David Esteban

David Esteban

Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY

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Published on Nov 04, 2016

DNA Sequence Data is Coming in!

The data is starting to pour in!  We sent our samples of viral DNA for sequencing earlier this fall, and after some waiting our samples have finally been sequenced!  We used a DNA sequencing techno...

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Published on Jun 16, 2016

Time to say goodbye to Maggie!

Maggie has been a central member of the team, from her work getting crowdfunding to her efforts in the lab.  But Maggie has graduated and moved on to a new and exciting position at the National Hum...

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Published on Sep 14, 2015

THE WORK BEGINS!

Summer in the lab has been pretty quiet. Maggie had a summer internship in Paris at the Institut Pasteur studying the mosquitos that carry Dengue virus. Now that the Fall semester has started, wor...

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Published on May 24, 2015

We're Funded!

The campaign is over and it's a success! Thanks to the support of 65 backers, we reached our goal, and we will be able to explore the viral diversity of this fascinating microbial ecosystem, the W...

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Published on May 21, 2015

Time is running out! Help us go viral!

We have reached 80% of our funding goal and are getting close to the deadline!We have Tweeted: https://twitter.com/daesteban1We have Reddited: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/36mw0z/i_am_...W...

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Good luck Maria! I tweeted and posted on facebook so hopefully that will draw some more donors!
Jun 03, 2016
Obtaining clean, renewable energy from 'dead zones'
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Hi Kathryn. Good questions. If I chloroform extract before filtration, I'd get mixed cellular and viral DNA. There would be so much cellular DNA that upon sequencing only a very small percentage would be the viral sequences that we want. Filtation will remove the cells leaving only viruses. The other issue would be that the concentration of DNA in that volume would be quite low so any attempt to precipitate the DNA would have extremely low yield. PEG works in a slightly different way than precipitation so it works even with low concentrations of virus particles. The the filter is a srerivex syringe filter.
Jan 13, 2016
The Dirt on Viruses: Discovering the Role of Viruses in Soil
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Thanks! I recently got a new camera with a macro lens through the college's technology fund. I've been very happy with the detail I can get with it and I can see things that I cant resolve just by eye. It also makes a good record of each column.
Jan 08, 2016
The Dirt on Viruses: Discovering the Role of Viruses in Soil
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My plan is to extract virus from 200g samples, so thats one sample from the top and one from the bottom, per column. We have three columns.
Nov 05, 2015
The Dirt on Viruses: Discovering the Role of Viruses in Soil
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Most have awesome names like AN-15 or T4. But as citizen science has taken off in phage discovery, people are getting creative with names. Like "PhastnPhurious" or "WhiteTiger." Maybe Cliftonator?
May 19, 2015
The Dirt on Viruses: Discovering the Role of Viruses in Soil
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Hi David. We will use Illumina sequencing. RNA is a little trickier, and I havent tried to isolate RNA from viral preps, but would, in theory, be doable. Doing that is a future goal but since (as far as we know) DNA viruses seem to dominate soil viral communities, we are targeting this larger population first. -Cheers
May 19, 2015
The Dirt on Viruses: Discovering the Role of Viruses in Soil
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Im not sure how well it would fare in the mail! (Nor do I know if there are rules about sending mud across state lines!) But I can write up a Lab Note on how to make your own Winogradsky column...it would probably be more fun to see one develop using your own local source of mud!
May 04, 2015
The Dirt on Viruses: Discovering the Role of Viruses in Soil
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Hi Jason - yeah, Id be interested in knowing that too! Environmental virology is quite a bit behind environmental microbiology, where projects like the Earth Microbiome Project are surveying ecosystems across the globe to understand bacterial diversity. I think eventually we'll see an Earth Virome Project. I expect that viral diversity will be highly influenced by the types of bacteria present, and we do know that there is a lot of bacterial variation between samples from similar ecosystems, so the same should be true for viruses. Different ecosystems, like desert vs forest will be very different in their microbial and viral communities. I'll be collecting samples from a local pond, then using that sediment to prepare the Winogradsky columns to enrich for certain bacteria and their viruses. I can manipulate the conditions in the Winogradsky column so eventually I can start looking at the environmental factors that govern viral and bacterial diversity.
Apr 23, 2015
The Dirt on Viruses: Discovering the Role of Viruses in Soil
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I saw Maggie and the rest of the Barefoot Monkeys perform their fire show on saturday. An amazing show with juggling torches, flaming hula-hoops, and acrobatics!
Apr 22, 2015
The Dirt on Viruses: Discovering the Role of Viruses in Soil
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