BIOLOGY & BIOTECHNOLOGY/BIOINFORMATICS & COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY JOINT SEMINAR
"Using Nematode Genomics to Decipher Parasitism and Conserved Unknown Genes"
Dr. Erich Marquard Schwarz
Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics
Host: Assistant Professor Jagan Srinivasan
Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at 4:15 p.m.
My colleagues and I use nematode genomics to study two questions: how can we use genomics to understand and control parasitic nematodes? and, how can we use genomics to find important genes that nobody has studied? To answer the first question, we sequenced an hookworm genome of 313 Mb, with transcriptomic data throughout infection showing expression of 30,738 genes. These genes encode stage-specific, secreted proteins that could be immunological decoys; but they also encode a smaller set of targets, currently being tested as vaccine antigens. To answer the second question, we computed a census of "conserved unknown" gene families conserved between humans, Caenorhabditis elegans and other model organisms. This identified 160 gene families with 186 C. elegans genes; 20 of these genes are required for UTSE cell migration. We expect further study to identify functions for many uncharacterized genes crucial to human biology.