Isolation of protozoan specific viruses from natural environments
Germany (bvmd) - Ruprecht-Karls-Universitaet, Heidelberg
Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Dpt. of Biomolecular Mechanisms, Jahnstr. 29, 69120 Heidelberg
Prof. Dr. Ilme Schlichting
Dr. Matthias Fischer
4 weeks
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Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Our lab studies viruses that infect single-celled eukaryotes (protists). In particular, we are interested in the interactions between protists, giant DNA viruses (= particle sizes larger than 200 nanometer and genomes larger than 200,000 base pairs), and so called virophages, which are smaller DNA viruses that act as parasites of giant DNA viruses inside the common protist host. We investigate the different inactions for these cells and viruses by using microscopy and polymerase chain reactions in order to perform genetic analysis.
What is the aim of the project?
Aim: To isolate new host and virus strains from natural environments (like water samples from different parts of Heidelberg) for culturing in the laboratory and subsequent genetic analysis. The collected protist cultures will be infected by viruses and tested on their reliability as host in their natural environments.
What techniques and methods are used?
Techniques: The student will collect different water samples in and around Heidelberg. These will be analyzed using Microscopy. The isolated host and virus strains will be extracted by using DNA extraction techniques and will be duplicated by using polymerase chain reaction. We use genetic analyses of these samples and try to detect virus replication in the infected single-celled eukaryotes
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student would either go on short field trips around Heidelberg to collect water samples and/or test different protist strains for susceptibility to viruses that we already have in the lab. The student would monitor lab cultures of certain host strains in the presence or absence of viruses and detect virus-induced lysis by microscopy. DNA extracted from virus-infected cultures can be analyzed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction to detect virus replication.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a poster
- The student will prepare an abstract
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Basic biological knowledge, esp. Microbiology. Good laboratory techniques in general and pipetting skills.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
- Students in biomedical fields
- Pub Med identifiers; ( ) 20974979; 21385722; 26999382