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Joe Grove
Worked at University College London
Attended University of Birmingham
Lives in London
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Joe Grove

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Can anyone recommend a cheap lab label printer, I'm trying to get my house in order….
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Joe Grove

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At long last the BBC does a documentary on virus infection; it's exciting to see all the research articles bought to life with some amazing animation!
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Shiver me timbers!
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Reading a comic biography of the Nobel physicist Richard Feynman. It's certainly putting a spring in my scientific step!
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Viruses in the news again; combined HIV therapy pill.
A new once-a-day pill which combines four HIV drugs into a single daily treatment is safe and effective, according to a study.
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Joe Grove

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Science have released a H5N1 special to accompany the publication of the Fouchier influenza study. Now that both papers are out let's hope the conversation can move on from doomsday viruses and such.
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Thanks!  Now commented at http://www.scoop.it/t/virology-news/
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Joe Grove

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For any of you with red/green 3D glasses. Here's an image I took with a scanning electron microscope of some HeLa cells. Pretty cool!
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Journalists and Scientists; professionally gullible?

The excellent NPR radio show/podcast This American Life has been forced to retract one of their most popular broadcasts.

It turns out that Mike Daisey's account of visiting factories making Apple products in China and speaking to underage and injured workers is factually incorrect. He mixed his actual experiences in China with news stories and secondhand anecdotes to create an emotionally arresting theatrical monologue, which has reignited the discussion over exploitative labor.

This American Life have apologised for not fact checking thoroughly enough and have devoted an episode to discussing the episode retraction.

This whole scenario is much like the retraction of a scientific paper, for example the now discredited Science article linking a mouse retrovirus (XMRV) with chronic fatigue syndrome (http://tinyurl.com/87cxebm).

Whereas journalists use fact checking to eliminate dubious or fabricated stories, scientists rely on the peer review process to smell a rat. However, these processes can be undermined from time to time because ultimately scientists and investigative journalists are professionally gullible.

I observe an unspoken agreement with other scientists that I will use careful investigation to reveal a truth about the world and then report it as transparently as possible. In return I will expect that other scientists do the same, such that I can consider their work at face value. However, this leaves science vulnerable to fraudsters from within (http://tinyurl.com/75w8psy).

Most of the time charlatans and con-artists are not sophisticated enough to beat the fact-checking processes but every now and then one will get through. Thankfully, someone, somewhere will often notice a discrepancy or an inconsistency and sooner or later the house of cards will fall.

Maybe we would do well to remember the motto of the Royal Society from time to time.

"Nullius in verba" (Take nobody's word for it)
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Joe Grove

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Going to the Olympics, I'm so excited!
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The Journal of Cell Biology are making some welcome changes to their manuscript review process, let's hope these kinds of policies can be adopted across the board.
Abstract There is a troubling trend in scientific publishing for manuscripts to undergo multiple, often lengthy, rounds of review, resulting in significant delays to publication. JCB is announcing new...
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I've just come back from the first morning of the Royal Society meeting on pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza. Some excellent overviews of the virus, plus presentations from the two principle investigators on the recent ferret transmission studies, Yoshihiro Kawaoka and Ron Fouchier.

Professor Kawaoka was able to talk in full about his findings on the role of hemagglutinin in mammalian transmission of H5 viruses.

They created a library of H5 mutant viruses and then screened for their ability to bind to the specific receptor (α2,6 - sialic acid) found in the upper respiratory tract of mammals. To perform the ferret transmission studies they then created a re-assortment of the recent H1N1 2009 pandemic flu such that it carried a selected mutant H5 (instead of H1).

They passaged this virus in ferrets and eventually observed reasonable aerosol transmission. 4 mutations were mapped to the HA gene; N224K, N226L, N158D and T318I. The 224 and 226 mutations altered receptor binding. However, these changes also destabilized the fusion activity of HA, the T318I mutation compensated for this deficiency. The N128D mutation removes a glycosylation site and is thought to contribute to both receptor binding and fusion stability.

Critically, in these experiments the reassorted H5N1 virus did not transmit as readily as H1N1 2009 and did not kill any ferrets, or make them particularly ill for that matter.

Unfortunately Ron Fouchier remains gagged by the Dutch government. He essentially gave the same presentation discussed by +Vincent Racaniello at virology blog. He observed H5N1 avian influenza adapted to aerosol transmission between ferrets, but it was only lethal when large amounts were artificially introduced into the nose or throat of the animals. He could not state the mutations. Although he did reveal that they have found critical mutations in genes other than HA.

It's great that the data is seeing the light of day. Just a shame I'm missing the rest of the discussion on the politics and ethics of such research, alas the electron microscope is calling me.........
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This a slightly disappointing result; its seems the Fouchier Flu paper will only be partially published. Particularly disappointing for me as I'm seeing him speak tomorrow at the Royal Society - I was hoping he would spill the beans, but it would appear that some beans will remain resolutely stuck to the inside of the tin, so to speak.
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Have him in circles
98 people
Michelle Loren's profile photo
Louis Hill (obiwanadobe)'s profile photo
Arsalan Chalid's profile photo
Enzo Life Sciences's profile photo
Viromania's profile photo
Stephannie Banini's profile photo
kevin adela's profile photo
Rachel McCauley's profile photo
Jennifer Matamoros's profile photo
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  • University College London
    Scientist
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Worcester, UK - Birmingham, UK - Leamington Spa, UK
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I am a scientist.....
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  • University of Birmingham
    Virology PhD, 2005 - 2009
  • University of Warwick
    Virology BSc, 1999 - 2004
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