 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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