Bill Gates (left) and journalist Richard Besser (right)TWITTER, VINCENT RACANIELLO

Antibiotic resistance, CRISPR (and its antidotes), flaviviruses, biosafety, and identifying new antimicrobial drugs were among the most-discussed topics at this year’s American Society for Microbiology (ASM) conference, held in Boston.

The last 1 percent is very, very hard.

—Microsoft cofounder and philanthropist Bill Gates on eradicating polio

The development of a vaccine against Zika virus is an international emergency.

Pedro Vasconcelos of the Evandro Chagas Institute in Brazil

You can never reduce risk to zero.

Joseph Kanabrocki, associate vice president for research safety at the University of Chicago, on working with hazardous pathogens

Chikungunya virus is now hiding under the umbrella of Zika, whereas, in the past, it was hiding under the umbrella of dengue. . . . This is going to limit the potential perceived market for [vaccine developers].

—Pathologist, microbiologist, and immunologist...

In the Anthropocene, we have lost millions of tons of soil fungi due to conversions of forests to cropland.

—Soil microbiologist Sophie Zechmeister-Boltenstern of the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU)

Have to have multiplicity [of new antimicrobial candidates] in the pipeline in order to have any chance of getting a clinically usable drug out the other end.

David Hooper, chief of the Infection Control Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital

You never cure an infectious disease; you just keep putting it off.

—Case Western Reserve University’s Robert Bonomo, discussing clinical cases involving multidrug-resistant bacteria

They published this as the last figure of their paper, which probably today would have been a supplementary figure.

—Rockefeller University’s Luciano Marraffini on the first CRISPR sequence reported—by Yoshizumi Ishino and colleagues at Osaka University, Japan—in the Journal of Bacteriology in 1987

If the bugs are paying attention to this thing, we should be paying attention to this thing.

—Molecular geneticist Alex Ensminger of the University of Toronto, on conserved mobile genetic elements in pathogens like Legionella bacteria

Interested in reading more?

The Scientist ARCHIVES

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?