The Universitat Rovira i Virgili, in collaboration with the research institutions affiliated to the Campus of International Excellence Southern Catalonia (CEICS), is launching the Martí i Franquès research grants programme, a public-private cooperation designed to attract highly talented doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers to work on exciting research projects.
This programme honours the scientist Antoni Martí i Franquès (Altafulla, 1750 Tarragona, 1832), who made remarkable contributions not only to the fields of biology, physics and chemistry, but also to the economic development of Southern Catalonia.
He was the first scientist to accurately establish the composition of air.
SPECIFIC POSITION OFFER 2020PMF-PIPF-35
Filamentous ascomycetes and mucorales are microscopic fungi of great human interest. Among their species are both plant and animal pathogens, such as fungi of biotechnological interest.
These fungi, as well as many other species of micromycetes, form part of the natural ecosystems of our country, whose biodiversity is still not well known, especially that of the fungi colonizing forest soil or other substrates, such as river sediments.
Previous studies by our group have indicated that these substrates are great reservoirs of these microscopic fungi and, therefore, they are very suitable locations in the search for species of taxonomic interest.
Numerous studies on environmental metagenomics suggest that less than 5% of the fungi thought to exist have so far been identified.
Considering that, and also the need to reevaluate, using molecular tools, many of the fungi already described, the main objective of this project is to detect, isolate and characterize, phenotypically and genetically, the largest possible number of filamentous fungi of taxonomic interest.
This will begin to elucidate the fungal biodiversity in Spain. In the present project, we have carried out various surveys and collected samples from forest soils and river sediments in areas of a great biological diversity that have been little explored.
Pyrosequencing will be used as a screening technique to detect and select only those samples from river sediments with great fungal diversity.
The selected samples will be activated through different culturing techniques in order to stimulate growth of the fungi under study.
A preliminary identification will be carried out by morphological examination and strains of taxonomic interest will be selected, taking into account their rarity, the absence of genetic data, or their potential to be new taxa.
Ribosomal genes and a wide variety of structural genes will be sequenced according to fungal group or genus belonging to the strain under study.
The analysis of genealogical concordance will be applied to delineate phylogenetic species and their phenotypic characterization will be made.
Finally, by using the other above-mentioned methods, genomic analysis will be carried out on those species of uncertain taxonomy and on those that are difficult to discriminate from other closely-related species.
In order to preserve our fungal heritage, all well-characterized species will be deposited into different culture collections and their sequences and alignments will be added to public databases that will be accessible to the scientific community for future studies.
Required Research Experiences
Skills / Qualifications
In general, be in possession of an official undergraduate degree, or equivalent, and of a master degree, and have passed a minimum of 300 ECTS credits during the course of their official university studies, of which at least 60 must be master s degree credits