Upcoming microbial evolution meeting in Assam (India) — call for abstracts

Upcoming meeting about microbial evolution held next December 2017 in the Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India. For more information, click on the image below:

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CLIMB workshop at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Ben Pascoe, Sion Bayliss and Radoslaw Poplawski have returned from a successful MRC CLIMB workshop in Vietnam. The two-day workshop introduced attendees to CLIMB and working with their own virtual machine. Participants used EDGE to assemble bacterial genomes, asses the quality of sequence reads and assemblies, identify contamination, define isolate phylogeny compared to selected reference genomes and identify common virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes. Many thanks to our hosts Guy Thwaits, Stephen Baker, Phil Ashton and Cate Anscome for inviting us to OUCRU and we hope to visit again soon.

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New visitors in our lab!

We are glad to welcome Diana Espadinha (ITQB NOVA, Oeiras, Portugal) and Diego Flórez Cuadrado (Complutense University of Madrid, Spain) to our lab for a research stay with us as part of their PhD studies. Diana will stay 3 weeks, working on Staphylococcus genomics while Diego, for his second stay with us, will spend 3 months working on Campylobacter genomics and antimicrobial resistance. #goodtimes!

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Top picture: Diana and Diego, on St. Patrik’s day at the Parade (Uni. of Bath); bottom picture, at the Raven of Bath, from left to right: Ben Pascoe, Evangelos Mourkas, Jean van Elsen, Diego Florez Cuadrado, Diana Espadinha, Jess Calland, Sam Sheppard, Guillaume Méric.

MRC CLIMB workshop at the MRC Unit, Gambia

Ben Pascoe from the Sheppard Lab has returned from a successful workshop in the Gambia organised with collaborators from MRC CLIMB. The two-day workshop introduced attendees to CLIMB and working with their own VM participants assembled a test set of bacterial genomes, which they analysed to asses quality, type, call MLST sequence types, identify antimicrobial resistance genes and define core and accessory genomes. The visit was enjoyable and with the inauguration of President Adama Barrow tomorrow (18th Feb) these are very exciting times in the Gambia and hopefully the beginning of a fruitful collaboration.

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Full house Darwin Day Lecture!

Darwin_day_image.jpgThis years Darwin day lecture was delivered by Professor Nick Davies FRS (Cambridge University). In his talk, entitled ‘Cuckoo – cheating by nature’, Prof Davies described one of nature’s most intriguing stories to a packed lecture theatre at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution. Captivating photographic and video footage showed how some cuckoo species lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and how little warblers are tricked into feeding enormous cuckoo chicks. In his talk, Prof Davies described how 30 years of elegant field experiments have revealed a continuing evolutionary arms race in which escalating host defences have selected for remarkable cuckoo trickery, including different guises in female cuckoos, forgeries of host eggs and manipulative begging by cuckoo chicks. This is a fascinating corner of Darwin’s “entangled bank” where organisms are continually adapting to keep up with changes in their rivals. Many thanks to all those who helped to make this event such a great success.