Congrats to Steven Ahrendt who successfully defended his PhD Dissertation this week. Graduation ceremony (and pictures) to follow next weekend before he moves on to his postdoc position at UC Berkeley/LBNL/JGI at the end of the month.
The end of the quarter was a blur but I wanted to properly congratulate Yizhou Wang. Dr Wang successfully defended his PhD in December and submitted his dissertation “Discovery and Properties of Small RNAs from Meiotic Silencing by Unpaired DNA in Neurospora crassa” in the Plant Biology graduate program. He is our newest graduate from the lab and we couldn’t be happier and proud for him. He was able to complete a concentration MS in Statistics at the same time and was able to master bioinformatics and data analysis of next generation sequencing and comparative genomics along with small RNA Northerns, Southern Blots, and Neurospora culturing and care. He has been a great asset to the lab and I am delighted that he has finished this part of his education and training and excited for his next steps.
He is serious about his cooking, treating us to some great meals from BBQ to a Chinese seafood extravaganza.
Rod, Ousmane, Nichole, Jinfeng, Jason and family went on a short hike to Big Falls in Forest Falls. A few pictures of the fun.
A new NSF funded project on Zygomycete fungi was recently funded. The press release from UCR and NSF provide some more information on the scope of the project and the goals of the new Genealogy of Life initiative at the NSF.
We’ll be sharing news, data and protocols, and progress on the project website ZyGoLife.org and @zygolife and looking to recruit one graduate student and some undergraduates to work on the projects in our lab focused on genomics and phylogenomic studies of these diverse lineages.
I had the great opportunity to attend the International Mycological Congress 10 in Bangkok, Thailand during this summer. It was filled with talks from mycologists studying cell biology, genetics, evolution, symbioses, ecology, production of secondary metabolites, and many other aspects of mycology from across the world. It was a great chance to hear about new work in many different experimental systems. I chaired a session on Population Genomics and GWAS in Fungi and got to hear some great perspectives and approaches on model and non-model systems. I presented my talk on data analysis tools in metagenomics. I got to catch up with many friends/collaborators/colleagues and meet some new folks.
I’m jealous of the folks who got to take some of the post-conference excursions through Thailand or ventured even further to Laos and Cambodia. Hopefully next trip to this area I’ll have the chance to explore more.
Congrats to Divya and Jason as our paper with collaborators Hugo Melida and Vincent Bulone: Deciphering the uniqueness of Mucoromycotina cell walls by combining biochemical and phylogenomic approaches is now available at Environmental Microbiology. We discovered in this work that two Mucoromycotina species have novel fucose sugar composition in their cell walls which is not found in other Fungi. We also identify expansions and unique subfamilies of Chitin synthase genes.
Also a welcome to Greg Gu who is joining us after working as a specialist in Plant Pathology. Greg is transitioning to bioinformatics to work on fungal identification from environmental sequencing using bioinformatics approaches and will support our work to build a database for ITS sequences as part of the Sloan project’s Microbiome of the Built Environment.
Congratulations to Divya who was awarded the Guru Gobind Singh Fellowship for 2012-13! This fellowship is awarded to one graduate student in the UC system who is a student of an Indian or Pakistani university and committed to returning to her country of origin after receiving her doctoral degree at a UC campus. This is a great honor and we’re all proud of Divya for applying for and receiving the award. An article in UCR Today describes her work and the award.
Congratulations to PhD candidate Divya Sain, who just learned she will be awarded a Guru Gobind Singh Fellowship for 2012-2013. In 1988 the University of California established an endowment to support graduate fellowships (named for Guru Gobind Singh, the Sikh religious leader) to be awarded to graduates of universities in a specific area of India and Pakistan for the purpose of pursuing graduate study at the University of California.
Way to go Divya!