The Bioinformatics CRO Podcast

Episode 47 with Jamie Smyth

Jamie Smyth, Associate Professor at Virginia Tech, discusses intercellular communication in the heart and how viral infection of cardiac cells can result in heart disease. 

On The Bioinformatics CRO Podcast, we sit down with scientists to discuss interesting topics across biomedical research and to explore what made them who they are today.

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Jamie is Associate Professor at Virginia Tech, where his research aims to define cardiomyopathy at a subcellular level, searching for potential targets for therapeutic interventions to help restore normal cardiac function to diseased hearts.

Transcript of Episode 47: Jamie Smyth

Disclaimer: Transcripts may contain errors.

Grace Ratley: [00:00:00] Welcome to The Bioinformatics CRO Podcast. My name is Grace Ratley, and today I’m joined by Jamie Smyth, who is Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech. Welcome, Jamie.

Jamie Smyth: [00:00:14] Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Grace Ratley: [00:00:15] It’s a pleasure to have you. So can you tell us a little bit about the research that you’re doing at Virginia Tech?

Jamie Smyth: [00:00:21] Certainly. So. My work is primarily focused on the heart, but really, I consider myself a cell biologist and virologist who’s very interested in how cells talk to each other. So all cells communicate directly and in the heart. That’s actually particularly important because that’s how electrical impulses are orchestrated and propagated throughout the cardiac tissue to during every heartbeat. And unfortunately, we know in pretty much every form of heart disease, it’s alterations in how these impulses are communicated within the tissue that lead to arrhythmias, a sudden cardiac death. So we’re really trying to understand how cells communicate with each other, how they set up these connections appropriately, and how these connections are disrupted during cardiomyopathy, conditions of stress ischemia, but also how viral infection can affect this and how viruses manipulate intercellular communication outside of the heart and in the heart, and how that can lead to sudden cardiac death, too.

Grace Ratley: [00:01:15] Yeah. And so you in particular look at things like gap junctions in cardiomyopathy. Can you tell us a little bit about that research?

Jamie Smyth: [00:01:24] There’s many ways that cells can communicate with each other. And we know that gap junctions are the primary direct means by where this occurs. There are mechanical junctions which allow for mechanical communication between cells, but gap junctions actually provide both a mechanical connection and a metabolic connection. And that’s because they actually join the cytoplasms of adjacent cells directly. So they create a channel, a conduit between the two cells where small molecules can pass. So in the heart, for example, these would be ions for electrical impulses, but also second messengers can go through. So like in other tissues, cells can signal to each other electrically or not to propagate signal transduction and what’s really interesting is that in the immune system also utilizes gap junctions, both the innate and adaptive aspects of the immune system. So innate wise, our cells have an intrinsic, innate response to things like viral infection that activates the interferon response, and this can actually be propagated to uninfected neighbors through gap junctions. And then also it’s been shown that short peptides can go through gap junctions. So there is a size limitation, but also the secondary structure limitation. So long as they would be linear and it’s thought that an infected cell could communicate viral peptides to an uninfected neighbor, that uninfected neighbor could present that peptides to a cytotoxic T lymphocyte, for example. And so these are two ways that gap structures can propagate the immune response. But also surveilling cells can also hook up to other cells via gap junctions. So they’re n all tissues and they’re surprisingly dynamic, which is why in the heart it’s particularly important that we understand their biology, because when the tissue gets stressed, we see a rapid remodeling of these gap junctions and that’s where we can see these electrical disturbances. And so if we understand how they’re regulated, hopefully we can figure out how to get them back where they’re supposed to be without opening up somebody’s chest.

Grace Ratley: [00:03:09] Yeah, that is really interesting. And what sorts of viruses do affect cardiac function?

Jamie Smyth: [00:03:15] Several viruses have been attributed to what we call viral myocarditis, which is basically when the heart becomes infected and or inflamed and the viruses that affect it are broad. But the two main ones that I would say that crop up the most are coxsackievirus and also actually adenovirus is another one. But a lot of viruses, there are cases of them being found in cardiac tissue that aren’t normally attributed to that. It’s typically pretty devastating when a virus gets into the heart and infects the tissue. And the thing to think about there is that a virus has not necessarily evolved to infect the heart. Its goal is not to kill the host essentially that way. So it’s more that when either a person is predisposed to this or for whatever reason, the virus does have a tropism for the tissue that we see this happening. And there’s various stages to the disease. They are acute where we can have an infection process where the virus is causing damage by what it’s doing, and then the immune system can come in. And unfortunately, we can see in a more chronic situation, it’s actually the host immune response that’s doing a lot of damage to the heart. And we can end up with a heart failure situation, which why I find the heart is such a fascinating organ to study because people tend to think about heart disease as an inevitable process of aging. But it’s more to do with the fact that I think the heart is this exquisitely dynamic organ that’s constantly responding and changing. So unlike other muscle in your body, heart muscle is made up of individual muscle cells. And so they’re constantly changing and responding to stress and how they’re communicating with each other and how they’re contracting. So that’s the disease process of myocarditis is the virus could be gone, but the remodeling has started and that’s the problem.

Grace Ratley: [00:04:54] So what are the primary endpoints of your research? Are you looking to prevent cardiomyopathy is from arising when someone has an infection? Or are you looking to just do basic research on how the heart works on a cellular level or develop therapies for cardiomyopathies? What are the primary endpoints?

Jamie Smyth: [00:05:15] The lab really mean, it spans all of that in a way. The primary endpoint is of course yes to develop therapeutics to hopefully correct cytological disturbances in the heart. A large portion of our work is on how the proteins that make up junctions are synthesized. They’re called connexins and how they’re translated as interesting. And that’s as a virologist what led me to that was because viruses play tricks on how proteins are synthesized to and so there’s a good overlap there and how we interrogate that biology in terms of the viral aspect of it and viral myocarditis. There’s a great need for understanding the mechanisms of that disease process. And so how and why certain viruses infect the heart, how direct infection contributes to cardiomyopathy versus that host immune response. But also, as we understand the cell biology of how viruses manipulate intercellular communication. Then there’s the thought of perhaps antivirals could come in there as well. So as I mentioned earlier, these gap junctions that in your heart are communicating electrical signals. They also propagate immune responses and antiviral immune responses. So it makes sense that viruses would target these structures as they’ve evolved. And that’s indeed what we’ve found. And while this in an epithelial situation can be, whatever irritating, give you a cough in the heart, that’s going to be devastating and potentially deadly. Then the other thing to think about is that if the virus is targeting a particular structure in the cell or hijacking it or changing it for its own good. It’s doing so probably in the most efficient way possible. And so we can identify the critical signaling hubs in the cell that are regulating gap junctions by seeing what the virus is going for. And then we go beyond viral infection. So we use the virus to tell us what to look for if we want to therapeutically manipulate gap junctions. So that’s where big picture end goals of the lab, really.

Grace Ratley: [00:07:08] So tell me a little bit about how you got interested in cardiomyopathy and everything.

Jamie Smyth: [00:07:14] Yeah, this is where I like to speak to trainees as well about not necessarily having your life planned out meticulously in front of you and that with science, you don’t know what opportunities or interests will come your way. I did my undergraduate in University College Dublin in microbiology and the way that was structured was that you, I did science to start and then you have four subjects and then you specialize every year. And by third year I’d really got interested in microbiology and virology. And then the only time in my life my name was picked out of a hat was in fourth year of our undergraduate, where we had a chance to do a research project and I actually got to work on HIV, trying to identify different serotypes of HIV in the Irish population. And that was just an incredible experience for me to work in a virology lab, but also with actual human samples et cetera. So then hooked on viruses. I did my PhD then on an RNA virus and Trinity College, Dublin that was using these RNA viruses, Alphaviruses, to actually elicit anti-tumor immune responses. So as opposed to virology per se, it was more like using a virus for what we call oncolytic. So basically trying to use viruses that have been manipulated so they’re not necessarily going to replicate the same way to treat cancer and basically elicit the immune response against cancer.

Jamie Smyth: [00:08:34] And then that actually took me to my postdoctoral training at University of California, San Francisco, still focused on cancer biology and virology. And that actually is where adenovirus came in and I worked with Clodagh O’Shea and Frank McCormick on how adenovirus would manipulate the DNA damage response. And then also they’re very interested in developing adenovirus for Oncolytics. But then is when partially intentionally, partially not intentional by people moving to different cities and my personal life not making me want to move to different cities and other opportunities arising actually switched fields into the cardiovascular space. And what was really attractive to me was the fact that as a virologist and as a cancer biologist, up to that point, I got my head stuck inside the cell. So I was always imagining the signaling pathways going on inside the cell and the infected cell. But I wasn’t thinking about how that’s not biology. So it’s lots of cells talking to each other and some of them are infected and some of them are not infected. And that whole, how cells communicate and how that biology really got interesting to me. That’s when I switched into the cardiovascular space and gap junctions.

[00:09:38] And this is where it was quite a challenging time because I was changing fields. But then in retrospect, it was really good because I came at cardiovascular cell biology from an epithelial cancer background and virology. So I had a different angle than other people. I was very fortunate my advisor, Robin Schulz, we basically were able to ask some questions in different ways, and I think that’s really good. So I always say to people, if you find yourself in a situation where things are changing and not necessarily how you plan prior to that, I’m yet to have that happen to me and not look back a year later and go, Thank God that happened. Because things are better. So then that’s when I worked mainly on gap junction biology, how gap junctions are formed, how the cell puts them, where they’re supposed to go, how that’s changed in stress. But all the time in a background was keeping on this virus work that I was just fascinated by. Some viruses like RNA viruses, their life cycle is quite rapid, like SARS-CoV-2 as well. Once those positive sense RNA viruses, once that RNA is in the cytosol, it’s ready to go.

[00:10:42] But then DNA tumor viruses like adenovirus have a longer life cycle, coronaviruses, too. But adenovirus is definitely was saying there’s no way they’re going to leave gap junctions the way they are. So I’ve been looking at that in the background. And then we hit on the translation work, which basically got me at the point where I was ready to start my own team. When I went to Virginia Tech, that’s when I started reintroducing the virology. So we’re working on how gap junctions are synthesized at the translational level. We have some very fundamental work there where we’re just looking at how ribosomes are certain RNA binding proteins bind to RNA, where Connexin is this wonderful tool for that, then translating that to heart disease, but then also how viruses manipulate that, how viruses mutate directly. And then a great pleasure of it has also been able to fall back on the cancer background where now actually actively collaborate with a bunch of colleagues here at Virginia Tech working on cancer biology and gap junctions where they’re very important. Also a full circle on where I started, where I’ve gone from virus to cancer to heart. And now all of them are a key part of my research, which is really rewarding.

Grace Ratley: [00:11:41] I imagine it is. I feel like one of the issues in academia that’s quite common is people go into their PhD in a particular subject and then they do postdoc in that subject and then after postdoc, they start their own lab in that subject and it’s you just get more and more specialized and it’s very difficult, I think, for people to change subjects. How do you think that we could maybe encourage people to look outside of their particular niche and feel a little less stuck? How could we support people in transitioning into different fields?

Jamie Smyth: [00:12:17] Right. I think part of the reason why academia is so research focused is that we need fresh minds coming in. Because people get affected by dogma. And so you have these people asking questions that you would never ask because you think they would never work. And then you’re like, oh, hang on, actually, maybe go for it. So think outside the box and expose yourself to such things I would say. Whatever training institution you’re at would be to seek out. Sometimes there’s common things like Research in Progress seminar series. I know at UCSF where there was one of those and it would be quite diverse presentations from different departments and institutes. And that’s actually when I started hitting on the translation initiation work in the cardiovascular institute that I was in. I was hitting a wall in terms of getting some ideas of what was going on and then I put myself forward for one of these rips, which were common to UCSF. So all postdocs from all over the place. And then some of the cancer team were looking at similar stuff and they were able to provide reagents and advice. And I met with them and that showed me that actually that’s what I like about my research institute here, is that it’s not an institute. It’s a biomedical research institute. So rub shoulders with neuroscientists and cancer biologists and structural biologists and behavioral scientists. So we’ve had many instances where a conversation over a beer after work has led to a successful grant and publication between a cancer biologist and a neuroscientist. That’s the way to go, I think. Just be open to it and put yourself into those situations, even though they’re scary, especially as a trainee. I think that’s what I would say.

Grace Ratley: [00:13:52] It’s a good advice. I feel like with the pandemic, a lot of people did make transitions into looking into virology and seeing how they can support it from an engineering perspective or from a cancer, I don’t know perspective. And I hope that it leads to more openness within academic science to explore other fields and to build collaborations with people in different disciplines of biological sciences or beyond biological sciences. And viruses are an excellent tool for that because there are some people doing crazy things with viruses, building batteries and using them as vectors for therapeutics and just really amazing.

Jamie Smyth: [00:14:35] Yeah. It’s pretty humbling biology, the virus and so that’s what’s kept me hooked on being a virologist is just how it’s just information. But it can hijack something as exquisite as the human cell. So it’s sometimes very little piece of information that’s, again, the power of using them to understand our cell biology, because they only have a limited amount of material they can bring in to take over everything.

Grace Ratley: [00:14:59] Yeah certainly. So how did you become interested in science? Were you a science kid growing up?

Jamie Smyth: [00:15:06] I was always interested in science, very much so. When I look back, I would never build what was supposed to build with a Lego. I would build some kind of machine or something. And then I was always outside digging up stuff and looking at insects. I lived grew up beside the sea. And that was pretty cool to see the life there. I was also actually quite into art, and as a teenager I found myself not really knowing what I wanted to do because I had so many interests. And I think that was difficult, but at one point my parents brought me to a guidance counselor and they basically said that. They were like, Yes, you have parts, you’re just interested in everything. And so I just made the decision to do science then because I just figured I loved the art and everything, but it wasn’t going to be a career for me. My father was an architect, so that was interesting and I always thought about doing that. But then my sister did science and I just got really, really fascinated by what she was saying, which is coming out from college. And the other good thing again, I think I said this earlier about the way it was structured in University College Dublin was the first year you did biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, or some mix of those broad. And then the second year you chose microbiology specific subset of chemistry, biochemistry, and then the third year microbiology and then fourth year microbiology. And so it was I knew going into it I could feel out in the first year of what I was interested in. And then it was that virology project in fourth year that took me to the next level, but nothing specific except that I just found the world a bit fascinating.

Grace Ratley: [00:16:37] Yeah. Just slightly reminds me of the path of Santiago Cajal, and he was a really interested in art as a kid, and then he started exploring connections between cells. I mean, that’s what he got the Nobel Prize for was synapses and gap junctions and things.

Jamie Smyth: [00:16:54] I think one of the things people don’t realize is that a lot of scientists have a creative side and interest so they’re either very much interested in the arts or have some kind of artistic outlet, be it music, be it art, remarkable number of my colleagues. And that’s because I think science you need to be able to have that creativity to connect things. And it’s not just learning things off by heart and this dull studying thing. It’s everybody’s stepping into this black box and you have to imagine and make a leap, connect these distant things like I said and I think having a bit more of a creative background or a creative thinking enables that process in a way that I don’t think people who are not scientists appreciate or understand sometimes.

Grace Ratley: [00:17:41] Certainly, that kind of brings me into this piece about science education and science outreach. And you do a little bit of that with goodwill. Can you tell us a little bit about that work?

Jamie Smyth: [00:17:54] Sure. That’s one of the things I’ve enjoyed about moving to Roanoke here with the research institutes is the accessibility of the community. So organically, the Research Institute has developed various ways of maintaining community interaction from having open lectures, public lectures, etcetera. But then at the younger level, there’s opportunity to expose children to what’s happening in their own city. That’s pretty exciting and hopefully inspirational for them to stay in STEM. And I spoke at a Cityworks. It was called it was an event about urban development and it was Irish scientists and French scientists doing in Roanoke. Let’s go to the premise so we’re just talking about the perfect setup here for doing this. But from that came a relationship with Goodwill, where they saw that talk and they actually run a science camp in Roanoke every summer and so invited me to go out and give a talk. These are children between the ages of about 8 and 12 years of age, and it allows us to showcase what we’re doing at the Research Institute, talk to them about careers in science, talk to them about our journeys as scientists and what took us here. And then we’ve also had the opportunity since then to develop that and actually bring them to the institute, rather than me just going out and talking to them for an hour and they get a full tour of the research institute, get to put their hands on a few microscopes, see some cells beating down there, and then also be exposed to different – me, but then my colleague Sami and his cancer research, Sarah Parker and her simulation lab about which studies how teams operate in hospitals, the idea being to also show the various career paths in STEM.

[00:19:31] So it’s not just academia and becoming a professor. There’s a bunch of other ways. If you train in that field, you can have a really fascinating career and contribute to society. That’s something that we’re still working on developing in terms of being able to maintain relationships with these children. And then as they get into high school, level up, bring them into the labs. We have relationships with some high schools here in Roanoke. I usually have 1 or 2 high school students in the lab. If we get them at that young age interested. But then you’ve got to maintain that contact. Then hopefully get them back into volunteer a little bit later. And this is hopefully going to contribute to not only building the relationship with the community here in Roanoke, but also diversify the workforce more, which is everybody is pretty keen on and supporting these days so as last.

Grace Ratley: [00:20:14] Yeah, those are experiences that those kids are going to remember for the rest of their lives.

Jamie Smyth: [00:20:19] Yeah, we do. Also, we do run an undergraduate program in the summer too. So we have a really good array of imaging equipment at the FBRI and a lot of local universities around here, sometimes it don’t have that kind of material to train undergraduates on and or prepare them for the graduate level if they’re interested in that. So we do a ten week summer program on molecular visualization, and we have students from all over America come into that, some from Virginia Tech, of course, but also local colleges that again, like I mentioned that wouldn’t have those resources. And it’s been really rewarding to see that those programs really work. And we see all of the students, the fellows move into either medical school, but also a lot of them doing PhDs now as well. And that facilitated that. That’s another further stage up, but also important I think to intervene at the undergraduate stage too.

Grace Ratley: [00:21:12] Yeah. And I imagine it’s very fulfilling given that you were inspired in your undergraduate research experience to pursue the field that you did. So it’s great to be able to reach back and pay it forward. What advice would you have for students more at maybe a graduate level or postdocs, these people who are pursuing a career in research?

Jamie Smyth: [00:21:34] Yeah, I think like I said earlier, be careful about closing doors in terms of being too focused on one particular thing especially as the graduate student postdoc thing. It’s a very difficult time. It’s a time of great uncertainty and it’s a time of intense pressure and burnout and anxiety. And some of that anxiety comes from not knowing what’s next. And so definitely, if you know what you want to do, you can focus in on that and make sure you build the appropriate for that next step. Think about you only have a certain amount of energy and make sure that whatever you’re doing is going to be measurable and develop a product that will contribute to you achieving that next step. You can often get sucked into a lot of different things, some of which are not going to appear on your CV. So mean if you want to do academia, definitely papers and grants. I mean, that’s it. First and foremost, everything else is icing. When I look at the CV, the first thing I look at the papers and grants and make a decision and then we look and see other parts of that CV. For PhD students also, I would just say get your PhD. So it’s remarkable. It’s just what you’re doing going to get your PhD. It’s great to get involved in a lot of different things, but again, make sure you’re on track with your committee, etcetera and getting that PhD because that’s ultimate goal.

Jamie Smyth: [00:22:50] You can change the world after that. And then for postdocs, this is where I’ve seen all of my friends over the years either go into academia or industry or something different. This is where I think there’s a lot of imposter syndrome. There’s a lot of that anxiety still. But I mean, part of the career is this 4 to 5 year installments of not knowing what’s next, like I said. And so for again for postdocs, it’s about not closing doors, applying even if I’m not being asked to, I would apply for funding. And building a network is huge and putting yourself out there and presenting at every opportunity you can. And like I said back at UCSF, if there’s an opportunity to interact with diverse scientific groups, do that early in my postdoc even before then. But certainly when I started the postdoc at UCSF, I had a constant sense that I was never going to become a PI and I didn’t have what it took. And then I did have an epiphany when you just suddenly realize that this is so daunting. Everybody is in the same boat. Nobody understands everything. This is where like working with people to achieve the project is what’s just now everywhere. So you can’t as a scientist basically do everything. You can’t be stuck in the corner doing your own projects and expect to move as quickly as people who have actually reached out and felt that way.

[00:24:13] But also I think just the concept, the imposter syndrome really understand that no, these people don’t know all that stuff you think they know. And that everybody’s struggling, I think is something that was really important to me and helped me have the confidence to keep going. And then the other thing is in terms of early career faculty, one of the biggest challenges that I’ve found was balancing grant writing with paper and manuscript publication. So you get stuck in this cycle of generating data for the grant and preliminary data, and then you’re not necessarily producing papers. And then there comes a point where the reviewers for those grants are going are looking for papers. And so it’s that balance is actually critical for early career assistant professors to make sure that productivity is up while still trying to get funding in. And that’s something that I think time management is important for and what is certainly also lacking in the field. That would change if I could and I think is changing is an increased focus on providing management training for academics. They train people to publish papers and write grants, but not have to deal with six different personalities and keep them productive. And each of those personalities is valid even if they’re very different to you. And so doing some training in leadership and management, I think is something that a lot of people should think about doing as postdocs, regardless of what career they end up in.

Grace Ratley: [00:25:33] That skill is very important, I think in all career fields, not just science. Yeah, and I do wonder why imposter syndrome is so prevalent in science. I feel, I mean yeah, it exists everywhere. But I feel it’s especially pervasive within especially academic science. Do you perhaps have any thoughts on that?

Jamie Smyth: [00:25:56] I don’t know either. I do think that there is a feeling in academic science to portray yourself in a way that can make others feel give other people imposter syndrome. People are so scared of showing weakness or whatever, but I would like to think that that is changing.

Grace Ratley: [00:26:15] Yeah, it’s definitely interesting. I guess the constant need to justify yourself and your science and I every time you start a conversation with someone, they’re like, okay, but why is that important? Why do connections matter?

Jamie Smyth: [00:26:30] Right. I think that’s right. So that actually the culture of training is very critical. You’re constantly being questioned and criticized and it’s all part of the training. And it’s now, as somebody who’s evaluating students, I understand it’s not about necessarily them expecting them to know everything, but it’s about trying to understand how far they’re taking their thinking. The process of getting there I think involves growth. The reason I’ve stated it’s so rewarding when you see a trainee, be they from a technician or high school students who are graduates to a postdoc who’s when you just see growth and you see that development and being part of that and helping them get to the next stage is why I’ve stuck in academia. I think more than anything, it’s an interesting career, but it’s incredibly rewarding looking back. The things, the freedom is pretty great despite all the pressure and competitiveness.

Grace Ratley: [00:27:25] And how do you cope with all of the pressure of getting grants and publishing or perishing and all of that?

Jamie Smyth: [00:27:33] So I guess this would again be going back to what to say to trainees. And it’s probably such a cliche, people hate hearing it, but I don’t take it personally anymore. I’ve learned to understand criticism and identify constructive criticism and not be emotional about stuff. And so it’s really about seeing the end goal. So with grants, yes, there’s a lot of pressure, but it’s part of the system and it’s actually a really good part of the system after a few years of being in it. Now as a PI, I understand the importance of being made to distill your ideas into a way that you can communicate them to your peers and ask them to fund your work. So the process of grant writing I now have tried to transition in my head from this horrible, stressful thing to a way of distilling my work. The other thing is I think it’s important to protect time for yourself. So in terms of time, management is very difficult in research because cells don’t know that it’s Sunday, but you can plan your work to protect time where you really need to step away from it because otherwise it just all blurs into this horrible, stressful mess and nothing gets done. And so I think it’s very important to totally step away for periods of time and then refocus. And that’s where extracurricular activities like running or sports come into it and or art or whatever it is that can stop you from being in it.

Grace Ratley: [00:28:57] Certainly and do you still create art? What sorts of hobbies do you have to help you step away from work?

Jamie Smyth: [00:29:04] I don’t do much art anymore except figures for my reviews, but I run, which I really enjoy. That’s what switches me off. I also enjoy a lot of here. We’re very fortunate to have some pretty beautiful hiking around Roanoke, and the same was back at obviously in California. But the great thing in Roanoke is it’s just outside my door. We enjoy hiking, dog. Did you just hear him bark?

Grace Ratley: [00:29:29] So perfect timing.

Jamie Smyth: [00:29:31] What else? Love food, cooking. When there’s not a pandemic, very much into traveling.

Grace Ratley: [00:29:37] That’s great. Do you have any thoughts on where you hope that your field is going?

Jamie Smyth: [00:29:43] One of the misconceptions I think from non virologists, scientists sometimes is that when a cell is infected, it’s just dying, whereas it’s not. It’s altered and it’s turned into the living state of the virus where it’s being manipulated to make more virus and I always remember somebody who is not a virologist, I was showing some image of a nucleus of an infected cell. And they were like, Well, that’s just a mess. And I was like, No, that is an exquisitely repurposed cell that I really hope non virology people get that into their head, that basically cells aren’t just dying. And it’s amazing cell biology that we can understand how cells work during this process and then just how humbling this is and how difficult it is to sometimes think about connecting these processes together is where I like non-scientists to understand what an amazing, creative and fun career this is. And if people are daunted by science or could never do that, it’s absolutely not true. And it’s something that you just need to be committed to and enjoy. People hear you’re a scientist and they suddenly get all, Oh, you must be so smart, etcetera. And that doesn’t speak to me in any way. So I think it’s more of a passion about questions and being humbled by biology than feeling that way.

Grace Ratley: [00:30:58] Thank you so much for coming on the podcast today Jamie. I had a really excellent time talking with you and thank you so much.

Jamie Smyth: [00:31:06] All right. Take care of yourself.