Congratulations to the winners of the Best Graduate Student Paper in MBE and Best Graduate Student Paper in GBE for the year 2015! The winners will be given a certificate, a prize of $2,000 and a travel award to the 2016 annual meeting.
Best Graduate Student Paper in MBE: Emily Claire Baker (first author)
Baker E, Wang B, Bellora N, Peris D, Hulfachor AB, Koshalek JA, Adams M, Libkind D, Hittinger CT (2015) The Genome Sequence of Saccharomyces eubayanus and the Domestication of Lager-Brewing Yeasts. Mol Biol Evol 32:2818-31.
Emily Baker is a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She began her graduate studies in 2012 with Dr. Chris Hittinger. Her research focuses on non-model Saccharomyces yeast species, particularly early branching species and their hybrids. She studies the evolution of these groups by looking at divergence at both the genome and individual gene level. Recent research has looked at the genome evolution of industrially important brewing hybrids of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces eubayanus by comparing the genomes of hybrids with pure strains of their parent species.
Best Graduate Student Paper in GBE: Daniel Tamarit & Kirsten Ellegaard (co- first authors)
Kirsten Ellegaard carried out her doctoral research at Uppsala University, Sweden, in the lab of professor Siv Andersson. Her major research interests include speciation processes, evolution and interactions within microbial communities. During her PhD, she studied the obligate bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia, particularly in terms of gene flow, recombination and speciation. Furthermore, since Wolbachia cannot be cultured, she also developed a protocol for isolation and genome sequencing of these bacteria. Towards the end of her PhD, she shifted her research towards comparative genome analyses of lactic acid bacteria colonizing the honeybee gut. Kirsten joined the lab of professor Philipp Engel, at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, in June 2015. Here, she combines bioinformatic tools with laboratory experiments, in order to gain a better understanding of the evolution and function of the bacterial communities colonizing the honeybee gut.
Tamarit D, Ellegaard KM, Wikander J, Olofsson T, Vásquez A, Andersson SG. (2015) Functionally Structured Genomes in Lactobacillus kunkeei Colonizing the Honey Crop and Food Products of Honeybees and Stingless Bees. Genome Biol Evol 7:1455-73
Daniel Tamarit is a PhD student in Siv Andersson’s lab at Uppsala University. He graduated in biology with honors at the University of Valencia, where he became interested in bacterial evolution while working in the Cavanilles Institute for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity. He then received a Marie Curie ITN Fellowship to participate in the Symbiomics program as an early-stage researcher, under the supervision of Siv Andersson, Lisa Klasson and Amparo Latorre. During his PhD, which he will defend in Autumn 2016, he uses evolutionary genomics to study newly described groups of ant and honeybee symbionts. Findings from these projects led to him engaging in the study of the evolution of a gene transfer agent in alpha proteobacteria, codon usage bias in bacteria with shifting GC content, and genome architecture in firmicutes. In the long term he is interested in studying broad-scale genome evolution, the evolution of host-microbe association, and, more generally, the origin and evolution of new traits.