Apply for Phage Directory-VoM Writing Awards!

Issue 68 | March 20, 2020
7 min read
Capsid and Tail

Feel free to grab your favorite writing utensil and write a C&T article! Photo from Pexels

Attention student and postdoctoral phage biologists planning to attend Viruses of Microbes 2020 in Portugal this year! Phage Directory will be sponsoring two cash awards in collaboration with the Viruses of Microbes organizing committee, and applications are now open!

Also in this issue: $ for phage therapy trials and gut phage research, new insights into honey bee phages, soil phages, parasites of phages, and more!

What’s New

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation announced they will provide up to $5M to support Armata Pharmaceuticals in conducting a Phase 1b/2 clinical trial to test the safety and tolerability of phage therapy in Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in people living with cystic fibrosis.

Phage TherapyCystic FibrosisClinical Trials

Germán Bonilla-Rosso (University of Lausanne, Switzerland) and colleagues published a new paper in PNAS on the honey bee gut virome. They show that a diverse community of phages inhabits the bee gut, that these phages target core bee gut bacteria, belong to new viral genera, and have a large repertoire of unknown functions.

Gut viromeHoneybeesResearch

Zachary Barth (UC Berkeley) and colleagues published a new preprint showing their use of RNA sequencing to study how a family of viral satellites interacts with the phages they parasitize. They found that the satellites manipulate invading phage gene expression and also affect cholera toxin mobilization. See also this informative Twitter thread on the paper by Kimberley Seed, whose lab did the study.

Phage-host interactionsPreprint

Elizabeth Burgener (Stanford University) and colleagues published a new preprint on methods for extracting and detecting phage DNA from CF patient sputum.

Cystic FibrosisMethodsPreprint

Check out this episode of the Genome Insider podcast (by the Joint Genome Institute): Gary Trubl of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory talks about the wonders of viruses that live in soil and their potential impacts on greenhouse gas release.

PodcastSoil phages

Tommi Vatanen, a senior research fellow at the University of Auckland-based Liggins Institute in New Zealand, will explore the role of gut phages in obesity with a new $300k Marsden Fund grant.

Grant FundingGut Phageome
New JournalResearch

Latest Jobs

Research Staff
Sandia National Laboratories (Livermore, California) is seeking experienced research staff in systems biology with experience in one of: phage biology; synthetic biology and synthetic genomes; microbial-host and community interactions; microbial-materials interactions; bioinformatics, genome assembly and annotation.
Volunteer internship

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!

In memory of Merry Youle

Merry Youle, author of Thinking Like A Phage, Life in our Phage World, blogger emerita for Small Things Considered, and beloved member of the phage community, has sadly passed away.

In memory

Seeking interviewees

Dr. Minmin Yen, PhagePro

We’re looking to explore the whole ecosystem of diarrheal disease prevention in low- and middle-income countries through short video interviews. We would particularly welcome those who are working on developing phage products in resource-limited settings. We’d love to hear your stories. Please get in touch by email ([email protected]) if you’re interested in talking to us (we’re looking to conduct interviews before April 10). Thank you for giving us your precious time, and we appreciate hearing your insights!

Global HealthResource-limited settings

Seeking Mycobacterium phages

We have a cow we suspect has Johne’s disease (Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis infection). Does anyone have phages for this bacteria that might also infect M. smegmatis? Currently, there is no treatment; vaccine was discontinued in US and antibiotics would cost 50X the price of the cow. Normally you just cull the infected cattle and then need to test/monitor herd. So I figured being a phage researcher I might as well try… Please email [email protected].

Seeking phages

Monash-UCSD Bacteriophage Symposium: Postponed

Jeremy Barr, Monash University

Hello everyone, due to the COVID-19 situation we will be postponing the Monash-UCSD Bacteriophage Symposium that was to be held in Melbourne on the 30th of March. We will instead explore online options and will update about this at a later date. Our apologies to all attendees.

Apply for Phage Directory-VoM Writing Awards!

Profile Image
Phage microbiologist and co-founder of Phage Directory
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.

Profile Image
Product designer and co-founder of Phage Directory
Phage Directory, Atlanta, GA, United States

Bioinformatics, Data Science, UX Design, Full-stack Engineering

Jan Zheng is a co-founder of Phage Directory and has a Master of Human-Computer Interaction degree from Carnegie Mellon University, and a computer science and psychology background from UMBC.

For Phage Directory, he takes care of the product design, engineering, and business / operations aspects.

Attention student and postdoctoral phage biologists planning to attend Viruses of Microbes 2020 in Portugal this year! Phage Directory will be sponsoring two cash awards (350 Euro each) in collaboration with the Viruses of Microbes organizing committee, and applications are now open!

How to apply

First, make sure you submit an abstract and register for Viruses of Microbes before the deadline. Second, write a 500-750 word guest blog article for publication in Capsid & Tail, and submit it to us between now and June 30, 2020.

About Capsid & Tail

In case you’re new to this newsletter, which you’re reading right now, Capsid & Tail is a weekly phage community news digest published by Phage Directory. Its purpose is to build community among phage professionals and enthusiasts around the world, highlight diverse perspectives in the phage field, and keep everyone up to date on phage news, views, research and jobs. Its subscribers (835 as of March 2020) are made up of phage researchers and developers in academia, industry and government, healthcare professionals, investors, science communicators, and more.

Each Capsid & Tail issue features a blog-style article written by someone in the phage community. Check out PhD student Julie Callanan’s recent article on RNA phages as an example!

How will winners be selected?

If your article is approved for publication (meets our standards for quality), we’ll add your name to a draw. We’ll randomly draw two winning names, which we’ll announce at the Viruses of Microbes conference. And regardless of whether you win or not, your article will be featured in an issue of Capsid & Tail!

Who is eligible?

Any undergraduate student, graduate student, or postdoctoral researcher who is registered to attend (and present an abstract at) Viruses of Microbes 2020, and who submits a guest blog article that is approved for publication in Capsid & Tail by June 30, 2020.

Writing and submitting the blog article

  1. Read our Guest Writer Guide so you understand Capsid & Tail’s target audience (the guide also contains ideas on what to write about, and gives formatting/word limit specifications)

  2. As soon as you know you’re interested, send a quick email to [email protected].

  3. We’ll send you an invite to Notion, a free app you can use to draft, edit and submit your blog post, and where you can ask us questions as you go.

Why we’re doing this

We’re doing this to help alleviate financial strain on students and postdocs attending VoM, but we’re also doing it to help foster a community of phage professionals and enthusiasts that we’ve been working hard to build through Phage Directory. One way we do that is through publishing our weekly blog, and making sure it represents a wide variety of phage-related topics and perspectives. This means we aim to publish all Capsid & Tail submissions we receive through this call, provided they meet our standards for quality.

We can’t wait to see your submissions, to learn more about the work you do with phages, and to help you spread the word about the great things you’re doing!


Phage Directory-VoM Writing Award Details: here’s where you’ll find the most up-to-date award details page. Feel free to share!

Register for Viruses of Microbes 2020 here.

Capsid & Tail

Follow Capsid & Tail, the periodical that reports the latest news from the phage therapy and research community.

We send Phage Alerts to the community when doctors require phages to treat their patient’s infections. If you need phages, please email us.

Sign up for Phage Alerts

In collaboration with

Mary Ann Liebert PHAGE

Supported by

Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

Crossref Member Badge