Colloquium: Unraveling the Secrets of Microbial Life Using Omic Technologies

  • Date: Thursday 9 November 2017
  • Time: 16:00 - 17:00
  • Venue: The Cyprus Institute – Guy Ourisson Building, Seminar Room, 1st Floor, Athalassa Campus
  • Speaker: Dr George Tsiamis, Assistant Professor in Environmental Microbiology, Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Management, University of Patras, Greece

* The colloquium will be in English, the event is open to the public, light refreshments will be served after the talk.

Abstract 
Human life and activity depends on microorganisms, as they are responsible for providing basic elements of life like carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur. Microbes inhabit almost all environments, forming communities and monitoring environmental processes and ecosystem functions. Although microbes have such a key role in sustaining basic functions for all living organisms, very little is known about their biology since only a small fraction (average 1%) can be cultured under laboratory conditions. This is even more evident when considering that >88% of all microbial isolates belong to only four bacterial phyla, the ProteobacteriaFirmicutesActinobacteria, and Bacteriodetes. New advanced technologies developed in the last years promise to revolutionize the way that we characterize, identify and study microbial communities. I will be presenting the most advanced tools that microbial ecologists can use for the study of microbial communities in insect symbiosis and extreme environments, with an emphasis on next generation sequencing techniques and Single Cell Genomics.

With the advent of molecular biology and next generation sequencing techniques, research on insect symbiosis has been rekindled with an emphasis on untangling the diversity and the functional role symbionts have on all aspects of host biology. This knowledge can be further exploited by developing sophisticated new technologies for the control of pests and diseases. Finally, the Single Cell Genomics approach, can be used for obtaining genomes from uncultured phyla. This tool enables the amplification and sequencing of DNA from single cells obtained directly from environmental samples and is promising to revolutionize microbiology.

About the Speaker
His main interests are the elucidation of  host/microbe interactions and understanding the role of microbial dark matter using advanced molecular techniques, like genomics, metagenomics and singe cell genomics. He is currently using these approaches to map the microbial dark matter from extreme environments and also to understand the role of gut microbiota of insects of economic importance. He completed his PhD in Molecular Microbiology at the University of London.