I’m delighted to be talking – twice (!) – at the Yorkshire Beekeepers Association Spring Conference in York on Saturday the 12th. With Stephen Martin (bee recognition and the Asian hornet), Jay Evans (beenomics – is that a real word?), Ben Jones (nutrition) and Liz Collison (neonicotinoids) also on the programme it promises to be an enjoyable day.
Update – it was a very enjoyable meeting, well attended and with two parallel sessions to entertain the audience. The sessions finished with breakout groups to “ask the experts” (or wonder where the expert was as I couldn’t find the room) followed by a wrap-up meeting. I’d like to thank the YBKA, Roger Chappel and Michael Badger for their excellent hospitality.
I presented our work on honeybee viruses at the BBKA (British Beekeepers Association) Spring Convention during the Friday afternoon IPI (Insect Pollinators Initiative) research session. It was great to meet Dr. Brenda Ball who conducted some of the excellent early studies on transmission of deformed wing virus (DWV) by Varroa destructor. Also speaking at the convention was Jay Evans (USDA) who is also an invited speaker at the York Beekeepers Association Spring conference next week.
Europic 2014 was held in Blankenberg, Belgium. The pier is without doubt the most attractive part of the town. The seafront consists of an endless row of apartments overlooking – in March at least – the cold, grey North Sea. It probably looks a whole lot better in the height of summer.
The meeting was – as usual – excellent. A good mix of talks from labs around the world, ample time to talk over dinner or a Leffe beer or two and an afternoon in the infinitely more attractive town of Bruge (Shoot first, Sightsee later).
Andrew Woodman, Fadi AlNaji and DJE presented current studies at the meeting on recombination in enteroviruses and identification of a virulent recombinant variant of deformed wing virus.
Blankenberg fashion centre
The Belfry of Bruges
I’m delighted to be speaking at the Bee Farmers Association (BFA) Spring Conference on Saturday 8th March. The BFA are the voice of professional beekeeping and their members are responsible for virtually all migratory beekeeping in the UK, together with contract pollination services and bulk honey production and sales.
Update: I spent an enjoyable afternoon with the BFA talking about Varroa and viruses. I’d like to thank John Howat and Murray McGregor for their hospitality and the audience for their wide-ranging and enthusiastic questions. It was a good opportunity to discuss the practical applications of research into honeybee viruses.
Page 3 CBKA newsletter
I’m pleased to be speaking at Canterbury Beekeepers on the 5th of March about The plight of the honeybee – identification of a virulent strain of Deformed Wing Virus and was amused they’d posted the announcement – complete with the cropped image I provided – on page 3 of their very professionally produced newsletter.
Probably the only acceptable topless page 3 image of me.
Update (7th March)… isn’t the interwebs a wonderful thing? Not only was there a discussion before the evening on the Beekeeping Forum about the talk and venue, but an account of the talk was subsequently posted online. The latter included debate of some of the points raised in the talk which got a little lost in translation. As a friend said to me “it’s like reading your own obituary“. It’s more than a little tempting to register and post something scurrilous …
I’d like to thank Canterbury Beekeepers for an enjoyable evening, an attentive and interesting audience and their excellent hospitality.
Recently accepted for publication
Witteveldt, J. et al., (2013) The influence of viral RNA secondary structure on interactions with innate host cell defences. Nucleic Acids Research. December 2013
RNA viruses infecting vertebrates differ fundamentally in their ability to establish persistent infections with markedly different patterns of transmission, disease mechanisms and evolutionary relationships with their hosts. Although interactions with host innate and adaptive responses are complex and persistence mechanisms likely multi-factorial, we previously observed associations between bioinformatically predicted RNA secondary formation in genomes of positive-stranded RNA viruses with their in vivo fitness and persistence. To analyse this interactions functionally, we transfected fibroblasts with non-replicating, non-translated RNA transcripts from RNA viral genomes with differing degrees of genome-scale ordered RNA structure (GORS). Single-stranded RNA transcripts induced interferon-β mediated though RIG-I and PKR activation, the latter associated with rapid induction of antiviral stress granules. A striking inverse correlation was observed between induction of both cellular responses with transcript RNA structure formation that was independent of both nucleotide composition and sequence length. The consistent inability of cells to recognize RNA transcripts possessing GORS extended to downstream differences from unstructured transcripts in expression of TNF-α, other interferon-stimulated genes and induction of apoptosis. This functional association provides novel insights into interactions between virus and host early after infection and provides evidence for a novel mechanism for evading intrinsic and innate immune responses.
Due to changes in the University of Warwick policy and practice governing URSS (Undergraduate Research Support Scheme) the Evans lab are no longer able to offer summer placements.