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microTalk - infectious conversations about microbes

Jan 2, 2018

Dr. Anthony Griffiths and Dr. Ricardo Carrion are scientists at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute who work on some of the most dangerous viruses in the world under Biological Safety Level 4 (BSL4) containment. BSL4 is the highest form of biological containment that is required for viruses that have a high level of lethality and for which there is no cure.

The ebola virus caused a huge outbreak in Western Africa in 2014 that led to over 11,000 deaths, and when an ebola-infected patient arrived in the United States it led to widespread panic. 

Dr. Griffiths and Dr. Carrion are performing research with the ebola virus within a BSL4 laboratory, and are developing therapeutics and vaccines against ebola infections. Dr. Griffiths and Dr. Carrion discuss what it’s like to work in a BSL4 laboratory, what is the outlook for an effective ebola vaccine, and how to work with ebola-infected fruit bats in a BSL4 lab. 

The MicroCase for listeners to solve is about Prickly Pete, a crusty ranch hand who comes down with a mysterious disease after Mrs. Butterworth, his favorite cow dies.


  • Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Dr. Anthony Griffiths
  • Dr. Ricardo Carrion