Seminar "Targeted approaches for studying ecology important microbial eukaryotes" by Prof. Karla Heidelberg
Seminar "Targeted approaches for studying ecology important microbial eukaryotes"
Speaker: Prof. Karla Heidelberg
Affiliation: University of Southern California
Abstract: Microbes represent the single largest source of evolutionary and biochemical diversity on the planet. They are the major agents for cycling carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other elements through ecosystems. Most attention for studying environmental microbes has focused on the bacteria, and to a lesser extent on the archaea and viruses, because of the relative ease with which these assemblages can be analyzed and studied genetically. In contrast, single-celled, eukaryotic microbes (the protists) have received much less attention, in part due to large and complex genomes and comparatively sparse public databases of known genes. In this talk I will summarize some recent developments in how we are studying mixotrophic protists and some advances we are making in understanding of the ecology, physiology and evolution of protists derived from transcriptomic studies of cultured strains and natural communities.
Biography: Karla Heidelberg is an Associate Professor of Teaching in the Biology Department and the Director of the USC Program in Environmental Studies. Her research program at USC focuses on genomic and physiological underpinnings of marine microbial communities and extreme microbes. She has worked in Antarctica, in deep-sea hydrothermal vents and at many sites around the world. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, with a focus in Marine Science and Biological Oceanography. After a postdoc, she became an AAAS Science Policy Fellow at the U.S. State Department in the Office of Oceans Affairs followed by coordinating a global research expedition to evaluate marine microbial biodiversity at the J. Craig Venter Institute. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for Frontiers in Microbiology and is on the editorial board of Microbiome. She received the USC Steven B. Sample Mentoring and Teaching award and recently has been appointed as a U.S. National Academies Education Fellow.