Exit seminar success

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend my seminar either in person or through Zoom. I appreciate all of the support, best wishes, and friendship throughout this process. I have always said research is a team sport and I just happen to play on the best team.

Sunshine and Chloe arrive

Sunshine abounds in Columbus as we exit the 2020-2021 academic year and move towards summer. We are excited to welcome Chloe Elliott as our new undergraduate lab assistant who will be working with Dr. Paula Sundstrom on an interesting collection of oral-passaged isolates. Welcome Chloe!

Chloe Elliott

Working with Dr. Paula Sundstrom to investigate the different genotypic and phenotypic behaviors of Candida albicans.
Position:
Undergraduate Lab Assistant
Degree:
Working on BS in microbiology, minor in environmental science

In the Lit: Intraspecies Transcriptional Profiling Reveals Key Regulators of Candida albicans Pathogenic Traits

The human commensal and opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans displays extensive genetic and phenotypic variation across clinical isolates. Here, we performed RNA sequencing on 21 well-characterized isolates to examine how genetic variation contributes to gene expression differences and to link these differences to phenotypic traits. C. albicans adapts primarily through clonal evolution, and yet hierarchical clustering of gene expression profiles in this set of isolates did not reproduce their phylogenetic relationship. Strikingly, strain-specific gene expression was prevalent in some strain backgrounds. Association of gene expression with phenotypic data by differential analysis, linear correlation, and assembly of gene networks connected both previously characterized and novel genes with 23 C. albicans traits. Construction of de novo gene modules produced a gene atlas incorporating 67% of C. albicans genes and revealed correlations between expression modules and important phenotypes such as systemic virulence. Furthermore, targeted investigation of two modules that have novel roles in growth and filamentation supported our bioinformatic predictions. Together, these studies reveal widespread transcriptional variation across C. albicans isolates and identify genetic and epigenetic links to phenotypic variation based on coexpression network analysis.

Wang JM*, Woodruff AL*, Dunn MJ, Fillinger RJ, Bennett RJ, Anderson MZ. 2021. Intraspecies transcriptional profiling reveals key regulators of Candida albicans pathogenic traits. mBio 12:e00586-21. https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00586-21.

An official welcome to Emily Simonton

As we move into the warmer weather and with vaccination opening up to all in Ohio, we are very excited to welcome Emily Simonton, our newest graduate student. Emily attended Capital University here in Columbus to obtain their undergraduate degree and while this rotation cycle certainly was unique, they have already adapted and are fitting right in. Welcome Emily! We all look forward to sharing in science and social with you.

Emily Simonton

Continuation with and development of research projects related to the TLO expanded gene family
Position:
Graduate Student
Degree:
Capital University, B.A. in Biology with a minor in Criminology

In the Lit: High-dose saccharin supplementation does not induce gut microbiota changes or glucose intolerance in healthy humans and mice

Non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NCAS) are widely used as a substitute for dietary sugars to control body weight or glycemia. Paradoxically, some interventional studies in humans and rodents have shown unfavorable changes in glucose homeostasis in response to NCAS consumption. The causative mechanisms are largely unknown, but adverse changes in gut microbiota have been proposed to mediate these effects. These findings have raised concerns about NCAS safety and called into question their broad use, but further physiological and dietary considerations must be first addressed before these results are generalized. We also reasoned that, since NCAS are bona fide ligands for sweet taste receptors (STRs) expressed in the intestine, some metabolic effects associated with NCAS use could be attributed to a common mechanism involving the host.

https://microbiomejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40168-020-00976-w

Serrano J, Smith KR, Crouch AL, Sharma V, Yi F, Vargova V, LaMoia TE, Dupont LM, Serna V, Tang F, Gomes-Dias L, Blakeslee JJ, Hatzakis E, Peterson SN, Anderson M, Pratley RE, Kyriazis GA. High-dose saccharin supplementation does not induce gut microbiota changes or glucose intolerance in healthy humans and mice. Microbiome. 2021 Jan 12;9(1):11. doi: 10.1186/s40168-020-00976-w. PMID: 33431052; PMCID: PMC7802287.

Postdoctoral Researcher position open

The Anderson lab is seeking a Postdoctoral Researcher to join our team. Applicants to this position will be working as part of a collaborative project to determine how evolution acts on function of individual paralogs in a human fungal pathogen Candida albicans gene family. This work will require an understanding of general genetic and evolutionary concepts but applicants with diverse perspectives covering a range of biological approaches including genetics and genomics, evolutionary biology, molecular biology, cell biology, microbiology, and bioinformatics that hold a Ph.D. in a biological/biomedical field are encouraged to apply. Basic molecular biology skills will be required and applicants will ideally be situated to enter with some experience in bioinformatics or large dataset analysis. Willingness to learn these approaches including mastery of scripting languages (Python or R) will be required. This position is seeking an individual for a minimum of a three year time commitment and may continue for longer periods. Please explore this site for a more complete description of our research group.

We highly encourage applicants from underrepresented groups to apply. Our group holds up the importance of diverse life experiences and viewpoints to strengthen the whole of our group.

Welcoming our first Postdoctoral Scholar

We are very excited to welcome Dr. Abhishek Mishra to the lab as our first postdoctoral scholar. Abhishek joins us from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune, where he conducted his work in the Population Biology Laboratory led by Dr. Sutirth Dey. There, Abhishek published substantially on work aiming to define dispersal ecology and evolution and how it shapes population dynamics, biological invasions, range expansions, and community assembly. Abhishek joins the lab having been awarded funding support from The Ohio State University President’s Postdoctoral Scholars Program. Welcome!

Abhishek Mishra


mishra.266@osu.edu
Pathogenesis in C. albicans using quantitative genetics, transcriptional networking, and experimental evolution.
Position:
Postdoctoral Scholar
Degree:
PhD and Integrated BS-MS (IISER Pune, India)

Award Announcement – Career 2046863 to Dr. Matthew Anderson

Dr. Matthew Anderson was recently awarded NSF Career 2046863 for the work entitled “Paralog function following rapid gene family expansion in Candida albicans.”

This project seeks to determine how multiple genes that all arose recently from a single gene establish their function when other copies of that gene are present. Nearly all genes in every organism on the planet arose from previously existing genes and not from DNA that lacked function. As this process repeats, a large set of highly similar genes can form a gene family that often give an organism certain advantages in adapting to its specific lifestyle. For example, yeasts used in brewing have expanded gene families for fermentation and humans have expanded genes for being able to distinguish between good and rotten food. A gene family in the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans called the telomere-associated (TLO) gene family has expanded from 1 to 14 copies and is an ideal system to test how functions of individual members of gene families are shaped by the presence of many genetically and functionally similar genes. This project will generate large datasets and highlights the needs for people to be trained in analysis. This project will therefore also train Indigenous students in bioinformatics through a summer workshop to promote data sovereignty and Indigenous research capacity.

This project will begin to address the concept of Ohno’s Dilemma in a large gene family, how function evolves when multiple other similar genes are present. We will use the TLO genes from C. albicans to find how each gene holds individual or overlapping functions with other genes in the gene family. Molecular and organismal functions will be determined for these genes using strains missing single genes of the gene family and strains lacking all TLO genes except for one. Strains lacking single genes will define the amount of overlap in gene functions, and strains containing single genes will determine the range of function for each gene.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=2046863&HistoricalAwards=false

In the Lit: High-dose saccharin supplementation does not induce gut microbiota changes or glucose intolerance in healthy humans and mice

Non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NCAS) are widely used as a substitute for dietary sugars to control body weight or glycemia. Paradoxically, some interventional studies in humans and rodents have shown unfavorable changes in glucose homeostasis in response to NCAS consumption. The causative mechanisms are largely unknown, but adverse changes in gut microbiota have been proposed to mediate these effects. These findings have raised concerns about NCAS safety and called into question their broad use, but further physiological and dietary considerations must be first addressed before these results are generalized. We also reasoned that, since NCAS are bona fide ligands for sweet taste receptors (STRs) expressed in the intestine, some metabolic effects associated with NCAS use could be attributed to a common mechanism involving the host.

https://microbiomejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40168-020-00976-w