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.
Welcome to Edward Liaw who will start working on FungiDB for the genome. Edward joins us after finishing a MS in Bioinformatics at UC Santa Cruz.
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.
Several postdocs have joined the group in the last few months, though I’ve been remiss to make an announcement.
Dr Sofia Robb, who completed her PhD at the University of Utah, joined the lab in August 2011 and has been working on the NSF funded Rice transposable element project in collaboration with Susan Wessler’s lab. She has already developed a new tool for identification of TEs from high throughput sequencing which we are employing on several varieties of rice and expanding it to be a more general purpose tool. Sofia is also co-developing teaching modules for the Dynamic Genomes course.
Dr Brad Cavinder, who completed his PhD at Michigan State University, joined the lab in January 2012 and is working on transposable elements in mosquitoes as part of the WM Keck funded project to identify and utilize active TEs as molecular tools in mosquitoes.
A third new member of the lab, Peng Liu who completed her PhD at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, will start in February to work on molecular characterization of some pathogenesis factors in the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.
Congrats to graduate student Yizhou Wang who passed his qualifying exam today. We’re proud to have him through this hurdle and to continue working on his research into genome defense and silencing of transposable elements in Neurospora crassa.
Our community sequencing project at the JGI was awarded which will allow a consortium of researchers to sequence 1000 fungal genomes through the DOE’s Joint Genome Institute. The intention is to sample two species from every major lineage of Fungi.
Some press releases on the project below and we will coordinate it through several websites including a forum for discussion about potential species beyond the target list.
We wished postdoc John Abramyan a farewell and happy trails last week. He was the first postdoc to join the lab and completed a projects relating to Bd, chytrid cell wall genes, and some a gene regulation bioinformatics project. He also was main force in getting the experimental portion of our lab started when the group was established. John is moving on to work on vertebrate evolutionary questions at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, CANADA. We’ll miss having him in the lab and wish him much luck in his next adventure.