Monthly Archive for December, 2010

Holiday Art

In a relatively unknown place, on the 3rd floor of JCVI in Rockville, MD, is a small fungal room where art meets science (and of course where all our fungal research takes place). Fungus often gets such a bad reputation for being gross and somewhat ‘standard’. We fungal folks know better and I am hoping to educate others with the underlying beauty that fungi possess, in a funky way. I recognize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I felt this might convince some that fungus can be fun and not just something that grows in the back of your fridge or a nuisance that contaminates your plates. Please enjoy these funky fungal holiday art forms.

Fungal Christmas tree. Top: Talaromyces stipitatus; Tree: Aspergillus nidulans; Ornaments: Penicillium marneffei; Trunk: Aspergillus terreus.

Fungal Christmas tree. Top: Talaromyces stipitatus; Tree: Aspergillus nidulans; Ornaments: Penicillium marneffei; Trunk: Aspergillus terreus.

Fungal snowman. Hat, Eyes, Mouth, Buttons: Aspergillus niger; Arms: Aspergillus nidulans; Nose: Aspergillus terreus with Penicillium marneffei; Body: Neosartorya fischeri.

Fungal snowman. Hat, Eyes, Mouth, Buttons: Aspergillus niger; Arms: Aspergillus nidulans; Nose: Aspergillus terreus with Penicillium marneffei; Body: Neosartorya fischeri.

Fungal Christmas Tree.

Fungal Christmas Tree.

I am open to suggestions and only limited by my own creativity (and of course my current work load) but never by the diversity of the very cool fungal world.

Insights gained from influenza genomic sequence data: frequent intrasubtype reassortment

Studies using whole genomic influenza sequence data produced by the Influenza Genome Sequencing Project (IGSP) have focused mainly on influenza evolution and epidemiology. For instance, IGSP data has provided important insight into the frequency of intrasubtype reassortment (in which reassortment occurs between different segments of the Influenza genome). The data suggests that reassortment occurs frequently, leading to viruses with altered antigenic properties that may evade current vaccines. Thus, it is useful to study not only the HA and NA segments that produce the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase proteins that sit on the surface of the virion and interact with host cells, but the whole viral genome, as this provides a complete picture of the emergence of the virus (E.C. Holmes, 2009).

The significance of intrasubtype reassortment for strain emergence was shown by the appearance of the new strain of Influenza H1N1 in 2009, which is a reassortant virus containing multiple swine influenza lineages.

In the October 2010 publication by Ilyushina et al, they show that despite the lack of detection thus far in humans, viable seasonal/pandemic Influenza virus reassortants can be generated in a laboratory setting. Their study showed that intrasubtype reassortment is able to occur between seasonal H3N2 and pandemic H1N1 viruses, potentially leading to the emergence of a strain with higher virulence.

2011 Internship Program Updated

The 2011 JCVI Internship Program is open to accept spring and summer applications. The application process includes the submission of a resume, essay and transcripts as one PDF file via our online application site. We no longer require letters of recommendation.

Information about the 2011 program can be found at http://www.jcvi.org/cms/education/internship-program/

Hopefully this winter, we won’t be hit with two MAJOR snow storms in Maryland that shut all the schools, the federal government and JCVI down for several days the week applications were due! I don’t think they are calling for much snow this year in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Of course, that is not a problem for our colleagues in San Diego.

JCVI Rockville February 2010

JCVI Rockville February 2010

Some interesting facts about the summer internships from last year:

366 applicants applied online
44 Interns were selected:

8 high school students
19 undergraduate students
13 graduate students
4 secondary teachers

12 of the 44 were in San Diego and 32 in Rockville

The intern projects ranged across the Institute:

  • Shewanella oneidensis Growth in Chemostats
  • Purification and Characterization of a Pyrenoid Localized Decarboxylase
  • M. mycoides Minimalization: Combinatorial Assembly
  • Molecular Detection of Temperate Phages and Lysogens in the Marine Environment
  • Comparing the Performance of Short-Read Genome Assemblers
  • Phylogenetic Analysis of Cecal Microbiota in Alcohol-Induced Dysbacteriotic Mice, and Comparison of Pyrosequencing and Sanger Sequencing Technologies
  • Laboratory Research and Environmental Health & Safety (included making a safety video)
  • The Role of Accounting

Good luck to all the applicants this year!