Phage Futures Congress 2019 | January 29-30 2019 | Washington D.C., USA

With antimicrobial resistance a rising global crisis, western medicine’s interest is turning to phage therapy as an alternative to antibiotics. Challenging past uncertainty in phage therapy’s commercial viability, recent developments such as highly positive results of compassionate use cases in the US has excited the field and the next step is successful phase II clinical trials.

Phage Futures Congress is a translational phage therapy conference where Steffanie Strathdee, Tom Patterson, the FDA, and others will discuss how we move phage therapy forward in the US. A number of A Smaller Flea authors will be speaking or in attendance: Jessica Sacher of Phage Directory, Ben Chan of Yale Univeristy, Shawna McCallin of PhageForward. I am pleased to announce that I have also joined the Scientific Advisory Board for the congress

Take a look at the agenda here.

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Senior Research Assistant – Northumbria University

We are now seeking applications from highly committed, motivated and talented postdoctoral researchers to join the phage research team at Northumbria University for a fixed term, 24 months project in collaboration with clinicians at the Great Northern Children’s hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne. This Action Medical Research funded project will characterise the intestinal virome of preterm, low-birthweight infants to determine bacteriophage groups that are present in the early gut flora in neonates.

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Phage Scientist – DuPont

DuPont Nutrition & Health is a USD 4.7 billion global business and one of the world’s largest producers of specialty food ingredients, developing and manufacturing solutions for the global food & beverage, nutrition and pharma market. With more than 8,500 employees, 50+ manufacturing sites and 20+ R&D centres across the world, N&H is on a mission to make food safer, more sustainable, better tasting and more nutritious.
N&H is part of DowDuPont, a globally listed company, which came to life following the merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont in 2017. DowDuPont has a turnover of approximately $62 billion, employs around 98,000 FTEs and is headquartered in Wilmington, USA.  The Upstream Culture Development group is part of the R&D Department of its Culture Development and Food Protection Division. The group is strongly involved in knowledge development and is responsible for selecting strains of microorganisms to be used in the design of starter cultures for dairy and other fermentation industries.

The group, which is based in France (86), is seeking a Phage Scientist

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Phage Directory ( An origin story

When Twitter told me last week that my former next-door lab neighbour just mailed phages to a dying girl, I actually started believing that my research might mean something. Not eventually, but today.

I used to think phage researchers like me were meant to do plaque assays in a lab for a few decades, while “other people out there, in 50 years, maybe” would sift through the information I would eventually publish and use it to cure people of bacterial infections. I’d gotten comfortable with the idea of doing research for the sake of research. I’d become proud of my patience and my willingness to do science without needing it to help people. I thought this made me a good scientist.

My thinking started to change when I heard the story of Tom Patterson, the patient cured last year in San Diego of his A. baumannii infection following phage therapy. The part that really got to me was how his treatment was essentially crowd-sourced in an effort led by his wife, Steffanie Strathdee (@chngin_the_wrld).

Fast forward to a week and a half ago, when I noticed that Steffanie’s phage-sourcing efforts were back in full force. This time, she was working to save 25-year-old Mallory Smith from drug-resistant B. cepacia. This time, however, I was watching it in real time. She used hashtags and @mentions to ask researchers to send phages. She used caps lock to emphasize urgency.

I had a fleeting thought about texting my friend from Jon Dennis’ lab at the University of Alberta, because I knew they worked on B. cepacia. Instead, I thought, those hashtags aren’t for grad students like me or for labs like ours. Those messages are for companies that make lots and lots of phages using proprietary processes, for labs with ties to hospitals that work with patients, for government organizations like the US Navy and its phage library.

And then I saw Steffanie tweet a thank-you to @JonDennis8 for sending phages, and I realized that the kind of researcher she was trying to reach was me.

I shared all of this with my friend Jan Zheng, who specializes in how humans interact with computers. He designs ways of simplifying this experience. Upon seeing the Twitter trail and hearing about Mallory and Tom’s stories and the phage hunts associated with both, he excitedly proclaimed that he knew how we could simplify this experience too.

We spent the next several days creating Phage Directory (, a website designed to help treat patients infected by drug-resistant pathogens with safe and effective doses of phages, on a last-resort, emergency basis through the FDA’s Emergency Investigational New Drug process.

Although phage therapy is not yet ready to be adopted by mainstream Western medicine, the FDA is ready for phage therapy on a case-by-case basis as long as antibiotics are tried first. To paraphrase what Scott Stibitz of the FDA said at the Evergreen Phage Meeting this year: those of us who have been repeating the trope that the FDA is an enemy of phage therapy should stop, because we’re wrong.

A major part of what Jan and I envision that this directory will do is to serve as a searchable resource and alert service to help patient advocates find phage researchers who are willing to send phages to a patient in need, on an individual, on-demand basis. We also hope to connect these researchers with those willing to test the host range of these phages on patient isolates and then to propagate and purify promising candidates prior to shipment to the patient.

Two days into building Phage Directory, we found out that Mallory had passed away. This heart wrenching news spurred us on, and we launched the site last Friday. We made a Twitter account and began reaching out to phage researchers and others who might be interested in the cause.

Now, a week after its launch, we have reached 100 followers on Twitter (mostly phage biologists) and have been talking to Steffanie about how a directory like this would optimally function. She put us in touch with Tobi Nagel of Phages for Global Health, who was excited to talk with us. Phages for Human Applications Group Europe (P.H.A.G.E.) has encouraged its members to sign up, and several of them have. Sylvain Moineau and the Félix d’Hérelle Center at Université Laval in Canada are also on board.

On Monday of this week, we found out that Mallory’s parents were thrilled to hear about Phage Directory, and want to help us help other patients in honour of their daughter. On Tuesday, the journalist at STAT News who wrote the original article detailing Steffanie’s efforts to find phages for Mallory interviewed Jan and me for his next story.

What began as an offhand comment that we should make “PhageBook” has become a very real and impassioned effort to identify the barriers to treating patients with phages, particularly in the West, and to systematically design ways to overcome these barriers. Especially at this stage, we are open to suggestions on how best to put together this resource.

In addition to its role as a phage researcher directory and virtual phage library, we envision Phage Directory becoming a resource for physicians and other patient advocates seeking to learn about the actions required to initiate phage therapy in a patient, the associated legal implications, and the particular phages and treatment strategies available.

We see it becoming a communication platform that facilitates and organizes secure exchanges between doctors and researchers, before, during and after phage treatment, e.g. which phages should be tried first or next? How does susceptibility to each phage and antibiotic evolve over the course of each treatment iteration?

We see it providing the public with an interactive lens into the world of phage therapy, where patients and families can identify and communicate with phage researchers and physicians willing to facilitate phage therapy.

We see it helping to build legitimacy and transparency into the process of phage therapy to help regulatory agencies gain confidence in its feasibility.

Overall, we see Phage Directory as an action-oriented tool that will break down barriers to phage therapy by providing a multi-stakeholder communication platform designed to simplify and streamline the process.

Since I’ve joined our remarkable phage community, I’ve become increasingly conscious of its deep commitment to bringing phage therapy to modern medicine. I hope that many of you will add yourselves to Phage Directory and that you’ll sign up for the alert service so you can be contacted in the event that a patient needs your phages.

Finally, I hope that you’ll spread the word about this initiative so we can all take advantage of the momentum generated from Tom and Mallory’s recent public battles to put what we’ve collectively been writing and thinking about for years into a new kind of action.

Eligo Bioscience is hiring

“Eligo Bioscience is a VC-backed biotech startup, cofounded by professors and scientists from MIT and Rockefeller (Lu and Marraffini labs). We are developing next-gen therapeutics for precision microbiome engineering and bacteria-associated diseases. Our technology is based on the delivery of genetic circuits (notably CRISPR-Cas) to the microbiome via engineered phage particles.” They can be contacted here.


Postdoctoral Researcher in Foodborne Pathogen Bioinformatics

Work with microbiologists to develop a pipeline for analysis of Campylobacter spp. whole genome sequencing data. This will involve processing of raw sequencing reads, genome assembly, submission of data to public databases, variant mapping, and phylogenetic analysis. The individual will also work with public health professionals at the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH). The role in this joint effort will be to provide data based on outputs from the pipleline, which will inform TDH investigations of campylobacteriosis within Tennessee. Additionally, the individual will assist with knowledge transfer by participating as part of a team in workshop and webinar development and delivery.

Required Qualifications: An earned doctorate in Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Statistics, Microbiology, Food Science, or other relevant field. Demonstrated knowledge of bioinformatics and basic knowledge of relevant computer programming languages (such as Python, Perl, Bash, R, etc). Proven excellence in verbal and written communication skills, including a strong scientific, peer-reviewed publication record in bioinformatics and/or computational biology-related topics. Communicate effectively with non-computational researchers and be time-responsive


The University of Tennessee, Institute of Agriculture is seeking candidates who have the ability to contribute in meaningful ways to the diversity and intercultural goals of the University. Applicants should submit: 1) a letter of application, 2) a curriculum vitae detailing education background qualifications, research and teaching experience, and publications, 3) unofficial transcripts of all college course work, and 4) names and contact information (including e-mail addresses) of three individuals who will serve as references.

Submit all application materials using the following link:

More information can be found in this flier here

Opportunités de carrière : Doctoral Student SNSF (12249)


The University of Lausanne is a higher teaching and research institution composed of seven faculties where approximately 14,300 students and nearly 3,900 collaborators, professors, and researchers work and study. Ideally situated along the lake of Geneva, near Lausanne’s city center, its campus brings together over 120 nationalities.


The Department of Fundamental Microbiology offers a position of Doctoral Student SNSF (on bacteriophage therapy for Staphylococcus aureus infections).

Job information

Expected start date in position : 01.01.2018

Contract length : 1 year, maximum 4 years

Activity rate : 100%

Workplace : University of Lausanne until 31/12/2018 and then either in Lausanne or at the Bern University Hospital – Department of Intensive Care Medicine.

Your responsibilities

The Resch group ( aims at developing new therapeutic phages and phage-lysins in a rational approach. Specifically, we isolate new bacteriophages active against the ESKAPE pathogens and evaluate their efficacity in different rodent models of infectious diseases amongst which infective endocarditis in rats. We also address fundamental aspects of phage-bacteria interactions such as bacterial resistance to phages and phage adaptation. The research project of the Doctoral Student SNSF will be on the development of new S. aureus therapeutic phages with a focus on the study of resistance mechanisms. A wide array of methods and technologies in microbiology, phage research and genomics will be applied. The project will provide an excellent scientific training with many opportunities for collaborations in a stimulating environment.

Your qualifications

Applicants should have a Master in biological science with experience in microbiology. Further experience with bacteriophages, animal experimentation, molecular biology, bacterial genomics and computational biology is an asset. The candidate should have a good command of English and be highly motivated to learn new experimental techniques to study phage-bacteria interactions.

What the position offers you

We offer a nice working place in a multicultural, diversified and dynamic academic environment, opportunities for professional training.

Possibilities of continuous training, a lot of activities and other benefits to discover.

Contact for further information

Dr. Grégory Resch

Phone number : 0041 21 692 56 09

Your application

Deadline : 30.11.2017

Please include your full application (motivation letter, CV, list of publications and the contact details of two referees) in Word or PDF.
Only applications through this website will be taken into account.

We thank you for your understanding.

Additional information

Seeking to promote an equitable representation of men and women among its staff, the University encourages applications from women.

PhD SCHOLARSHIP – VIRUS STRUCTURE, Massey University, New Zealand

Project title: Solving the end-cap structure of a biological nanorod derived from the Ff bacteriophage (f1, M13 or fd)

Academic mentors: A/Prof Jasna Rakonjac; A/Prof Andrew Sutherland-Smith

This project aims to determine the cap structure of a versatile biological filament (Ff filamentous bacteriophage). Ff (M13, f1 or fd) phage is a natural and affordable platform for a wide array of technologies, from nano-scale batteries to cancer therapies and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Detailed structure of the end-caps will help understand how the Ff filamentous phage is formed naturally and will aid in developing/improving filamentous phage applications.

The fine structure of the Ff end-caps has remained a mystery, as they constitute only 2% of the phage filament mass. We overcome this problem by assembling short rods (we named Ff-nano) where the end-caps amount to as much as 40% of the total particle mass. An interesting property of the Ff-nano particles is that they easily form 2D crystals. The Ff-nano particles will therefore enable analyses of the end-cap structure at a near-atomic resolution using cryo-electron microscopy and at atomic resolution using X-ray crystallography.

Candidates with a BSc or MSc degree (1st class or high upper 2nd class Honours degree) in biochemistry, biotechnology, molecular biology or microbiology, with interest in structural biology, bacteriophage or nanotechnology are encouraged to apply.

Scholarship is for three years, covering the stipend (NZ$ 25,000 per annum, non-taxable), fees (tuition) and medical insurance. Palmerston North is a lively student city in the Central North Island, close to the ski fields, kayaking and fishing spots, beaches and tramping areas, as well as to Wellington, the New Zealand Capital.

Institute of Fundamental Sciences at Massey University is equipped with a modern structural biology suite and has access to the Australian Synchrotron.

The deadline for the application is 08/05/2017. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the studentship is filled.

Filamentous phage topic:

A/Prof Jasna Rakonjac;

A/Prof Andrew Sutherland-Smith;

Massey University PhD programme:

PhD available studying co-evolutionary dynamics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön, Germany

We are seeking a motivated PhD student to join our research team working
on eco-evolutionary dynamics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary
Biology in Plön, Germany.

We are looking for a highly motivated ecologist or evolutionary biologist
to join our group Community Dynamics at the Max Planck institute for
Evolutionary Biology ( and the Kiel
Evolution Center ( The ideal candidate is
fascinated by evolutionary and ecological questions, independent and
creative. She/he has a background in evolutionary biology, population
or community ecology. A MSc (or equivalent) in Biology is required.

There is a continuing interest to identify the interactions and feedback
dynamics between ecological and evolutionary changes at the same time
scale. This interest in eco-evolutionary dynamics is fuelled by the
need to understand how populations and communities could adapt to rapid
environmental change such as warming, invasion and pollution. Despite
this pressing need to understand eco-evolutionary dynamics, they are
not well understood in complex systems. In the project we aim to (1)
identify rapid adaptive changes in coevolving host-virus populations in
different food webs that differ in the types of species interactions and
complexity and to (2) comprehend how the dynamics of adaptive changes
alter the ecological dynamics and potential feedbacks. We will combine
controlled laboratory experiments, whole genome sequencing of populations
across different time points and modeling to characterize and compare
the adaptive dynamics and their consequences within the different food
webs. For more information on potential the project contact Lutz Becks

The institute offers a stimulating international environment and
an excellent infrastructure with access to state‐of‐the-art
techniques. The town of Plön is in the middle of the Schleswig-Holstein
lake-district within a very attractive and touristic environment near the
Baltic Sea, close to the university towns of Lübeck and Kiel. Hamburg
and Lübeck are the closest airports.

The position is funded for three years.  We ask applicants to send
a PDF file containing their CV and letter of motivation as well
as contact information of two references by e-mail to Lutz Becks
( We will begin reviewing applications
starting March 22th until the position is filled.

The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer.