Did you know that Capsid & Tail (and many other aspects of our phage community) runs on the hard work of awesome, phage-enthusiastic volunteers across 9 time zones? This week I want to highlight some of the people who make our beloved community run, and some of the work they’ve done lately.
Phage companies or labs, if you’re ever looking for upbeat, self-motivated, reliable team players who also happen to work with phages, you cannot go wrong with any of these star individuals! Feel free to email me anytime and I’ll gladly tell you why.
- Atif Khan, phage scientist at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in India. Atif is our ‘link-hunter’ — every week when it’s time to publish Capsid & Tail, I’m delighted to see a whole bunch of phage papers and jobs that Atif has collected. Because of Atif, our pipeline is always bursting with important findings, news and opportunities.
- Stephanie Lynch, a postdoc in the Iredell Lab working on launching Phage Australia (fun fact: after working together for years online through Phage Directory, we moved to Sydney around the same time, finally meeting in person, to work on this project!). Steph helps us write the ‘blurbs’ you see in the What’s New, Jobs and Community sections of Capsid & Tail.
- Jessica Neubauer is an MSc student at University of Vienna. Every week, she takes what we post here in Capsid and makes sure it appears on Twitter and LinkedIn too! She’s also our go-to conference media person! She attended & wrote about the 4th Bacteriophage Summit, ECCMID (’Clinical microbiology meets phage at this year’s ECCMID’), and soon, we’ll publish her write-up on Phage Futures 2022!
- Madhav Madurantakam Royam is a PhD student at Warwick University. He recently conducted and wrote up two excellent in-depth interviews with phage field leaders: Phage therapy at the Queen Astrid Military Hospital: a conversation with Jean-Paul Pirnay and Intralytix, then and now: a conversation with Sandro Sulakvelidze. He also attended Phage Futures as one of our media assistants this year (stay tuned for his write-up, soon to come out!).
- Sayde Perry, an undergraduate student at Pomona College, helps keep the community in the know about opportunities and resources. She wrote about the Phage Directory Slack Community and just last month she took the initiative to create Phage Calendar, which you can subscribe to so you don’t miss phage events and deadlines! (Subscribe to the Google calendar here, or add it to your iCal with this .ics file.
- Kyle Jackson, PhD student at McMaster University, covers biotech for C&T! This year he wrote Producing phages consistently: then and now, an interview with Frenk Smrekar from JAFRAL. His article put phage GMP manufacturing into historical context, and helped us understand the important work JAFRAL is doing to make GMP phages for trials and treatments.
- Katharine Muscat, PhD student at University of Sydney, has done a great job helping us launch and manage our Instill platform for peer-peer feedback! Earlier this year she wrote an update on the Instill project. (It was great to meet her in person for the first time earlier this year too!)
There are many more volunteers who’ve helped us grow this community to what it is! A thousand thanks also to:
A giant THANK YOU to all of you!!
Volunteer with us! (Even if you’re super busy)
Busy scientists, you are welcome! I like to say that the great thing about volunteering with us is that you can pop in and out as your schedule permits. You can try your hand at science communication and community building, or do something small to strengthen or grow the phage community, even if you only have a little spare time or a volatile schedule.
For example, we’ve had volunteers help out for a season (or even for just one project), then move back out to focus on their lab work for half a year or even a year, then reappear and take on a project when they have time. We love this! We add volunteers to a special slack channel where they can see new projects as they come in, and choose to take something on when they can.
If you think there’s something you’d like to do to help grow the phage community, please email me and let me know what sparks your interest!