My science communication hero/heroine of the month – Dr. Kiki @drkiki

Been working on revising my lab’s web site and was looking for some videos of talks I have given online to post there.  And I discovered/rediscovered this video of an interview I did for Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour.  Here it is:


Now I know – this is over a year old. But I just watched the full video. Not so bad I think.

As many of you know, I like to talk.  And talk.  And talk.  But I would like to say that as an interviewer, Dr. Kiki is pretty frigging awesome.  Don’t know how she does it.  But I am going to post this video on the new lab page and point people to it if they want to know what my lab does and what I am interested in.

But enough about me.  I want to thank Dr. Kiki for this great interview by saying a little bit about her.  Or, well, her work in science communication.

As some of you may know, I listen to podcasts of TWIS – This Week in Science frequently on my bike rides to work.  And I really recommend anyone/everyone out there give it a whirl.  It is sort of like Science Friday but it is a bit edgier, a bit funnier, a bit goofier, and a bit sciencier (is that a word?)  Dr. Kiki and Justin on it are great and it is so good that I frequently sit outside my building listening to the end of a show if I take the short ride to work which is less than an hour.  So if you like Science – you really should check out the TWIS web site and find some way to listen such as what I do by subscribing to their podcasts at iTunes.

And I guess now I will be checking out “Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour” more after rewatching this video.  There are many many more shows at  I have not checked out as many as TWIS shows but the ones I have watched are great.

And if you want to follow her more directly check out her Blog: The Bird’s Brain, or her twitter feed  (@drkiki)  or her  Google+ feed.

Very proud that she is a UC Davis alum … and just want to say thanks to her for giving me a video I can share with others that says more about me and my lab than almost anything I have written.

More (you know you wanted it) on fecal transplants and the microbiome

Image from
I Heart Guts blog

There is an interesting mini review in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology’s September issue that may be of interest to some out there. It is entitled “Fecal Bacteriotherapy, Fecal Transplant, and the Microbiome” by Martin Floch and well, the title is indicative of the article.

Yes, the fecal transplant meme is here to stay. Sure, the cognoscenti already knew about fecal transplants. Perhaps they had read Tara Smith’s discussion of it in her Aetiology blog in 2007. Perhaps they had pondered it when they read the article from my lab on intestinal transplants. Perhaps they had seenthis discussion on MSNBC, or various other stories out there such asthis or this post from Angry by Choice. Or, maybe you just learned about it from Bora’s Carnival of Poop.

But the meme on fecal transplants really spread and many may have first heard about fecal transplants from Carl Zimmer’s New York Times article a month or so ago “How microbes defend and define us

In the article Zimmer discussed how Dr. Alexander Khoruts used a fecal transplant to treat a woman with a persistent and severe Clostridium infection. And Zimmer discusses how, thought such transplants had been done before, this was the first time that the microbial community was carefully surveyed before and after. (Note, my favorite part of the article is this part, where my friend Janet Jansson describes her reaction:

Two weeks after the transplant, the scientists analyzed the microbes again. Her husband’s microbes had taken over. “That community was able to function and cure her disease in a matter of days,” said Janet Jansson, a microbial ecologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a co-author of the paper. “I didn’t expect it to work. The project blew me away.”

Anyway Zimmer’s article, as with many of his, garnered a lot of response and got many people discussing the poop on fecal transplants.

Well, this issue of the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology may now be the biggest pile of information about fecal transplants around. That is because, in addition to this little review mentioned above, there are in fact three articles in this issue relating to fecal transplant. Alas, most of you out there will probably only be able to read the review since the other articles are behind a pay wall.

But the review is good. And I think this is not the last you will hear about this. (Though I note that, even though I think fecal transplants have some major potential, they seem to be being oversold a bit by many as some cure all — fodder for a future “Overselling the Microbiome Award” I am sure).

I will end with this line from the review which raises some other issues about fecal transplants:

Probably one of the major problems is to define how this therapy can become socially accepted. (Can you imagine the Food & Drug Administration discussion?)

Floch, M. (2010). Fecal Bacteriotherapy, Fecal Transplant, and the Microbiome Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 44 (8), 529-530 DOI: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3181e1d6e2

Grehan, M., Borody, T., Leis, S., Campbell, J., Mitchell, H., & Wettstein, A. (2010). Durable Alteration of the Colonic Microbiota by the Administration of Donor Fecal Flora Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 44 (8), 551-561 DOI: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3181e5d06b

Khoruts, A., Dicksved, J., Jansson, J., & Sadowsky, M. (2009). Changes in the Composition of the Human Fecal Microbiome After Bacteriotherapy for Recurrent Clostridium Difficile-associated Diarrhea Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology DOI: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3181c87e02

Yoon, S., & Brandt, L. (2010). Treatment of Refractory/Recurrent C. difficile-associated Disease by Donated Stool Transplanted Via Colonoscopy Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 44 (8), 562-566 DOI: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3181dac035