I'm very happy to announce that the DFG will fund my project
"What makes a symbiont succeed?
The role of host shifts in arthropod symbiont evolution."
under their Emmy Noether Programme. I'll be establishing my group in Germany soon. Stay tuned for more details, including updates on open positions.
Our work on Spiroplasma evolution in Drosophila is now available as a preprint here. This is the first publication from my postdoctoral work with Greg Hurst at the University of Liverpool. It was also a very nice collaboration with great people from Liverpool, Texas A&M and EPFL. The work was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program under Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement 703379.
Spiroplasma is a very interesting symbiont with lots of peculiar features (I'd recommend these reviews about its biology). After some mostly anecdotal evidence that Spiroplasma symbionts evolve quickly, we here have determined Spiroplasma mutational rates systematically. We find that indeed, Spiroplasma can be considered a hypermutator, especially when compared with Wolbachia (the only other natural inherited symbiont of Drosophila). There are some interesting implications for Spiroplasma evolutionary ecology that arise from this which we discuss in the manuscript. We also show and discuss lots of comparative genomics data.
If you want to learn more, please have a look at the video below which is a recording of my presentation about this work from the Symbiosis Seminar Series organised by Nicole Gerardo and Greg Hurst.
UPDATE (August 13, 2020):
You can still apply for this position until September 14, 2020. Please follow the updated link and get in touch with any questions.
(old post below)
I have joined the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences at Oxford Brookes University as Lecturer in Ecology and Conservation. I am looking forward to establishing a group here and to teaching in Ecology, Conservation, and Biodiversity.
I want to acknowledge all the people how have been very supportive since I moved to the UK, especially Greg Hurst, who was a great mentor and a lot of fun to work with, and Kayla King, who helped me with the transition to Oxford. Thank you!
New research with my input was also published:
Our new paper "Comparative genomics provides a timeframe for Wolbachia evolution and exposes a recent biotin synthesis operon transfer" was published today!
Check out the paper here: www.nature.com/articles/nmicrobiol2016241 – please email me for a pdf of this article!
I also wrote a short "Behind the paper" blogpost for the Nature Microbiology Community website.
Read it here:
EDIT (July 12, 2017): You can access the paper for free under http://rdcu.be/t8tX
This is the website of Michael Gerth. I am a biologist with an interest in insects and the microbes within them. Click here to learn more.