Latest videos & public lectures

This Week in Virology: Vampire vax

Discussion of Griffiths et al. (2020) Nature Communications

Royal Society: ‘Bats, rabies and COVID-19’: can we stop animal-borne diseases?

National Geographic: Why bats aren’t as scary as you think

Symposium on management and surveillance of vampire bat rabies, April 2021

My talk starts at ~1 hour, 2 minutes

World Rabies Day Event 2020 – Jornada Sanitaria Virtual Celebración del Día mundial de Lucha Contra la Rabia (my talk starts ~1 hour, 50 minutes, en (broken) español)

TEDMED 2018 (and a TEDMED Q&A for a some extra background)

Older videos

Popular press coverage

New York Times, Forbes Magazine, Massive Science, Freethink, Popular Science, NPR, Wellcome Trust, The Conversation, University of Glasgow

Latest interviews & podcasts

Latest coverage in scientific journals

Jason Ladner write a Primer on our 2021 PLoS Biology paper describing how machine learning can identify human-infecting viruses from a genome sequence alone.

“However, even though we cannot predict exactly which virus will emerge next, we can, and should, work to better understand the field of contenders, and in this issue, Mollentze and colleagues describe a new tool for doing just this. Using machine learning models, they present an approach for prioritizing novel viruses for further characterization based solely on compositional signatures present within viral genomes”

Ladner JT (2021) Genomic signatures for predicting the zoonotic potential of novel viruses. PLoS Biol 19(9): e3001403.

Cara Brook wrote a News and Views on our 2019 Nature Ecology and Evolution paper demonstrating the viability of using spreadable vaccines to control vampire bat rabies 

“Bakker et al. present convincing, empirically validated evidence supporting spreadable vaccines as a viable and more effective intervention strategy to combat vampire bat rabies than has been previously offered by culling. As the authors acknowledge, source–sink metapopulation dynamics may complicate transmission patterns beyond those explored in their paper — though stochastic extinctions generated in small populations are more likely to favour rabies extirpation than to antagonize it.”

Nature published a Research Highlight covering our latest in Proceedings B, and first of hopefully many papers on rabies in Costa Rica. 

“These findings and other results suggest that variants of bat rabies virus flow between North America and South America through Central America. Because bats — and therefore the virus — often move into Costa Rica from other nations, the country’s sporadic culling of bats is unlikely to control the disease…”

Mark Woolhouse wrote a Perspective in Science on our 2018 Science paper showing how machine learning can be used to predict the animal origins of viruses based on their genome sequences. 

“In the early stages of a public health emergency, knowledge of reservoir host and/or vector species could be vital for effective outbreak management. In this situation, the stakes are higher and greater caution is appropriate.”

David Hayman wrote a Perspective in Science on our 2016 PNAS paper showing male-biased dispersal and spatial invasions of vampire bat rabies.

Challenging longitudinal field and laboratory studies will be essential. But if sufficient, appropriate data are collected, we will be able to predict the spatiotemporal dynamics of bat-virus systems and determine who is most at risk of infection and where and when.”