Episode Summary

Dr. Didier Raoult considers himself a “microbe fisher”, always “fishing” to discover new microbes.  He says that in order to fish successfully, you need to first create the correct fishing pole (tools), and then fish in places where no one else is fishing.  

Dr. Raoult is the Director of the Mediterranean Infection Foundation at the Aix-Marseille University, France, and he has “caught” a number of unique microbes over the course of his career, including giant viruses.  

He’s also “caught” a number of bacteria responsible for various diseases, including the causative agent of Whipple’s disease, and he even has two bacteria named after him.  

Dr. Raoult talks about what is special about giant viruses, how he found the bacterium that causes Whipple’s disease, the challenges of trying to get uncultured bacteria like Rickettsia to grow in the lab, and how he would be sailing if he weren’t a microbiologist. 

microTalk recorded this discussion with Dr. Raoult at the American Society for Microbiology Microbe 2018 meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, and we're pleased to be joined by ASM’s Meet the Microbiologist host Julie Wolf. 

The microCase for listeners to solve is about Laguna Beech, a yoga instructor whose young son comes down with a life-threatening illness while she’s at a yoga ashram in India.


  • Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Didier Raoult, M.D., Ph.D. (Aix-Marseille University)
  • Janakiram Seshu, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Jesus Romo, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Julie Wolf, Ph.D. (ASM)
  • Mylea Echazarreta (UTSA)

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