Microbe Talk: Microbiology on the move


Scientists are constantly pushing the frontiers of microbiology. These podcasts take an in-depth look at different microbiology topics, with scientists talking about their latest research.

Subscribe to the rss feed Subscribe to the rss feed »

    July 2011
    Modelling malaria

    Listen to the podcast »

    Mathematical modelling is a powerful tool for understanding how infectious diseases are transmitted and for finding solutions to help tackle them. Dr Déirdre Hollingsworth from Imperial College London explains how her group is modelling malaria transmission patterns in parts of Africa, and how this information can inform intervention policy. She tells us how mathematical models are constructed, how they can be communicated and that you don’t necessarily have to be maths genius to understand them.

    Dr Déirdre Hollingsworth's research pages »

    June 2011
    Microbes as climate engineers

    Listen to the podcast »

    Climate change is a hot topic and greenhouse gases are always in the news. But what role do micro-organisms play in this global challenge? Dr Dave Reay lifts the veil on the key role microbes play in influencing global climate and how they can become our allies in addressing human-induced climate change in the 21st century.

    oil capsules

    May 2011
    Obese yeasts: a booming industry

    Listen to the podcast »

    Oil-accumulating micro-organisms are being exploited by industry for their value in producing nutritional supplements – particularly for infants. Professor Colin Ratledge from the University of Hull explains why these ‘obese yeasts’ are such big business. We talk about how it all started, the growth in commercialization of microbial oils, and what the future might hold.

    barbequing outdoors

    April 2011
    Barbecue roulette

    Listen to the podcast »

    Warm summer days and outdoor cooking are known to be associated with an increased number of food poisoning cases. Professor Martin Adams from the University of Surrey discusses the risk factors involved and explains what micro-organisms are responsible. We talk about what people can do to minimize their chances of becoming ill and what the food industry is doing to reduce food-borne illness.

    Information on food-borne pathogens from the Health Protection Agency »

    Ray of light

    March 2011
    Using gas plasmas to fight infection

    Listen to the podcast »

    Plasma medicine is an exciting, emerging field of research at the interface of physics, chemistry and life sciences. Professor Michael Kong from Loughborough University describes the areas of medicine where cold gas plasmas could be used. He explains how their antimicrobial properties could make cold plasmas useful as disinfection agents, treatments for chronic wounds and how they could slow the spread – and possibly even reverse – antimicrobial resistance.

    Professor Michael Kong's research pages »

    Honey bee

    February 2011
    Fungal control of bee pests

    Listen to the podcast »

    Honey bee populations are under major threat from the varroa mite. Bee keepers are struggling to keep the mites under control as they become increasingly resistant to conventional pesticides. Here, Dr Dave Chandler from the University of Warwick talks about his investigations into using insect pathogenic fungi as a biological control method. He explains how this might work in practice and the challenges to overcome.

    Dr Dave Chandler's research pages »

    Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

    January 2011
    Viruses and cancer

    Listen to the podcast »

    Viruses are linked to about 15% of all cancers in the developed world and even more in the developing world. Professor David Blackbourn from the University of Birmingham tells us about the tricks these oncogenic viruses use to contribute to the development of certain cancers. He explains which groups of people may be more susceptible to developing virus-linked cancers and talks about the issues surrounding vaccine development for oncogenic viruses.

    For background information on viruses and cancer, see Cancer Research UK »

    Woman sneezing

    December 2010
    Swine flu: communicating with the public

    Listen to the podcast »

    The pandemic may be over but swine flu hasn't gone away. Professor Wendy Barclay from Imperial College London explains where last year’s H1N1 swine flu pandemic came from and the lessons we learnt from it. She gives her views on the response to the government's public communications campaign during the pandemic and the current state of influenza awareness in the UK.

    Download the briefing on H1N1 (2009) 'swine flu' »


    November 2010
    Functional foods: regulating a £200 million industry

    Listen to the podcast »

    Professor Bob Rastall from the University of Reading talks about pro- and prebiotics: what they are, what they do and why they're so popular. Find out how these products are regulated and the threats that legislation may pose to the functional food industry that is currently worth £200 million a year in the UK.

    Read the article in Microbiology Today »


    September 2010
    'Jailbreak' bacteria can trigger heart disease

    Listen to the podcast »

    Here we talk to Professor Howard Jenkinson from the University of Bristol and Dr Steve Kerrigan from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland about their research on oral streptococci that can ‘jailbreak’ into the circulation and increase the risk of heart disease.

    The team has discovered that once let loose in the bloodstream, Streptococcus bacteria can use a protein on their surface, called PadA, as a weapon to force platelets in the blood to bind together and form clots.

    Professor Howard Jenkinson presented this work at the SGM Autumn Meeting 2010 at the University of Nottingham.

    Read the press release »

    Older podcasts »

    Images: Thinkstock