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The Rise in Droplet PCR | BenchTalk, Episode 12

Earlier this month, doctors announced that for the first time a baby born with an HIV infection had been cured. To verify the results, the researchers turned to a droplet digital PCR.

We speak with researchers Matthew Strain and Daniel Kuritzkes about the use of droplet digital PCR for the detection and quantification of low-level infectious pathogens.

Also, in our science round table with science writers Sarah C.P. Williams and Ashley Yeager, we discuss how the sequester could affect the number of journal retractions.


Featured in this Episode
Matthew Strain is Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Diego.
Daniel Kuritzkes is a professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Sarah C.P. Williams is a freelance science writer based out of Kailua, Hawaii. You can follow her latest work at
Ashley Yeager works in the Office of News and Communications at Duke University and is also a freelance science writer. You can follow her at
Andrew S. Wiecek is news editor at BioTechniques and host of the monthly podcast BenchTalk.You can follow him at
Episode Notes & Links

Matthew Strain Interview

  • At the University of California, San Diego, Matthew Strain is an associate professor who works with professor of pathology and medicine Douglas Richman.

  • At the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, researchers reported that a baby who was born with HIV was functionally cure of the disease, using a digital droplet PCR assay to verify that outcome.

  • In an article published in PLoS One, Strain and colleagues describe their droplet digital PCR assay for HIV detection.
Daniel Kuritzkes Interview
  • At Brigham and Women's Hospital, Kuritzkes is a professor of medicine studying HIV-1 entry inhibitors.

  • In a paper published in December 2012 in the Journal of Virology Methods, Kuritzkes and colleagues compared the sensativity of a qPCR assay and a digital droplet PCR assay.
Science Roundtable
  • Ashley Yeager wrote a feature for BioTechniques  in August 2012 on microdroplet PCR about researchers trying to access the metabolic activity of the microbes that live in the human gut.

  • Sarah C.P. Williams wrote a feature for BioTechniques in May 2012 that looked at the reliability of qPCR experiments.

  • The most popular story on BioTechniques in the past month was about the sixth retraction for leukemia research Jose Roman-Gomez.

Podcast Date: March 22 2013 Run Time:
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