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Event Date: 
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - 19:00 - 19:15
Institution: 
CSIRO
Title: 

Animating the Gut Microbiome

Abstract: 

Animation can be a powerful way to inspire and educate people with science. Creating biomedical animations which depict advanced scientific concepts in a clear way requires 2 main considerations, 1) rigorous investigation of the underlying science, and 2) careful development of the story to express the ideas in a meaningful way.

In this talk Christopher Hammang will present his first biomedical animation “The Hungry Microbiome”. He will explore the challenges involved in animating the human gut microbiome and the unique insight gained from creating an animation about resistant starch. The talk will also explore the workflow and technology which can be used to create these biomedical animations, as well as a brief review of the science underlying resistant starch research.

 

Reference: JOB415
Application deadline: CLOSED

Thanks to the JAMS faithful for coming out to the Australian Museum last night. The ranks were slightly depleted given the large contingents that are at the ISME conference in Korea this week. No matter, more pizza for all. In the short presentations Robert Moran gave a great account of his work on plasmid and resistance determinants in E. coli lineages in the human gut and Igy Pang from UNSW presented his work on gene co-expression networks underlying synergistic antifungal treatments. In the long presentation by Michael Gillings from Macquarie University results were presented that send an ominous warning of how global antibiotic use is affecting evolution. Michael gave a rivetting account of how microbiology is fused with the Anthropocene. FInally a massive congratulations to JAMS co-founder Professer Ian Paulson from Macquarie University for being awarded an Australian Laureate Fellowship. Our very own home grown legend.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 19:00 - 20:00
Institution: 
Macquarie University
Title: 

"Xenbiotics and Xenogenetics: Human Influence over Microbial Evolution"

Abstract: 

The extent of human effects on planetary and biological processes means that we are now the world’s greatest evolutionary force. Perhaps the best example of human driven selection is the rapid evolution of antibiotic resistance in a wide range of bacterial pathogens. Continued antibiotic use has resulted in the assembly of complex DNA molecules composed of diverse resistance determinants and mobile elements, each with independent phylogenetic origins. These novel plasmids, transposons, integrons and genomic islands are xenogenetic, in that they have arisen in human-dominated ecosystems as a direct result of human activity. Xenogenetic elements are being released via human waste streams along with significant quantities of selective agents and other xenobiotic compounds, creating environmental reactors that foster even more complex interactions between genes, mobile elements and diverse bacterial species. Saturation of the environment with selective agents is also likely to increase the basal rates of mutation, recombination and lateral gene transfer in all bacterial species. Consequently, the antibiotic revolution may now be having unintended, second order consequences that will affect the entire microbial biosphere.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 18:15 - 18:30
Institution: 
UNSW
Title: 

Analysis of gene co-expression networks reveals mechanisms underlying synergistic antifungal treatment in S. cerevisiae

Abstract: 

 
Background: Fungal pathogens are difficult to treat. There are few effective antifungal drugs available, and resistance is emerging. Iron chelators are promising synergents due to the importance of iron availability during host infection, but the mechanistic role of antifungal-chelator combinations is poorly understood. The project analyses cellular pathways that are differentially expressed during the synergistic response to elucidate the mechanisms and targets of drug-chelator treatment.
Method: To measure the effect of synergistic treatment on the S. cerevisiae transcriptome, cells were treated with i) amphotericin B only; ii) a combination of amphotericin B + lactoferrin, an iron chelator; and iii & iv) corresponding matching controls. RNA-seq data were generated using Illumina HiSeq 2000 with biological triplicates multiplexed and randomized across two sequencing lanes. Differential expression analyses were performed using EdgeR, and the results were co-visualized with biological networks using Cytoscape.
Results: Amphotericin B alone resulted in the down-regulation of nine genes involved in ergosterol biosynthesis and the up-regulation of AFT1, a transcription factor involved in iron transport. Amphotericin B + lactoferrin co-treatment halted AFT1 up-regulation and down-regulated genes involved in iron transport. These genes were co-expressed with YAP5, a second transcription factor that co-ordinates the expression of genes that control the nuclear localization of AFT1 and also governs the expression of oxidative stress response genes.

A big thanks to everyone who turned up to celebrate Microbiology at the Australian Museum last night. With 70 people in attendance (including a contingent from Osaka Prefectural Semboku High School) the pizza and drinks didn't last long. Jessica Tout (JAMS annual symposium JPP poster prize winner 2014) and Deepa gave excellent presentations before we were treated to a visual spectacular by Cynthia Whitchurch resolving the inner workings of biofilm biology and public good release by bacteria. Thanks also to Tim Williams and Sabrina Beckmann for running pizzas and beers for the event. Finally, if you're keen to help out at the JAMS desk during the Australian Museum Science Festival plese contact Ani Penesyan (anahit.penesyan@mq.edu.au). Glorious. See you in August.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 18:15 - 18:30
Institution: 
Macquarie University
Title: 

Effect of Low Temperature on Tropical and Temperate Isolates of Marine Synechococcus.

Abstract: 

An abundant and globally occurring marine picocyanobacterium, the genus Synechococcus is an important player in oceanic primary production and global carbon cycling. In the complex marine environment, this widespread organism has evolved to successfully colonize and inhabit different environmental niches. Their biogeographic distribution suggests that Synechococcus ecotypes exhibit thermal niche preferences. Temperature is a key environmental variable and the elucidation of the temperature stress acclimation in members of this genus can shed light on the molecular mechanisms involved in their adaptive capability. The growth of four representative Synechococcus isolates of various ecotypes from tropical and temperate regions were monitored under various temperature conditions. This revealed drastic differences in growth rates in correlation with their thermal niche preferences. The temperate strains CC9311 and BL107 displayed higher growth rates at lower temperatures while tropical strains WH8102 and WH8109 grew better at higher temperatures. In order to further elucidate their thermal niche preference, the molecular factors influencing the temperature-related growth patterns were explored through global proteomic analysis of WH8102 and BL107. Whole cell lysates of the strains grown at different temperature conditions were fractionated using 1D SDS-PAGE and analysed using label-free quantitative proteomics. Protein identifications provided 27% and 40% coverage of the whole genome for WH8102 and BL107, respectively. Quantitation of protein expression revealed 22% and 20% of the identified proteins were differentially expressed in WH8102 and BL107, respectively. The results were further investigated using qRT-PCR and PAM fluorometry. Differential expression revealed that low temperature appeared to have a significant effect on the photosynthetic machinery. The light harvesting components, phycobilisomes exhibited a reduced expression which could be the result of protein degradation due to photo-oxidative damage and/or as a mechanism to restore the energy balance disturbed as a consequence of low temperature. The lowered phycobilisome expression is found to be a common low temperature-related response between the tropical and temperate isolates. Within the photosynthetic reaction centres, differences in the expression of some core proteins were observed between the two isolates. The expression of core proteins could correlate with the efficiency of repair mechanisms involved in the replacement of photo-damaged core proteins. This differential expression sheds light on the underlying factors which potentially influence the differences in the thermal ranges of tropical and temperate isolates.

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