DATE: Tuesday, October 24 - Wednesday, October 25, 2017
TIME: 08:00 AM - 08:00 PM
LOCATION:Auditorium 0215 - between Buildings 2 & 3
We would like to invite you to attend the inaugural student and postdoc-led "Red Sea Research Center Open Science Conference 2017", held on the 24th and 25th of October (Tue/Wed).
This conference aims to provide a low-stress and friendly platform for all RSRC students, postdocs, research technicians and research scientists to showcase their work (at varying stages of completion and/or success). These student talks are punctuated by other exciting events: there will be a poster session, a workshop for in-kingdom and out-of-kingdom job opportunities, and a keynote talk at the start of each session. The keynote speakers are luminaries in marine sciences:
1. Prof. Terry Hughes, James Cook University2. John Gunn, Australian Institute of Marine Science3. Prof. Madeleine van Oppen, University of Melbourne4. Prof. Curtis Suttle, University of British Columbia5. Prof. Jack Middelburg, Utrecht University
We would like to also highlight the in-kingdom and out-of-kingdom job opportunities workshop (October 25, 3:15 to 5:15 p.m.), where invited panelists would share their experience and expertise in non-academia jobs.
If you would like to attend the event, please indicate your interest here so that us organizers can plan ahead:https://goo.gl/forms/EGeM2aQU4E6IpeqN2
DATE: Thursday, October 26, 2017
TIME: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
LOCATION:Building 1 - Level 2 - Room 2202
PhD Advisor: Professor Arnab PainAbstract:Rodent malaria parasites (RMPs) serve as tractable models for experimental genetics, and as valuable tools to study malaria parasite biology and host-parasitevector interactions. Plasmodium vinckei, one of four RMPs adapted to laboratorymice, is the most geographically widespread species and displays considerable phenotypic and genotypic diversity amongst its subspecies and strains. The phenotypes and genotypes of P. vinckei isolates have been relatively less characterized compared to other RMPs, hampering its use as an experimental model for malaria. Here, we have studied the phenotypes and sequenced the genomes and transcriptomes of ten P. vinckei isolates including representatives of all five subspecies, all of which were collected from wild thicket rats (Thamnomys rutilans) in sub-Saharan Central Africa between the late 1940s and mid 1960s. We have generated a comprehensive resource for P. vinckei comprising of five high-quality reference genomes, growth profiles and genotypes of P. vinckei isolates, and expression profiles of genes across the intra-erythrocytic developmental stages of the parasite. We observe significant phenotypic and genotypic diversity among P. vinckei isolates, making them particularly suitable for classical genetics and genomics-driven studies on malaria parasite biology. As part of a proof of concept study, we have shown that experimental genetic crosses can be performed between P. vinckei parasites to potentially identify genotype-phenotype relationships. We have also shown that they are amenable to genetic manipulation in the laboratory. Bio:Abhinay is a PhD candidate primarily working on studying malaria biology by applying genomics, transcriptomics and genetics-driven approaches. After completing his Bachelor of Technology in Biotechnology at SASTRA University, India, he joined KAUST as a Masters student in 2010 and the Pathogen Genomics Lab (PGL) in 2011. He also worked for a significant amount of time at the Malaria Unit, Institute of Tropical Medicine (NEKKEN), Nagasaki University (under the supervision of Prof. Richard Culleton) during his doctoral study. Apart from this, Abhinay has contributed to several other projects at PGL, KAUST with a focus on Apicomplexan parasite biology.
TIME: 03:00 PM - 04:00 PM
Professor Richard CarterSchool of Biological Sciences, Edinburgh, UKTITLE: Malaria: where in the world has it been?Abstract:An overview will be given of evidence for the origins of the human malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax with emphasis on the origin and global dispersals of P. vivax.Bio:Professor Carter received a degree in Biochemistry (1967) and a PhD in Genetics of Malaria Parasites (1971) from the University of Edinburgh. At the National Institutes of Health in the US he conducted postdoctoral work on the transmission biology of malaria and the genetics of the human malaria parasite P. falciparum. Returning to the University of Edinburgh in 1986 he conducted research on many aspects of malaria, especially concerning malaria transmission with collaborations on field studies on malaria with the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. He also conducted further genetic studies leading to the development of Linkage Group Selection as a method of gene discovery in malaria parasites. From his work in Sri Lanka grew his interest in the evolutionary origins of human malaria parasites. Professor Richard CulletonMalaria Unit, ITM, Nagasaki University, JapanTITLE: Zoonotic MalariaAbstract:Zoonotic malaria occurs when humans become infected with malaria parasites that more commonly infect non-human primate hosts. As malaria control programmes continue to reduce the burden of the disease worldwide, the unique problem posed by zoonotic malaria is becoming apparent. I will give a brief historical background on malaria parasites infecting non-human primates, and discuss recent outbreaks of zoonotic malaria in South east Asia and South America.Bio:Professor Culleton received his BSc Honors degree in Zoology, specialising in Parasitology from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland (1996-2000) and a PhD in Genetics of Malaria Parasites (2001-2004) from the University of Edinburgh. This was followed by a year’s post-doctoral associateship with Prof. Richard Carter in Edinburgh when he studied immunology and population genetics in malaria parasites. Subsequently, he was awarded a Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science International Fellowship and moved to Prof. Kazuyuki Tanabe’s Laboratory of Malariology at Osaka University, Japan where he worked primarily.
DATE: Sunday, October 29 - Wednesday, November 01, 2017
TIME: 08:30 AM - 05:30 PM
The KAUST Global Ocean Genome workshop, being held on October 29 to November 1, provides an opportunity for scientists and students to discuss progress in the assessment of the Global Ocean Genome. The main goal of this conference is to bring together internationally recognized scientists who will introduce their research and students who will discuss the progress in the assessment of the Global Ocean Genome, including:- Updating the current inventory of genes in the microbial communities of the Global Ocean and assessing the progress made towards providing an adequate representation of microbial communities and environments in the Global Ocean; - Exploring the functional capacities of the global ocean microbiome as represented by the Global Ocean Genome; - Examining the global distribution and sequence variability of key functional genes;- Developing new analytical approaches to mine the Global Ocean Genome for genes of industrial interest.
No registration is needed to attend the KAUST Global Ocean Genome workshop.For more information, please visit the KAUST Global Ocean Genome workshop webpage.
DATE: Sunday, October 29, 2017
TIME: 04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
LOCATION:Building 19 - Hall 1
Nada AljassimTITLE: Bacteriophages to Sensitize a Pathogenic and Antibiotic-Resistant Wastewater Escherichia Coli to Solar DisinfectionAbstract:Wastewater reuse can alleviate considerable portions of stress on water resources in water-scarce countries like Saudi Arabia. However, wastewater and treatment plans are rich in antibiotic resistant bacteria, antibiotic resistance genes and pathogenic bacterial species, and have been implicated as key players in the dissemination of these emerging contaminants, posing serious risks in wastewater reuse. This study seeks to further understanding of the fate and response of such emerging contaminants in the environment, and explore natural and low-cost mitigation strategies to aid in their control.We have previously isolated a pathogenic Escherichia coli that is highly antibiotic resistant and positive for the New Delhi Metallo β-lactamase gene. In subsequent studies, we used it as a model bacterium. First, we assessed its response to solar disinfection, a natural biocide, in terms of gene expression and survival of viable cells. We found that it showed extended persistence and upregulated genes in stress response and cellular repair, as well as virulence and antibiotic resistance categories. Next, we studied the use of bacteriophages, to sensitize this E. coli to solar disinfection. Bacteriophages are a natural tool, and are self-propagating and have narrow host ranges allowing high target-specificity. Our initial findings show promise as bacteriophages successfully sensitized the E. coli to solar disinfection, reducing the time before cell-number decline.Bio:Nada Aljassim is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Assistant Professor Peiying Hong. Her research focusses on wastewater reuse in aspects of microbial risk assessment and mitigation.
Giantommaso ScarasciaTITLE: Bacteriophages: green antimicrobial agents in seawater environmentAbstract:Freshwater scarcity is one of the greatest challenges for sustainable development. In contrast, marine waters account for more than 70 percent of the surface of our planet and can be tapped into as an important source of freshwater. This is made possible through reverse osmosis desalination. However, similar to all membrane-based technologies, membranes used in seawater desalination plants are prone to biofouling which can in turn affect the performance of the desalination process. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was found to be one of the main contributors of membrane biofouling. P. aeruginosa together with sulfate-reducers are able to reduce sulfate and thiosulfate to produce hydrogen sulfide, a strong corrosive agent that can affect the lifespans of membranes and pipelines. P. aeruginosa and sulfate-reducers are particularly prevalent in seawater environment due to the high sulfate concentration in marine waters. Conventional antimicrobial agents like citric acids and/or chlorine are commonly used to deter microbial growth but are less effective against biofilm structure and can intact membrane integrity over long-term usage. Alternative antimicrobial agents such as bacteriophages (i.e., viruses that infect bacteria with high specificity) can be used to tackle seawater biofouling. Specifically, lytic bacteriophages can be used to reduce membrane biofouling by coupling it with the common cleaning procedure. This presentation aims to illustrate the wide versatility of bacteriophages to remove P. aeruginosa in various environmental conditions, and to demonstrate the ability of bacteriophages to delay fouling on seawater ultrafiltration membranes. Bio:Giantommaso Scarascia received his Bachelor and Master degrees in Environmental Science from University of Pisa in Italy. He has been working since February 2016 as a PhD student in the Water Desalination and Reuse Center under the supervision of Assistant Professor Pei-Ying Hong. His research in KAUST is directed to the analysis and application of alternative antimicrobial agents against biofouling and biocorrosion in seawater environment.
DATE: Wednesday, November 01, 2017
TIME: 02:00 PM - 03:00 PM
LOCATION:Building 3 - Level 5 - Room 5209
PhD Advisor: Professor Peng WangAbstract:A variety of approaches were conducted to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the adsorption of Natural Organic Matter (NOM) isolates on metal oxides (MeO). Adsorption experiments with a series of small molecular weight (MW), oxygenated, aromatic organic acids were performed with Aluminum oxide (Al2O3), Titanium oxide (TiO2), and Zirconium oxide (ZrO2) surface. The experiments were conducted in batch mode at pH 4.2 and 7.6. The adsorption of simple organic acids was described by Langmuir model, and exhibited strong dependence on the relative abundance of carboxyl group, aliphaticity/aromaticity, length of alkyl chain, and the presence of hydroxyl group. The adsorption of the model compounds was high at low pH and decreased with increasing the pH. Isolated NOM fraction of strong humic character, i.e., hydrophobic (HPO) (high in MW, aromaticity, and acidity), i.e., Suwannee River fulvic acid (SRW HPO), showed strong adsorption on all MeO. However, fractions with similar acidic character, and lower MW exerted weak adsorption. NOM fraction that incorporated polysaccharides and proteins like structures (i.e., biopolymers) was not significantly adsorbed compared to HPO fractions. Interestingly, biopolymer adsorption on Heated Aluminum oxide particles (HAOP) was higher than that on Al2O3, TiO2, and ZrO2. These different adsorption profiles were related to their physicochemical characteristics of NOM and MeO, and thus, showed different interacting mechanisms and were studied by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Hydrogen bonding was suggested as the main mechanism between NOM of strong hydrophilic character (i.e., biopolymers) and Al2O3, TiO2 and ZrO2 coated wafers. The strength of the hydrogen bonding was influenced by the hydrophilicity degree of MeO surface, ionic strength, and cation type. NOM fractions with strong humic character showed repulsive forces that are electrostatic in nature with MeO of high negative charge density. Hydrogen bonding and ligand exchange mechanisms are proposed to control the adsorption mechanism at high ionic strength with less negatively-charged MeO surface. Strong interactions forces was recorded between NOM molecules with different properties, more specifically with high MW humic and non humic fractions. These forces are controlled by cation type, and NOM chemical structure. Bio:Noor Zaouri is a Ph.D. student in Water Desalination and Reuse Center (WDRC) under the supervision of Professor Peng Wang and co-advised by Professor Jean-Philippe Croue (Curtin University /Australia). She obtained her master from KAUST and did her Bachelor in Microbiology from King Abdul Aziz University. Her research interest is focusing on understanding the interface of varies isolated natural organic matter with metal oxides surfaces
DATE: Thursday, November 09, 2017
TIME: 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Abstract:Neutrophils roll along inflamed vascular endothelium and arrest in response to chemokines that activate β2 integrins to bind to their endothelial ligands including ICAM-1. We model the inflamed endothelium as a glass surface coated with P-selectin, IL-8 and ICAM-1 to interrogate β2 integrin activation by quantitative dynamic footprinting (qDF) at 6 dyn/cm2. qDF combines a microfluidic device with total internal reflection (TIRF) microscopy and a homogeneous binding assay in which fluorescently labeled F(ab) fragments of the conformation-reporter mAbs 24 (reporting high affinity β2, H+) and KIM127 (reporting extended β2, E+) are added to the cell suspension. We previously showed that ~7 clusters of E+H+ β2 integrins containing ~250 integrin molecules were sufficient to cause neutrophil arrest (Fan et al., Nat. Comm. 2016). To directly localize and count the E+H+ β2 integrin molecules where both mAb24 and KIM127 F(ab)s were bound to the same molecule, we used NSTORM superresolution microscopy. We calibrated our device to fix neutrophils exactly at the time of arrest, acquired 10,000 frames per cell and filtered the data for a distance of 10 nm or less between mAb24 and KIM127. Most of the E+H+ β2 integrin molecules were found in the E+H+ clusters observed by qDF (resolution ~300 nm). Direct molecule counting at 10 nm proximity yielded an average 327 E+H+ integrins at the time of arrest. This agrees remarkably well with the completely independent estimate based on qDF and calibrated flow cytometry. We conclude that ~300 E+H+ β2 integrins clustered together mediate neutrophil arrest. Bio:Career and training : M.D. 1982, Professor at the University of Virginia 1994, Director of Robert M Berne Cardiovascular Research Center 2001, Professor and Head of the Division of Inflammation Biology at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology since 2007. Bonazinga award 2008, Malpighi award 2010, Koehler Inflammation award 2015, Russell Ross lecture (AHA) 2015, Distinguished Scientist (AHA 2016), Landis Award (Microcirculatory Society 2017). Professor Ley is interested in inflammation, specifically neutrophils and macrophages. He works on developing a vaccine for atherosclerosis.