A fungus killer named after Keanu Reeves was recently trending in the mainstream news. It gained traction because it was named after Keanu Reeves, but how it works and why it may prove very beneficial for humans, and those we share the world with, got lost in adoration for Keanu. Still, and from a scientific communications perspective, the researchers who discovered the fungus-killing compound got their research to go viral because they named it after a celebrity. It is difficult for research to get noticed in the news. More notice bring more interest and possible more funding to pursue more studies. So I must give props to the research team for coming up with a clever way, whether on purpose or not, to get their research noticed. I am told Keanu heard about it and, as his adoring fans would expect, he wondered why it wasn’t named after John Wick. Well, that question will get answered in a recent podcast I recorded and posted.
In this episode of Causes or Cures, I chat with Dr. Sebastian Goetze on his and his team’s discovery of fungi-killing compounds. You can read the study here in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. In the podcast, Dr. Goetze will describe the need for anti-fungals, particularly in a world experiencing an “anitmicrobial crisis.” He will walk us through how they discovered the compounds, break down the chemistry, and teach us what “gene mining” means. He will discuss how these “Keanumycins” may be beneficial for our health (and the Earth’s health), the difficult process of developing an anti-fungal drug and any safety issues. It was a fun and organic conversation, and I learned a lot too. While a fungus killer named after Keanue Reeves is cool and trending, paying attention to the antimicrobrial crisis, which he will describe in the podcast, is very much worth your time….especially if you care about things like self preservation.
Dr. Goetze is a scientist at the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology. You can learn more about him and see his publications here.
If you want to learn more about the fungus killer named after Keanu Reeves, please click here.
If that’s not your cup of team, check out some of the other episodes, including the one on finding the cause for the mysterious Havana Syndrome impacting the intel community.
And for those who asked, yes, I dialed back my interaction on social media some. I guess it goes up and down. Sometimes I feel like engaging in online chatter is far more taxing and unproductive than, say, writing a blog, writing my newsletter or writing a few pages more in a book I’m working on. Speaking of my newsletter, you can sign up here. I share essays I write about health topics, particularly related to public health and scientific communication/misinformation/the war on misinformation.