The Pub of Pubs
Best paired with:
A nice, sipping beverage that lasts a long time under usual conditions. Extra cherries because we are adults.
Ngari is thought to be the child virus of a reassortment event between Bunyamwera and Batai. When two viruses love each other very, very much...
Anyway, we compared the way these three grew in the lab and showed they were pretty much the same. So that apple didn't fall far from the tree.
In the meantime, we noticed that after 30 days (that's a long time, y'all), there was still a lot of detectable RNA so we were like - what the hell, let's see if it grows.
They grew. So these suckers last a long time in acellular environments, which means more hypotheses to test!
Pel-a-ton, gently used
Inspired by this tweet: Aviation Gin and sugar free pink lemonade bc were trying to shed our quarantine 15.
Reduced turnaround times through multi-sectoral collaboration during the first surge of SARS-CoV-2 in Louisiana, March-April 2020
This is a pre-print that outlines how we set up a COVID testing lab in March, and a model depicting the impact on area hospitals. We tested over 4k individuals in 10 weeks and saved the hospitals A TON of PPE.
I only had like 1 nervous breakdown and I may have hidden under a desk in the lab at some point.
Spritz Valley Fever
August 7, 2020
Aperol with a very cold, very bubbly something.
Theoretical risk of genetic reassortment should not impede development of live, attenuated Rift Valley fever (RVF) vaccines commentary on the draft WHO RVF Target Product Profile
This was in response to a WHO opinion that live attenuated vaccine candidates and the conclusions include "the hypothetical risks of reassortment do not outweigh the benefits of vaccination and should not impede acceptance of multiple promising new vaccines in development." Access here.
July 30, 2020
A nice thirst quencher because it was hot and humid. And I'm from Louisiana, so that's saying something.
Current vector research challenges in the greater Mekong subregion for dengue, Malaria, and Other Vector-Borne Diseases: A report from a multisectoral workshop March 2019
Proceedings from an NIH-supported workshop focused on arbovirses and other vector-borne diseases.
Lots of authors on this one and we covered a myriad of topics so I got to learn stuff.
Also, I discovered there is a place that is more humid than Louisiana and it is Cambodia.
June 15, 2020
Like your grandma used to drink. In an overly frilly glass on the porch when everybody else is drinking cheap beer. It's got peach schnaaps in it.
Age-structured vectorial capacity reveals timing, not magnitude of within-mosquito dynamics is critical for arbovirus fitness assessment
In this work - which took a long, long time - we describe how vector competence shouldn't be measured only in magnitude, but also in terms of age and timing. Those 10% competent systems? Might not be as insignificant as we thought. Unless we're talking about freezer room, then this took up a significant amount of space.
In summary: old ladies don't bite and that means something.
Look and ye shall find
April 20, 2020
Tequila and sprite with lots of ice
Identification of Bunyamwera and Possible Other Orthobunyavirus Infections and Disease in Cattle during a Rift Valley Fever Outbreak in Rwanda in 2018
I'm SUPER SUPER excited about this one. Basically, there was an outbreak of suspected Rift Valley Fever virus in cattle in Rwanda and we thought - hey, let's go fishing based on this hypothesis we had about maybe there were Othobunyairuses in Rwanda.
Guess what? THERE ARE ORTHOBUNYAVIRUSES IN RWANDA!
May 15, 202
Short Report: Asymptomatic Zika virus infections with low viral loads not likely to establish transmission in New Orleans Aedes populations
We tested mosquitos from New Orleans to see if they could transmit Zika from low viral doses.
In this paper, my amazing collaborator and I investigate some interesting dynamics of the chikungunya outbreak in Colombia. Turns out, the tortoise and the hare is a ubiquitously applicable folk tale.
Don't drink alone
The pairing for this is club soda with lime, mostly because the work for this was done before noon on most days.
This paper came together in a weird series of events. It started out as a single author paper when I first got my R01 and - as anyone in academia will tell you - assistant professors have no time for anything. So it kind of stitched itself together.
This paper examines temperature effects on vector competence in the context of mosquito surveillance. This means mosquito infection, not transmission, because mosquito pools are tested as whole mosquitoes. Did some computational stuff to make my point, which i actually enjoyed because... nerd.
When answering reviewers' comments, my lab tech came up with some ideas and then did all the work, which got him authorship. Read here.
Porter Rican Strain
This paper needs a beer with a bit of body to it.
Who's excited about mouse testicles? You know you are!
Oh, mouse semen. Two words I never thought to use, let alone be excited about.
We infected mice with Zika back before Zika was a hot topic. But as we were and still are a relatively small lab, it took us considerably longer to get our results out to the public. Five centuries later, we have this cool paper where we infect mice with Zika and watch it go to the tissues. There was Zika in the brains, Zika in the retina, Zika in the testicles, Zika in the semen... The picture on the right there is mouse semen so you now can say that you've not only seen, but said in your head "mouse semen." You're welcome.
This was a cool collaboration with lots of folks. Paper can be read here.
The Mean IPA
Needs a beer right down the middle. Not too hoppy, though.
Way to be average!
In this paper, we talked about this thing called the extrinsic incubation period (EIP). It's the time (in days) it takes for a virus to be drunk by the mosquito (via one of you with virus in your blood), replicate in the mosquito (more virus), and then get through the mosquito and back out into a new person. It depends on a lot of things, including which virus, which mosquito, temperature... Measuring it is not easy in the lab. You try salivating mosquitoes. We use a proxy sometimes of legs being infected.
In any case, no two labs do it the same, and that's ok. You do you. But what this does mean is sometimes when you're trying to compare across studies to see which virus really is the baddest of the bad viruses, it gets tricky. Enter the EIP50. This is the time it takes for 50% of exposed mosquitoes to have a disseminated infection (if we're proxying via legs) or transmit (salivate away!). And it can be got by a simple bit of curve fitting. Curves are in.
We propose that you sample mosquitoes at least 3 (ideally, 4) times over the course of said EIP and then fit this nice little sigmoid curve (via a logistic distribution -- or gamma distribution, if you really feel inclined) and solve for the value of x (that would be time) at y=50%. Not complicated really. But awesome.
Also, the title is super fancy. Read it here.
Cutting the grass beer
We made mosquitoes hot. When we get hot here, we drink what we down in the south refer to as cutting-the-grass-beer, a light lager.
Mosquitoes get hot, too, y'all
In this episode of "random crap I can now say at a party," we will have learned that temperature plays a role not only in how long mosquitoes live, but whether that matters for virus taking shelter in said mosquito. An interesting result here was that at lower temperatures, mosquitoes live longer, and having the virus in the mosquito makes it live loooonnggger. You can read the PubMed entry here.
A blond ale for this mathy paper, so of course most people assume all the equations are correct.
Perhaps the mostly timely thing I've ever been involved with - myself and some pretty awesome collaborators sent a paper to PLoS ONE LAST DECEMBER (just published this month) for this math model showing probabilities of transmission of dengue virus in Miami based on census data and traffic patterns. Since dengue and Zika share a common mosquito transmission system, the results, in my opinion, are comparable to what we'd expect for Zika. We did not identify the exact neighborhood because census tracts (tracks?) don't work on neighborhoods, but it's still a really cool story. Don't be scared of the equations!
What the figure to the right demonstrates is that the census tract where this neighborhood is located has a relatively high probability of transmission after introduction. Good stuff. Read here.
Alcohol dependent enhancement
A nice straight-forward paper requiring only as much attention as the people watching allows. Kinda like when I drink the house chardonnay.
I was worried the Olympics were going to be a full on Zika media frenzy and I would be forced to drink my way through commentary. Good news for the world and my liver, it was not. However, as much as I respect and condone Hope Solo's reservations about participating because she wants to start a family, it was kinda funny when the crowd yelled "Zika!" when she kicked the ball. Insensitivie, but kinda funny.
Anyway, we got this paper into Journal of Infectious Diseases, which is a pretty bad-ass journal. And this paper shows that antibody responses raised to Zika do have the potential to enhance dengue-2 infection in vitro. When we submitted, nobody else had published this, but of course during the process somebody else did. Still, first two papers to show this phenomenon- not too shabby. It should be noted that the correlation of in vitro enhancement results to human disease propensity is a muddy, muddy thing and deserves very targeted studies.
Just cause, a malt lager.
I had three papers accepted last week! That's pretty damn awesome; except so much other science related bullshit has happened over the last couple of week that emotionally, it was a wash. SCIENCE IS A CRUEL MISTRESS.
Most exciting for me is our first Zika research paper (and the only one currently available to read). It isn't the most exciting and it certainly isn't the one I'm frothing at the mouth to talk about (there's one currently under review and one in preparation!!!), but still. It's a very simple story about how a dengue-derived monoclonal antibody (4G2) enhances Zika virus in vito. And as 4G2 is pretty pan-flavi, it does raise the question of whether previous infections with flaviviruses other than DENV might also enhance Zikv replication. Whether this in vitro phenomenon has a clinical outcomes correlate remains to be seen. But, with all the focus on quickly producing vaccines, it's something that needs to be considered. Link to the paper here.
Beer of Unknown Origin
This took a lot of work by the lead author and myself, requiring a nice strong ale.
Working with some buddies of mine (I have buddies), we retro-analyzed patient serum that was part of a different but totally cool study to see if the people who didn't have 1) Lassa, 2) malaria, 3) myriad of other fever causing things might have, in fact, been exposed to dengue. This was all pre-Ebola. Turns out, some of them had evidence of exposure to dengue.
And that, ladies and gentlement, is readable here.
A nice snobby cabernet, because I was pretty pleased with myself when I got this out.
Just one more example of why size doesn't matter, I review what we know and (mostly) don't know about Zika transmission. I point out that while the transmission systems of dengue and chikungunya are really similar to that of Zika, it would be a mistake to assume we can apply our knowledge base regarding these better characterized viruses to a relatively uncharacterized virus. Link here.
Also, I made a map in R, which is always fun.
Um. I didn't die.
This was a labor of speed. Long story that involved a small fortune spent on coffee. But we were asked to contribute to a special edition to update the community on the state of dengue vaccines. Specifically, we were to discuss the role of vector transmission and potential control on dengue vaccine efforts and thus was pulled kicking and screaming from my brain: A role for vector control in dengue vaccine programs. The dengue vaccines are imperfect -- all of them thus far. So there will be vaccine escape or inefficacy and thus transmission. We describe several situations of vaccine efficacy and vector control regimens to see what would happen to dengue transmsision.
One day I'll write a blog post about the dengue vaccine. But I'll need something stronger than coffee.
Just cause it was different and summer, a nice IPA.
This was a fun exercise. I collaborated with some cool people here at LSU who work with Rickettsia and fleas and sometimes ticks. I'm not a big fan of ticks - they are creepy. Especially as nymphs... And no matter how many times you count them, you're always worried you missed one and you'll itch for days.
Anywho - this paper looked at co-feeding and the possibility that it could act as a maintenance system. Cool data to apply to a theoretical model. Paper published in Molecular Ecology by Brown, et al.
A pinot noir, because I only drink it when other people offer it to me.
I was asked to write an editorial for the Journal of Infectious Diseases regarding this really cool paper by James Whitehorn, et al. where they demonstrated transmission from viremic individuals to Ae. albopictus. This is interesting because Ae. albopictus doesn't usually get much credit in dengue transmission.
Maybe that's good from the mosquito's standpoint- less people want to eradicate you? Likely not, since these mosquitoes bite you and then, when you swat them away, take it as a personal challenge to exsanguinate you. Anyway, the Whitehorn paper is super worth reading. My editorial is... an editorial. But I'm proud of it, hence, it's on the blog.
Because I raised red flags everywhere.
An Amber Ale
A tale of two mosquitoes and two genotypes. It was the best of assumptions, it was the worst of assumptions... You get it.
In this paper, I put together a rather extensive collection of data to determine whether the assumptions surrounding CHIKV transmission were doing us a disservice. I won't spoil the ending for you, but he didn't get the girl. Published at PLoS One.
We also hit home the message (again) that vector competence should be thought of as a a process and not a static estimate.
The image to the right is from a talk I gave in October 2015 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Good meeting. Lots of people. Wear comfy shoes.
Because this is one of my favorite papers I've written.
Because it's not from that one region in France
We were interested in assessing the potential for variability in human viremia profiles to alter the probbility that dengue would emerge in a naive population. We found that by making the assumption of average viremia over the entirety of the human infectious period underestimated the likelihood of emergence, but that emergence potential was also very sensitive to the contact rate between the human and mosquito populations.