Summer 2023 update

As we close out an eventful Spring semester, we are excited to announce a number of updates for this summer:

1. Lab attends the Candida and Candidiasis 2023 meeting. The lab traveled to Montreal to attend the focused meeting organized by The Microbiology Society. Dr. Anderson presented a talk at the meeting, while Emily and Andrew presented posters for their projects.

2. Sierra Rowe joins the lab for the summer. We welcome our newest summer undergraduate researcher, Sierra, from the Fayetteville State University. Sierra is earning her Bachelor’s degree in Organismal Biology, and will be working alongside Andrew and Shane on the TLO project. We are excited to have you here, and hope you have an enriching summer experience. Welcome, Sierra!

3. The lab is moving to University of Wisconsin-Madison. A major update is that the lab is transitioning to UW Madison this August! There, we will be a part of the Center for Genomic Science Innovation. While we have cherished our time at OSU, we look forward to our new home in Madison, where we plan to continue working on the different aspects of pathogenesis in C. albicans as well as the eukaryome. Also, as a part of this move, we plan to hire at all levels. Please get in touch with Dr. Matt Anderson if you are looking to join the lab as a postdoc, a grad student, or a lab technician!

New Year 2023 update

As the new year rolls in, we are excited to welcome another rotation student, James, to the lab. James is a computational biologist who will be lending his expertise to projects in both Candida pathogenesis and the eukaryome space. We extend a very warm welcome to James along with wishes for a very Happy New Year to everyone!

James Riddell V

Building out and scaling in-house bioinformatics scripts into automated pipelines for: 1) identifying microbial eukaryote sequences from metagenomic samples, and 2) analysis of genetic variance across multiple strains.
Rotation Student
BS University of California – San Diego: Marine Biology (major), Data Science (minor)

In the Lit: Architectural groups of a subtelomeric gene family evolve along distinct paths in Candida albicans

Subtelomeres are dynamic genomic regions shaped by elevated rates of recombination, mutation, and gene birth/death. These processes contribute to formation of lineage-specific gene family expansions that commonly occupy subtelomeres across eukaryotes. Investigating the evolution of subtelomeric gene families is complicated by the presence of repetitive DNA and high sequence similarity among gene family members that prevents accurate assembly from whole genome sequences. Here, we investigated the evolution of the telomere-associated (TLO) gene family in Candida albicans using 189 complete coding sequences retrieved from 23 genetically diverse strains across the species. Tlo genes conformed to the 3 major architectural groups (α/β/γ) previously defined in the genome reference strain but significantly differed in the degree of within-group diversity. One group, Tloβ, was always found at the same chromosome arm with strong sequence similarity among all strains. In contrast, diverse Tloα sequences have proliferated among chromosome arms. Tloγ genes formed 7 primary clades that included each of the previously identified Tloγ genes from the genome reference strain with 3 Tloγ genes always found on the same chromosome arm among strains. Architectural groups displayed regions of high conservation that resolved newly identified functional motifs, providing insight into potential regulatory mechanisms that distinguish groups. Thus, by resolving intraspecies subtelomeric gene variation, it is possible to identify previously unknown gene family complexity that may underpin adaptive functional variation.

Dunn, M. J., Shazib, S. U., Simonton, E., Slot, J. C., Anderson, M. Z. Architectural groups of a subtelomeric gene family evolve along distinct paths in Candida albicans. G3 Genes|Genomes|Genetics, 12(12), jkac283 (2022).

Welcoming the next round of rotation students

Amid peak fall weather and Halloween celebrations, we welcome the next round of PhD students for their rotation projects in Anderson Lab. Megan from Massachusetts and Stephanie from Maryland have joined us through the Microbiology PhD program at OSU. Welcome, and hope you both have a fantastic time in the lab!

Megan Hill

Studying the human-associated mycobiome
Rotation PhD student (Microbiology)
Clemson University, B.S. in Biochemistry with a double minor in Microbiology and Life Sciences

Stephanie Majernik

Studying the oxidative stress response in aneuploid Candida albicans
Rotation PhD student (Microbiology)
Pennsylvania State University, B.S. in Microbiology

CZI Science Diversity Leadership Award to Dr. Anderson

Dr. Matt Anderson has been awarded the Science Diversity Leadership Award by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (in partnership with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine). Dr. Anderson, who is among the inaugural list of awardees for this award, was awarded this grant for his project entitled “Defining the Microbial Eukaryote Contributions to Rheumatoid Arthritis in American Indians.” This project will identify microbial eukaryotes associated with elevated rheumatoid arthritis incidence in Northern Plains American Indian communities and test taxa for disease outcomes. Congratulations, Matt!

Welcoming new members – Autumn 2022

It is that time of the year when we welcome the first cohort of PhD students doing their rotation projects in Anderson Lab. Caitlin from Oregon and Lieselotte from Belgium have joined us through the Microbiology PhD program at OSU. In addition, we are also joined by our newest undergraduate researcher, Mehrukh Sofi, who is pursuing her bachelors in Neuroscience at OSU. Welcome, everyone, and hope you all have a fantastic time in the lab!

Caitlin Wingerd

Genetics of C. albicans pathogenesis
Rotation PhD student (Microbiology)
Linfield University, B.S. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry

Lieselotte Peeters

Studying the human-associated microbiome
Rotation PhD student (Microbiology)
B.S. in Biomedical Sciences
Masters in Biomedical Sciences, Basic and Translational Research
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

Mehrukh Sofi

Genetics of pathogenesis in Candida albicans
Undergraduate researcher
Bachelors in Neuroscience, The Ohio State University

NIH T32 pre-doctoral fellowship to Audra Crouch

Audra Crouch was awarded a pre-doctoral fellowship under the “Interdisciplinary Program in Microbe-Host Biology” NIH/NIAID T32 Training Grant, jointly administered by the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) and Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity (MI&I) at The Ohio State University. Apart from covering the graduate school stipend, tuition and fees, the fellowship also includes funds for travel to one scientific meeting per year. We congratulate Audra on this very well-deserved recognition of her scientific acumen as a researcher!

End of Summer 2022 update

As Summer 2022 draws to a close and we welcome the Autumn 2022 semester, we are excited to announce a number of updates:

1. Dr. Matthew Anderson received his promotion to Associate Professor with tenure! In the tenure communication, The Ohio State university recognized the excellent services rendered by Dr. Anderson in the areas of teaching, research, and creative activities. Dr. Anderson joined OSU in 2016 and has since mentored (including current lab members) six PhD students, two postdocs, and several lab technicians and undergraduate researchers. Dr. Anderson has also been serving as the co-chair of the Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) committee for the Department of Microbiology. Congratulations on the very well-deserved promotion, Matt!

2. Our lab manager extraordinaire, Anna Mackey, has joined Duke University to start her PhD! While we will sorely miss Anna and her skills and energy in the lab, we are excited for the next steps in her already stellar scientific career. We also bid farewell to our undergraduate researchers, Maria Gabriela Santos and Abigail Ali, after an extremely productive and fun summer. The lab had a farewell barbecue party at Highbanks Metro Park in Lewis Center, OH. Congratulations and good luck, everyone!

3. The lab participated in the 2022 edition of Midwest Neglected Infectious Diseases Meeting at University of Notre Dame. The graduate students (Andrew Woodruff, Emily Simonton, and Dale Lingo) presented posters at the meeting, while Dr. Anderson and Abhishek Mishra (postdoc) presented talks. We had a great time driving down to South Bend, IN, and meeting mycology and parasitology researchers from multiple institutes in the midwest!

Welcoming our new Postdoctoral Scholar

The Anderson Lab extends a warm welcome to Dr. Shahed Shazib, who joined us as a postdoc in June 2022. Shahed completed his PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Ulsan (South Korea) and had a postdoctoral stint at Smith College, Northampton (Massachusetts). Among other things, he brings in with him a good deal of phylogenetics experience, making him a great fit for the extended gene family project on TLOs.

Shahed Uddin Ahmed Shazib
Investigating the evolution of individual paralogs within the telomere associated (TLO) gene family and the phenotypic effects of individual TLO genes in Candida albicans.
Post-doctoral Scholar
University of Chittagong, Bangladesh (B. Sc, M. Sc in Microbiology)
University of Ulsan, South Korea (Ph. D in Biological Science)

NIH F31 Award to Andrew Woodruff

Andrew Woodruff has been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (F31) from NIH for his proposal entitled:
“Defining the role of the TLO gene family in Candida albicans parasexual processes”

As part of this project, Andrew will study the evolutionarily expanded telomere-associated (TLO) gene family in C. albicans. In addition to examining the overall role of the TLO gene family in white-opaque phenotypic switching, the project also aims to delineate the regulatory impact of individual TLO paralogs on parasexual mating. This project promises to be one of the most comprehensive studies on gene family evolution and diversification in fungal pathogens. We are excited for the fascinating questions being investigated by Andrew and proud of him for developing such an outstanding proposal. Many congratulations, Andrew!