Category Archives: news

New Zygomycete evolution project in lab

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.

IMC10 – Bangkok, Thailand

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.

2014-08-06 17.54.21 2014-08-05 06.50.26 2014-08-03 14.08.02 2014-08-06 18.00.21-2 2014-08-06 18.41.31

Mucoromycotina cell wall paper published

Congrats to Divya and Jason as our paper with collaborators Hugo Melida and Vincent BuloneDeciphering 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.

Fig1_Mucormycotinacellwall

Welcome new team members

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.

Divya awarded Guru Gobind Singh Fellowship

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.

Divya wins fellowship

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!

Welcome new postdocs

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.