Micrognome in eBook launch

Micrognome in eBook launch



The Micrognome’s been at it again. But this time the eBook launch is just in time for the start of a new Uni semester. Students of clinical microbiology and infectious diseases note, the Micrognome might just be excused for his absence from the eWaves in recent months.

So what does the new eBook contain?

Over 600 pages in 3 main sections

  1. major themes in microbiology and infection, a launch point for the second section
  2. diseases and syndromes by system and clinical setting
  3. detailed glossaries

and the format?

  • each chapter starts with self-assessment questions and worked answers
  • followed by a chapter synopsis, then an outlines of each syndrome or disease
  • iPad and Kindle formats available

Proceeds to go to clinical laboratory capability development NGO, Lab Without Walls

Publisher website


Previous eBook launch: Germ, the Language of Infection.

Also featured on Life in the Fast Lane iBook shelf launch.





eBook sneak peek

Point of Care Publication’s second project has just been announced on the publisher’s website. Their eBook on Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases is nearing completion.  This second eBook will complement Germ: the language of infection.

POCP’s production team advised the Micrognome that they will release their eBook in several formats compatible with a range of eBook readers and hand-held devices. We were able to take a sneak peek and this is what it looks like on the iPad mini.


The Micrognome will put in a request for more information on the contents as soon as Point of Care Publications are ready.


Germs by the ebook

The Language of Infection theme featured on this blog has now made it into eBook format.  


iPad users can now explore the world of medically important microbes with the help of additional media

  • picture galleries
  • interactive images
  • sound files
  • review questions
  • gesture-based navigation aids

Germ: the Language of Infection starts with the story of an outbreak of exotic tropical infection in faraway places, then moves much closer to home where the action has been simmering away for some time. And that is just by way of introduction.

The main narrative follows the theme of language building-blocks in this whistle-stop tour of infection. Readers of this blog will recognise the chapter titles: nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions and punctuation. They are applied here in more detail with examples of the language in action and supporting media.

As with this blog, so it will be with the eBook. Germ, the Language of Infection has set its course to become a living document. The more users take up this invitation, the more this eBook will need to adapt to the on-line learning community.


Lab Without Walls in a suitcase? Real time action

The view over the Kandian Hills in the central highlands of Sri Lanka takes some beating. But it is just one of many natural wonders in this outstandingly beautiful country. Not that the Micrognome had much time to appreciate Sri Lanka’s tourism opportunities. Unless you count taking the Lab Without Walls out of its suitcase and running PCR assays for exotic tropical infections.

Lab in a box or lab in a suitcase? 

So the cat’s out of the bag, or the suitcase. The lab in a box has shrunk, largely (diminishingly?) due to an even smaller thermocycler. It now fits into a single suitcase. The Lab Without Walls needed a game changer to get into action overseas. 18 months after our first overseas expedition, we’re lighter. Hopefully we’re better. A snapshot of the Lab Without Walls’ progress comes from our three Sri Lankan support visits when we rolled out

  1. one (Burkholderia pseudomallei)
  2. then six (including Mycobacterium tuberculosis field genotyping)
  3. and now 30 assays in one visit

True, much needs to be done to polish many of these assays. But by far the greatest pleasure was to see people who trained in our methods recently, taking over the training. As Lab Without Walls is about capability building, this is exactly what we like to see.

Test repertoire

These are the tests the Lab Without Walls unpacked from its suitcase – assays for:

Essential support

There are several heroes of this piece, not least our colleagues at Universities of Peradeniya and Colombo, and the Sri Lankan Society for Microbiology. However, it would not have been possible for the Lab Without Walls to run such an ambitious programme out of a suitcase had it not been for the generous assistance of:

  • Agilent Technologies (Expert 2100 Bioanalyzer)
  • Bio-Rad Australia (Mini-opticon thermocycler)
  • PathWest Laboratory Medicine (assembly of molecular reagents)
  • Rotary Club Applecross & Rotary Club Kandy
  • Singapore Airlines (assistance with medical equipment shipment)
Where next?
(see National Science Week Kimberley road show)


2011 MicroGnome Review

This is the time of year when we reflect on the event of the past year and prepare for what might be coming over the horizon. 2011 was a year of steady progress in the field of infectious diseases, with notable milestones in all of the big three and some game-changing developments for other infections.

The MicroGnome has picked a handful of achievements for this 2011 MicroGnome review that should inspire anyone with an interest in infection. If you have been living under a stone all year, maybe you should try the coffee zone for a less demanding read.

Reporting the preliminary results of a phase three trials of the RTS,S vaccine candidate in neonates and infant groups from seven African countries over 14 months, the authors of a November paper in the New England Journal of Medicine reported a halving of malaria, and a 45% reduction in severe malaria cases. While these effects are far less than routinely used childhood vaccines, they raise hopes for development of a mortality-reducing malaria vaccine.

Promising early performance studies prompted the World Health Organisation and other donor agencies to equip clinical laboratories in resource-poor countries with rapid molecular screening tests for pulmonary tuberculosis. In a useful review of this application of molecular microbiology, Carlton Evans explains the need for caution in the introduction of this technology to low and middle income countries.

There is a growing awareness of the potential for antiretroviral agents in a preventive role. In a mathematical model of the cost effectiveness and impact of different strategies, an international group showed that effective preventive pre-exposure prophylaxis of the uninfected partner could be more effective than commencing ART earlier in the infected partner.

The application of mass spec-based methods for identifying the contents of blood cultures has been gathering pace in Europe for several years, and has started to spread to other parts of the world. While some clinical laboratory directors might have their heads stuck in the sand, there are plenty of pathologists who would give an arm and a leg for equipment that can trim around 24hr or more off the time to identification of bacterial causes of septicaemia. Klein and colleagues are one of many groups working out how to implement this emerging technology in a busy clinical laboratory service.

Influenza: working out why the vaccine had adverse effects

the adverse effects of Australian produced vaccine are thought to have been due to suboptimal virus splitting by a deoxycholate-based procedure. Benefits of vaccination still outweigh the risk of adverse effect.

A phase three trial of a tetravalent live attenuated vaccine against dengue virus is now under way. Once industrial production of this promising candidate has been established, its efficacy confirmed and administration optimised, it will be of considerable interest to many parts of the tropics where dengue is a substantial burden on the public health.

So what’s in store for 2012, apart from more of the same?

At a guess, it looks like we’re going to drill deeper into severe sepsis, see an expanding series of field studies and continue our peripatetic investigation of tropical infectious diseases. The language of infection series is set for significant expansion in support of teaching and training activities. One outcome of our 2011 MicroGnome Review was to recognise the need for an expanded writing team. The group sends you their best for 2012, and will now pause briefly to welcome in the New Year.