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Hoffmann Lab new arrivals and promotions (October 1st 2013)

The new university year brings exciting changes to the Hoffmann Lab, with Kezia Whatley joining as a new PhD student and Dr Iain Chalmers being promoted to Lecturer in Bio-Veterinary Science at Aberystwyth University. At undergraduate level, Kezia studied Human Biology and Infectious Diseases at The University of Salford. She also performed research at University of Portsmouth with Dr Anastasia J. Callaghan before winning a PhD position at Aberystwyth University. Iain has been with the Hoffmann lab for ten years, completing his Wellcome Trust PhD with Prof. Hoffmann at University of Cambridge and then helping establish the lab in Aberystwyth as a post-doctoral research associate. With a number of on-going and planned collaborations between the Hoffmann Lab and the new Chalmers Lab, Iain is excited to be part of a growing parasitology research community at IBERS.

Umar Niazi attends the EMBO Practical Course on Analysis of High-Throughput Sequencing Data
(21-26 October 2013)

Umar Niazi, one of the postdocs in our labs, was selected to attend the practical course on the EMBO Practical Course on Analysis of High-Throughput Sequencing Data – at the EBI-EMBL campus in Hinxton, Cambridge. This course is offered by EBI once a year and they select between 30 to 40 candidates from around the world. During the 6 day intensive course the candidates were taken through the analysis of next gen sequencing data using R and Bioconductor, covering areas that include: strategies for dealing with huge data including statistical challenges, RNA-seq, micro-RNA, single cell sequencing and ChIP-Seq data analysis.



Hoffmann/Chalmers labs host the 1st England/Wales schistosomiasis conference in Gregynog
(October 25-27, 2013)

The Hoffmann/Chalmers laboratories hosted a 3-day conference on schistosomiasis at Gregynog Hall in Mid-Wales.  We were joined by internationally-recognised research groups from Manchester (Prof Andrew MacDonald), York (Dr Adrian Mountford) and the National Institutes for Medical Research (Dr Mark Wilson).  Throughout 2-days of extensive discussions focused on epigenetics, host-parasite interactions, immunoparasitology and helminth developmental processes, a series of short-term, medium-term and long-term objectives were crystallised.  These objectives are currently the subject of novel research collaborations amongst the groups in attendance and will serve as new opportunities for grant capture and knowledge exchange.  Within the IBERS contingent, presentations were given by Dr. Iain Chalmers, Dr. Kathy Geyer, Ms Sabrina Munshi, Ms Fanny Nowacki, Ms Jennifer Edwards and Ms Kezia Whatley.

Hoffmann/Chalmers/Swain labs visit the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (September 17-18, 2013)

We visited Dr Matt Berriman’s research group (within the Pathogen Sequencing Unit) at the WTSI in mid-September to instigate new collaborative research projects.  Presentations by both research teams (including those by , Dr Kathy Geyer, Dr Umar Niazi, Dr Martin Swain, Ms Sabrina Munshi and Prof Karl Hoffmann of IBERS) led to fruitful discussions and ideas for new ways of working together.  As an outcome, we established a roadmap for thoroughly investigating: 1) DNA methylation in helminths (worms), 2) the role of helminth non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) in host/parasite interactions and 3) functional genomics approaches (mediated by RNA interference, RNAi) for interrogating individual gene function.  We are currently planning researcher exchanges to pursue these collaborations and will use these outputs for attracting new funding opportunities.