Early Stage Training in Advanced Genetic Analysis

Short Visits:

AGAPE short visit fellowships were provided to facilitate technology transfer to students participating in research outside the UK. Each fellow undertook a period of training between 4 and 6 months supported by an academic supervisor in their research area and input from the AGAPE network members on technological training.

Huiyun Feng - China

Term of Fellowship: 10/2005 - 04/2006

Research : Studying C. elegans routine techniques which are crucial for setting up a C. elegans laboratory. Learning the techniques currently available for C. elegans transformation, so as to appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods and to facilitate development of a novel approach based on ion beam technology.Understanding ideas and approaches in C. elegans developmental gene expression research. I improved my general knowledge on molecular and genomic biology, visited a plant-parasitic nematode laboratory and improved general knowledge of different research areas.

Training: Model systems: Caenorhabditis elegans; functional genomics.

Current position: Postgraduate, Professor Ian Hope's Laboratory, School of Biology, University of Leeds.

Matthias Vomel - Germany

Term of Fellowship: 10/2006 - 01/2007

Research: Focused on the diuretic peptide hormone CAPA and various prohormone convertases/furins that may be involved in the differential cleavage of the CAPA peptide precursor. Furthermore, I wanted to develop a construct composed of a peptide fused to a fluorescence reporter gene. I applied for the EST to learn all molecular techniques which are necessary to develop transgenic GAL4/UAS-flies.

Training: Model systems: Drosophila; functional genomics: transgenics.

Current position: Finishing a PhD at the University of Marburg then applying for a position as a post-doc at a university or as a scientist in an industrial company.

Monika Maronova - Slovakia

Term of Fellowship: 01/2007 - 05/2007

Research: I obtained several verified targeted mutant lines disrupted in PpRSZ37a and putative PpRSp27 mutant lines. I initiated investigation of alternative splicing patterns in Physcomitrella. I have become familiar with the methods of Physcomitrella cultivation, morphology and development and genetic manipulation during the AGAPE training. I believe this enabled me to introduce the new model organism into the laboratory of Prof. Andrea Barta at Max F. Perutz Laboratories in Vienna where I am carrying out my PhD.

Training: Model systems: Physcomitrella: functional genomics.

Current position: PhD Max Perutz Laboratories, Vienna.


Julia Wirtz - Germany

Term of Fellowship: 04/2007 - 07/2007

Research : The 4 months funded by Marie Curie were especially dedicated to the cloning and validation of the recombineering approach which allows for the seamless but precise modification of large DNA molecules following a 2-step counter-selection protocol . It was found that both the reporter gene and the RT cassette with reporter gene overhangs cloned into the commercial vector pGEM-T easy could reliably be retrieved and separated from the vector and used to generate the desired reporter gene fusions.

Training: Model systems: Caenorhabditis elegans; recombineering.

Current position: Technician, Professor Ian Hope's Laboratory, School of Biology, University of Leeds.


Maria Pala - Italy

Term of Fellowship: 04/2007 - 08/2007

Research: Human evolution; my fellowship gave me access to important samples, allowing me to complete the project I had begun in Italy. I was able to integrate the work started at Prof. Torroni's lab in Pavia, with 37 new complete human DNA sequences, 20 belonging to haplogroup J, 16 to haplogroup T, and one to haplogroup H. Those sequences represent different populations from those available in Pavia, particularly the Near East and Caucasus, allowing me to encompass the entire geographical range of both haplogroups J and T. I also had the opportunity to enlarge my technical knowledge, learning to use new software and new statistical analysis methods, moreover the collaboration with Prof. Richards' laboratory allowed me to experience a different and interesting working context.

Training: Genetic mapping: population genetics: Human evolutionary history.

Current position: Completing a PhD at the University of Pavia Italy.

Michael Fontaine - Belgium

Term of Fellowship: 10/2007 - 01/2008

Research: ...

Training: Genetic mapping and population genetics: Evolutionary genetics.

Current position: In Paris for a 2 yr post doc.

Jeanna Kuzmenkova - Russia

Term of Fellowship: 11/2007 - 03/2008

Research: Parasite evolution. I found several microsporidian species, parasitizing the important amphipod species G. fasciatus which is found in Lake Baikal but has also invaded a large number of other sites. Now I will continue the research begun in Leeds at my home Institute. The current analysis raised interesting questions about the influence of the parasite on host sex ratio. I am going to supplement the sequencing data generated in the project and describe the morphology of new microsporidia species in G. fasciatus.


Current position: PhD student at Limnological Institute, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk. Investigating microsporidian parasites in Baikalian amphipod hosts.

Ana Yepes - Spain

Term of Fellowship: 06/2008 - 08/2008

Research: Acquired experience of analysing nucleic acid-protein interactions.  Undertook gel shift assays and SELEX experiments.

Training: Expression analysis: Proteomics and yeast two hybrid.

Current position: PhD, University of Salamanca, Spain.

Julianna Serly - Hungary

Term of Fellowship: 06/2008 - 08/2008

Research: For the preliminary study, anonymous samples were collected in Hungary, from four departments. 99 samples were used as negative controls derived from healthy volunteers, and 87 samples were used as cancer group divided into subgroups according to the cancer type. Genomic DNA was extracted from whole blood. Five polymorphisms were successfully genotyped by PCR-RFLP, these SNPs are MDR1 (rs2032582, rs1045642), P53 (rs1042522), BAX (rs 2279115), BCL-2 (rs4645878).

Training: General molecular biology tecniques: measuring DNA concentration by NanoDrop, PCR (traditional and real-time PCR), gel electrophoresis and SNP typing by RFLP using restriction digestion of the PCR products.  Learnt about the bioinformatics side of research, how to plan a genetic association study by using online databases (NCBI, HapMap) and statistical data analysis using SPSS.

Current position: Completing a PhD at the University of Szeged, Hungary.

Arianna Fulvo - Italy

Term of Fellowship: 07/2008 - 09/2008


Training: Genetic mapping and population genetics: Evolutionary genetics.

Current position: PhD, University of Rome, Italy.

Sohel Shamsuzzaman - Bangladesh

Term of Fellowship: 07/2008 - 09/2008

Research: The short visit offered a unique opportunity for me as well as for my home country. I was trained with important advanced genetic and subsequent data analysis techniques which will be of immense benefits for me to carry out future studies and research activities in Bangladesh. The collaborative opportunities that are created with Leeds will open up a new get way in investigating genetic basis to susceptibility to mycobacterial infections as well as response outcomes to antimycobacterial therapies.


Current position: Lecturer University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, applying for PhD position.

Bart Boomsma - The Netherlands

Term of Fellowship: 07/2008 - 09/2008

Research: The project centered around the transcriptional control of antibiotic synthesis in Stereptomyces and on the role of the DNA binding protein AtrA. An intergrasted genomic approach was used to identify and test the DNA binding sites for this protein in relation to its regulatory role.

Training: Transcriptomics, Model systems streptomyces.

Current position: Applying for Industrial Internship.