As someone brand new to the microbiology field (I just hit 3 months of experience!) it was an honor and a pleasure to meet Dr. Elio Schaechter on Monday afternoon. At SDSU, we had a sneak peak at the inner workings of the podcast “This Week in Microbiology”, or as most listeners affectionately call it “TWiM”. Hosts Vincent Racaniello, Michael Schmitt, and Michelle Swanson interviewed Dr. Elio Schaechter (who usually also serves as a host on the show!) for their special 200th episode of the podcast.
As an avid listener of podcasts, it was really interesting not only to engage with the hosts and listen to really cool science and history, but also to take a sneak peek at the creative process and see firsthand the natural banter and expressiveness of the people behind the audio track.
Dr. Elio Schaechter’s (a professor here at SDSU) work focuses on microbiology—a distinguished 75 years’ worth of it. I won’t go into too much detail about what he covers in the podcast (you’ll have to listen to episode 200 for yourself!) but among them were stories of how Elio’s passion for microbes was ignited and anecdotes from the days of “just figure it out” science (one such story made me really appreciate the convenience of ordering media with the click of a button instead of what Elio went through to culture bacteria, trust me you’ll want to listen).
Among his many scientific and literary accomplishments, what Elio highlighted as some of his greatest achievements were his work on “TWiM” and his blog “Small Things Considered”. His work to engage students and readers and to highlight stories about the “small exceptional things” happening on the planet were both a delight to hear about.
It’s humbling and inspiring to hear about the trials and tribulations others go through to achieve success in their scientific career; it was not only an honor to sit in the room with someone who had helped lay the cornerstones of a topic I’m barely scratching the surface of, but also a heartwarming experience. I don’t think 5 minutes went by without a clever quip from Elio or a hearty laugh from him or someone else in the podcast.
Hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to engage with TWIM once again (ideally when I research and publish something cool enough to capture their attention! 😉) and catch more behind the scenes moments with science celebrities.
P.S.- For those still reading these posts and interested in learning more about our lab, check out TWiM Episode 159 where the hosts discuss Dwayne’s paper on Immunophage Synergy. In addition, more recent phage immunology work involving the Stanford Bollyky group is highlighted in Episode 198!