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Breakthrough Science

Genome Sequencing for Pathogen Discovery – Joseph DeRisi (UCSF, HHMI)

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For decades, a strange neurological disease has plagued snakes around the world. The snakes tie themselves into knots, exhibit strange behaviors, and eventually die. In this talk, Dr. Joseph DeRisi describes how his lab uncovered the mysterious agent responsible for this disease, which turned out to be an ancient arenavirus.

About the speaker:
Joseph DeRisi, PhD., is a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, chair of the department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Dr. DeRisi was one of the early pioneers of DNA microarray technology and whole genome expression profiling and is nationally recognized for his efforts to make this technology accessible and freely available. His lab has identified putative disease-causing viruses in a wide variety of animals, including humans. Dr. DeRisi was named a MacArthur fellow in 2004, and was awarded the Heinz Award in 2008 and the John J. Carty Award from the National Academy of Sciences in 2014.

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Breakthrough Science

A Disease’s Guide to World Domination

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Get 3 weeks of free access to CuriosityStream by visiting and using the promo code “minute”

There’s something surprising that helps determine how damaging a disease is: distance.

Thanks also to our Patreon patrons and our YouTube sponsors.

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To learn more, start your googling with these keywords:
Direct transmission: occurs when a pathogen is transmitted to a new host by physical or close contact
Virulence: the degree of damage a pathogen causes its host
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Credits (and Twitter handles):
Script Writer: Kate Yoshida (@KateYoshida)
Script Editor: Alex Reich (@alexhreich)
Video Illustrator: Ever Salazar (@eversalazar)
Video Director: Kate Yoshida (@KateYoshida)
Video Narrator: Kate Yoshida (@KateYoshida)
With Contributions From: Henry Reich, Emily Elert, Peter Reich, David Goldenberg
Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder:

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References:

Blanquart, F., et al. (2016). A transmission-virulence evolutionary trade-off explains attenuation of HIV-1 in Uganda. Elife 5: 5.

de Roode, J.C., Yates, A.J., & Altizer, S. (2008). Virulence-transmission trade-offs and population divergence in virulence in a naturally occurring butterfly parasite. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 105: 7489-7494

Ewald, P.W. (1983). Host-parasite relations, vectors, and the evolution of disease severity. Annual Reviews Ecology & Systematics 14: 465-485

Ewald, P.W. (1991). Waterborne transmission and the evolution of virulence among gastrointestinal bacteria. Epidemiology & Infection 106: 83-119.

Ewald, P.W. (1991). Transmission modes and the evolution of virulence: with special reference to cholera, influenza, and AIDS. Human Nature 2: 1-30.

Galvani, A.P. (2003) Epidemiology meets evolutionary ecology. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 18: 132-139.

Lipsitch, M. & Moxon, E.R. (1997). Virulence and transmissibility of pathogens: what is the relationship? Trends in Microbiology 5: 31-37.

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Breakthrough Science

Don Cleveland: 2018 Breakthrough Prize Award Presentation

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The recipients of the 2018 Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences, Fundamental Physics and Mathematics were presented to the public on December 3, 2017 at a gala awards ceremony at NASA’s Hangar 1 in Mountain View, California. The event was hosted by Morgan Freeman, with a live performance by Wiz Khalifa and musician Nana Ou-Yang, and presentations from Mayim Bialik, Lily Collins, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Katie Ledecky, Kerry Washington, John Urschel, Miss USA Kára McCullough, Susan Wojcicki, Kevin Systrom, Sam Altman, Demis Hassabis and the founders of the Breakthrough Prize. The event was produced by Vanity Fair and Don Mischer Productions and broadcast live on National Geographic, Facebook and YouTube. Learn more about the Breakthrough Prize at

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Breakthrough Science

Researchers share $22m breakthrough prize as science gets rock star treatment

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Researchers share $22m breakthrough prize as science gets rock star treatment
The most glitzy event on the scientific calendar took place on Sunday night when the Breakthrough Foundation gave away $22m (£16.3m) in prizes to dozens of physicists, biologists and mathematicians at…

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