March was an action-packed month! We had a great post about a new phage startup out of Shanghai, and great tutorial-like topics this month involving lab coding and lab automation, working with tabular data, and doing qPCR for phage therapy. If you find these useful, and you are itching to write something in this vein: we’d love to hear from you. Just email me (Jan: [email protected]) any time!
by Adam Yang
CreatiPhage is a new phage therapy startup in Shanghai, China, founded in 2021 to develop broad-spectrum phage cocktails and personalized phage therapies against different bacterial strains, including Enterococcus, Staphylococcus, Acinetobacter baumannii, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Escherichia coli. The company is working with Chinese medical institutions and provincial Municipal Health Commissions to provide phages through the Restrictive Medical Technology application pathway.
by Thomas Hunt
Thomas talks through the experience of automating lab procedures by learning to code — and the challenges of using them to manipulate liquid handling robots and automating assays. He points out the importance of reliability and repeatability with automation tools, and talks about coding and calibrating robots for performance. There’s also a ton of cool guides and pictures in this one to geek out about!
by Jan Zheng
My article is all about manipulating and analyzing tabular data in Google Sheets. This is a mini overview of using Google Sheets to analyze some Phage Directory data, and covers tricks like using VLOOKUP to combine sheets, and stringing together confusing formulas to generate values that can be used in pivot tables. I cover the limitations of these methods, and compare spreadsheets to databases.
by Jessica Sacher
Jessica’s post is all about using qPCR to track phages and bacteria during phage therapy. She talks about using it as a way to quantify the amount of target DNA, and how it changes over time, while also addressing the limitations. She also goes deep into developing qPCR standards, and provides a step-by-step on how she’s preparing and running qPCR on patient serum samples.
I’ve been digging through some of our really old posts, and we’ve had some great ones from the start. In issue number nine (!), from 2018, we had Q&A with BiomX about using phages to tweak the microbiome: Tweaking the microbiome with phages: Q&A with BiomX CBO Assaf Oron