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Front Page podcast: In a time of public health uncertainty, UW-Madison researchers look to the stars for new therapeutics

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Tubes of phage and E.coli

A tube of frozen bacteria and phages, viruses that infect bacteria, in Vatsan Raman's lab is similar to tubes he is sending to the International Space Station.

On the 10th episode of Front Page, as antibiotic-resistant bacterium become more prevalent, rendering antibiotics useless for a growing number of illnesses, researchers at UW-Madison are exploring phages as an alternative therapeutic.

Scientists have begun to work with phages, viruses that kill bacteria but don’t appear to harm humans, and Dr. Vatsan Raman’s lab will go the extra thousands of miles as researchers launch phages and e.coli into orbit, aboard the International Space Station, to see how the microorganisms interact in micro-gravity.

The cargo spacecraft, with phages on board, launched Saturday.

Visit to check out David Wahlberg’s article to learn more about the phage journey into space.

Front Page is the State Journal’s new weekly podcast that takes a look behind the scenes of some of the newspaper’s most interesting stories.

In this podcast series, listeners can hear reporters talk about the heartwarming, heartbreaking and hard-hitting news they cover on a regular basis.

Visit to hear a new episode of Front Page every Monday. You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify.


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