December 2015: Christmas Event

On December 4 PopGen invaded the Wiener Eislaufverein! It was lots of fun for beginners and more experienced ice skaters alike. Nearly 40 students, postdocs and faculty of the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics then moved on to a local beer pub to replenish their energies and to reminisce about the successful scientific year that is coming to an end.

November 2015: DOC scholarship awarded to PopGen student

Congratulations to our PhD student Thomas Taus who received a prestigious DOC scholarship awarded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) for his project investigating the genomic basis of adaptation to a new environment using replicated evolve and resequence studies in the fruit fly.

Thomas with Dr. Mahrer (left, Secretary of State) and Prof. Zeilinger (right, president of the Austrian Academy of Sciences). © Reinhard Öhner

November 2015: PhD defense

Raymond Tobler successfully defended his thesis "Adaptation to Thermal Stress in Experimental Drosophila Populations" on November 4. Congratulations, Ray, and all the best for your Postdoc position Down Under!

October 2015: Mini-Symposium

Animal Genetics: The Step Ahead

06.10., 16:00. Lecture Hall G, building LA, Vetmeduni Vienna

Michel Georges (GIGA-R & Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Unit of Animal Genomics, Univ. of Liege)
"NGS-based reverse genetic screen for embryonic lethal mutations compromising fertility in livestock"

UNFORTUNATELY CANCELLED: Leif Andersson (Dept. of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Uppsala University)
“Molecular consequences of animal breeding”

October 2015: PhD retreat

This year we went back to the hut village of good old Feuerkogel after two years at Altaussee. At 1592 m, high above Lake Traun, 31 new and senior PhD students, postdocs, faculty and associated guests of PopGen Vienna enjoyed a weekend with seminars and discussions. The weather was nice and sunny, and we enjoyed hiking, climbing and social dinner cooking inbetween the seminar programme.

September 2015: Introductory course

We're happy that four new PhD students of the Vienna Graduate School for Population Genetics are attending this year's introductory course alongside with several external students.

August 2015: Alumni career news

Congratulations to our former graduate student Claudia Bank who accepted a group leader position starting in January 2016 (following her Postdoc stay at the EFPL in Lausanne) at the Gulbenkian Institute in Portugal. The Bank lab website is already online.

July 2015: SMBE annual meeting in Vienna

Faculty members of the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics organized SMBE 2015, the annual meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution, from July 12th to 16th, 2015, in Vienna. More than 1400 participants from around the world convened at the royal setting of the Hofburg. The program featured 4 plenary sessions, a dedicated Fitch prize symposium for young scientists and nearly 350 invited and contributing talks, 5 poster sessions with 750 posters, and ample opportunities to network and socialise.

Two current PopGen Vienna students and four graduates contributed talks while other students of PopGen Vienna presented their work at the poster sessions. At a special Alumni meeting, 36 current and former members of PopGen Vienna came together to mingle and network in a Viennese beer garden and to catch up with their current research projects.
Read more information here.

 

July 2015: PopGen grows

A few months ago, the PopGen community garden lot was nothing more than a few inches of rough soil. Our students started to plan and plot, and their dedicated work along with the sunny and hot weather of this Summer transformed the earth into a green wealth of salads, radishes, tomatoes, peppers, herbs and spices! Members of PopGen Vienna also already enjoyed fresh samples of the produce during seminars and journal clubs.

 

July 2015: Visiting scientist

Research assistant professor Christopher Willett is visiting PopGen Vienna again for a month. Chris investigates the nature of genetic variation that underlies speciation and adaptation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In collaboration with members of the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics, he will continue to study the genes that interact deleteriously to generate postzygotic reproductive isolation in a copepod system. He also looks at thermal tolerance and its potential interactions with reproductive isolation.

Chris Willett

May 2015: PopGen Vienna participates at Open University Day

For the 250 year anniversary of the Vetmeduni Vienna, our students thought of an additional attraction for visitors at the booth of the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics: participants were instructed how to extract DNA from Strawberries using everyday materials. The feedback of the visitors of all ages was very positive. One pupil was so impressed that he will repeat the experiment at school with all his class mates!

As usual, the audience was also fascinated by our temperature-adapted fruit flies, bizarre mutants and close-up shots of electron microscope images of Drosophila.

April 2015: faculty meeting

The faculty met on April 25.

April 2015: SAB meeting

The yearly Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meeting took place from April 22-24. The students reported their progress to four visiting SAB members who gave their valuable feedback. After the busy meetings, there were also opportunities for the students to socialise with the SAB members in an informal setting.

March 2015: visiting scientist

Dr. Giorgio Bertorelle from University of Ferrara, Italy, spends three months at the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics, working on NGS data analyses in conservation and evolutionary genetics.

Giorgio Bertorelle

January 2015: Start of 2nd funding period

We're happy and proud that a second run time was funded by the FWF!

December 2014: Christmas Event

We had great fun at this year’s X-Mas event on December 18. Students, postdocs and faculty lined up to learn a few intricate dance steps at an Irish Ceili workshop. After one hour we mastered a full 10-minute Ceili choreography! The sweat and concentration was rewarded by dinner and craft beer at a nice "Beisl", just a short walk from the dance studio.

 

December 2014: PhD defense

Ludwig Geroldinger successfully defended his thesis in December 2014. Congratulations, Ludwig!!

December 2014: fourth ERC grant to our faculty!

Congratulations to Angela Hancock - Angela was awarded a 1,6 million € Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to fund research on the molecular basis of adaptive evolution during the next 5 years. 

This is the fourth ERC grant awarded to PopGen Vienna faculty after a Starting Grant for Alistair McGregor (2008) and Advanced Grants for Magnus Nordborg (2011) and Christian Schlötterer (2012).
Read more

December 2014: FWF hearing and new faculty

We're happy that our associated members Angela Hancock and Ovidiu Paun were promoted to full Faculty of the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics after the successful re-evaluation hearing by the FWF and an international reviewer panel.

November 2014: Career event

The Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics is organising a Career workshop on November 27 at Vetmeduni Vienna to give our students an insight about possible career alternatives after the PhD. Representatives of Baxter International will visit us for a seminar and workshop entitled: Career outside Academia - recruitment advice by Baxter.

November 2014: PhD defense

Christian Huber also successfully defended his thesis in November 2014. Congratulations to Christian, we wish him all the best for his postdoc position in Los Angeles that he'll start in December!

November 2014: PhD defense

Johanna Bertl successfully defended her thesis in November 2014. We congratulate Johanna and wish her all the best for her postdoc position in Denmark!

November 2014: Alumni Symposium

We're happy to have brought our alumni back for a day on November 5, 2014! Four former PhD students told us about their exciting postdoc projects abroad and listened to talks of our current students.

Link to the event schedule



Florian Clemente (Univ. of Cambridge)


Nicola de Maio (Univ. of Oxford)


Claudia Bank (EPFL Lausanne)


Martin Kapun (Univ. of Lausanne)

November 2014: PhD defense

Daniel Fabian successfully defended his thesis "The genomic and phenotypic basis of life history and aging in Drosophila melanogaster" in November 2014. Congratulations and all the best for his postdoc job in Cambridge!

October 2014: Faculty meeting

The faculty convened for meetings on October 27 and November 3.

October 2014: NGS course

The Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics organised a Practical Course on Next Generation Sequencing for Population Genetics and Experimental Evolution from October 19 to 26, 2014 at the Vetmeduni Vienna.

Recent technological advances in sequencing have greatly changed the scope of biological questions addressable in experimental evolution systems. In particular, in addition to the study of phenotypes it is now possible to study molecular data genome-wide. Even population genetic analysis have become within reach for moderate research budgets by pooling individuals before sequencing. However, the analysis of massive amounts of data generated in course of a single experiment, especially time series data, require new statistical skills to be maximally informative.

Unfortunately, many research groups aiming to use the new sequencing technologies are facing enormous practical and conceptual difficulties handling the data. The course aims to facilitate the use of new sequencing technologies by providing users a hands-on introduction to available tools and techniques and explaining the concepts underlying them. The demand for such training is large and growing and this course is in particular aimed for evolutionary groups that usually do not have access to in house training for next generation sequencing.

We welcomed 25 participants from all over the world, along with 15 participants from Austrian institutions.

Read more about the recent event here

October 2014: visiting scientist

EMBO fellow Dr. Fernando Diaz from the Universidad del Valle (Colombia) visits the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics from October 15, 2014 until January 15, 2015.

Fernando Diaz

"My work has been focused on thermal adaptation in the invasive pest whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) through quantitative genetics and experimental evolution. I just finished my PhD at the Universidad del Valle (Colombia) and would like to continue studying thermal adaptation but now using experimental evolution in combination with whole-genome sequencing. I will spend three months studying the reversibility of thermal selection between hot and cold environments in Drosophila melanogaster in collaboration with the scientific community at the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics."

October 2014: PhD retreat

Similar to 2013, we spent a social weekend with seminar talks at a hut village at Altaussee, at the foot of the Styrian Loser plateau. This time we were indeed very lucky with mild Autumn weather. The 28 registered participants (PhD students, postdocs, faculty and associated guests of The Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics) enjoyed hiking, climbing or just relaxing between the inspiring talks. Brainstorming and socialising continued after a night walk through the woods after dinner.

September 2014: 5th DK Welcome Event

For the yearly welcome event we showed our new students around Vienna's scenic vineyards of the Nussberg with great views across the city.

The weather was perfect for our hike. We even spotted bats who clearly enjoyed the lovely autumn evening as well. A bit exhausted we arrived at a local "Heurigen" restaurant close to Kahlenbergerdorf with a beautiful view across the Danube. The first "Sturm" of the year sparked interesting and fun conversations among senior and newcoming students until we made a moonlit climb back down to Vienna.

September 2014: Popgen Vienna teaming up with International PhD program in Paris

We collaborate with the organisers of the course "Experimental evolution: theory and current practices" at the Institute of Biology of the Ecole Normale Superieure (IBENS), in Paris from November 17-22, 2014.

Further information about the International Graduate Program in Life Sciences and the Interdisciplinary Master in Life Sciences at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris can be found here.

September 2014: Introductory course

The 2014 edition of the Population Genetics Introductory Course for PhD students has again attracted several international participants from as far as Brazil and Mexico.

September 2014: visiting scientist

Dr. Bertanne Visser is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Insect Biology (Université François-Rabelais, Tours) in France. Her work has largely focused on the causes and consequences of evolutionary trait loss, specifically the loss of lipid synthesis in parasitic wasps. She is currently visiting the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics to collaborate and develop new research lines into the processes and mechanisms driving trait loss and reversion in parasitic wasps.

September 2014: visiting scientist

Dr. Saber Qanbari is a research associate at the Division of Animal Breeding and Genetics (University of Goettingen) and visits the the group of Prof. Schlötterer at the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics during September 2014. His research mainly focuses on population genetics and genomics of domestic species. While in Vienna, he works on developing computational approaches to detect and localize signatures of past selection in the genome.

July 2014: Evolution explained to 10-12 year-olds

How to explain to kids what Evolution is? Three of our students managed to bring this complex topic into the spotlight during a "Kinderuni" (Kid's University) workshop in front and in midst of 25 curious and active school kids. The children asked surprisingly clever questions, and agreed that fruit flies are ideal to observe evolution in the lab.

Summer 2014: Internships for high school students

During Summer 2014, four high school students will be hosted at PopGen Vienna.
Bernadette, Thomas, Julia and Clemens were selected from a number of interested high school students to spend one month during Summer at PopGen Vienna, collaborating with our PhD students to gain an insight into hands-on science.

More about the "Talente entdecken" program of the FFG here

June 2014: poster award

Paul Herrera (PI Christian Schlötterer), one of our 2013 cohort students, has won the 2nd Prize for the Students' Award of the 8th International Wolbachia Conference in Innsbruck (Austria) for his poster entitled "Habitat-specific Fitness Dynamics among Wolbachia Clades in Drosophila melanogaster".

June 2014: PopGen Vienna PhD student at Falling Walls Lab

Daniel Fabian (PIs Thomas Flatt/Christian Schlötterer) contended for participation to the Falling Walls Lab, a non-profit series of scientific conferences that aims at building and fostering interdisciplinary connections between young bright minds. This new and interdisciplinary format offers the opportunity to excellent young academics and professionals from all disciplines to present their outstanding ideas, research projects and entrepreneurial or social initiatives. Each participant is asked to present his/her work in 3 minutes, and a prestigious jury from science and business awards the best participants.
Read more about Falling Walls here

May 2014: PopGen Vienna participates at Open University Day

Also at this year's Open University Day at Vetmeduni Vienna, some of our students represented the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics to visitors of all ages. The audience was quite fascinated by temperature-adapted fruit flies and different bizarre mutants.

More info about the Open University Day on May 24, 2014 is available here

May 2014: Mini-Symposium: Frontiers of Population Genetics II

The yearly Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meeting was concluded by a Mini-Symposium on May 16:

Venue: Seminar room Institut für Tierzucht & Genetik (building NA, 2nd floor), Vetmeduni Vienna

Frontiers of Population Genetics II  - May 16, 2014

10:00 Opening remarks
10:05-10:50 John Parsch – LMU München
“Sex- and population-biased gene expression in the brain of Drosophila melanogaster
10:50-11:35 Brian Charlesworth - University of Edinburgh
“Faster-X evolution in species of Drosophila
11:35-12:00 coffee break
12:00-12:45 Jean-Michel Gibert – CNRS Paris
“Genetic bases of phenotypic plasticity in Drosophila
12:45-13:45 break
13:45-14:30 Simon Tavare – University of Cambridge
“A statistical problem arising in the study of tumour heterogeneity"

May 2014: SAB meeting

The yearly Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meeting took place on May 14 and 15. Five of our SAB members listened to our student's progress reports, discussed future steps and gave career advice to our last-year students.

May 2014: visiting student

Giuseppina Schiavo is a PhD student from the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Division of Animal Sciences at the University of Bologna, Italy. She is currently spending her 2 months PhD-internship at the Vienna Graduate School of Population genetics. During her stay Giuseppina is studying Copy Number Variations in cattle and pig based on high density Illumina SNP array data.

March 2014: visiting student

Daniel Fischer is a PhD student in Finland and also works as a bioinformatician at the MTT Agrifood Research Finland. His 3 weeks research visit is supported by the ESF. At the Vienna Graduate School of Population genetics he works together with Marlies Dolezal. The topic of the visit is the 'Identification of Signatures of Selection from Next Generation Sequencing Data'.

March 2014: visiting student

Stefanie Walter is a bioinformatics master student from Berlin. She spends a 1 month internship at PopGen Vienna and works with our PhD student Kerstin Gärtner.

Stefanie will run simulations to get to know how LDhelmet and LDhat perform under different recombination rates and sample sizes. 

January 2014: PhD defense

Peter Klepsatel (PI Thomas Flatt) successfully defended his thesis in January 2014. Congratulations!

November 2013: Christmas Event

On November 21, around 30 students, postdocs and faculty of PopGen Vienna showed their creativity at our social ceramic painting event! Everyone was Secret Santa for a colleague, and many beautiful, funny and extraordinary mugs were the result. After three hours of painting we enjoyed American food at a cosy diner in the 9th district.

 

 

November 2013: PhD defense

Ada Akerman (PI Reinhard Bürger) successfully defended her thesis "The effects of dominance, linkage, and gene flow on local adaptation and differentiation".

We congratulate Ada and wish her all the best for her future career.

November 2013: faculty meeting

Faculty meeting 5 took place on November 6.

November 2013: Mind The Gap Meeting

On 1st and 2nd of November we hosted the 4th MIND THE GAP meeting at the new premises of the Faculty of Mathematics. MIND THE GAP aims at bringing together theoretical and empirical population geneticists. This conference is the fourth meeting in a series of conferences held in Freiburg (2009), Plön (2010), and Cologne (2011). Details about the meeting here

September 2013: PhD retreat

This year we moved our traditional retreat location from Feuerkogel a bit towards the South: we spent a social weekend with seminar talks at a cosy hut village at Altaussee, at the foot of the Styrian Loser plateau. 33 registered participants (PhD students, postdocs, faculty and associated guests of The Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics) enjoyed  an inspiring weekend with seminars, discussions, brainstorming and hiking.


September 2013: 4th DK Welcome Event

Although the weather was not very inviting on September 13, we followed the good old tradition to show our new students a few Viennese locations off the beaten track.

We explored a historical festival at Schloß Neugebäude in the 11th district where some mead warmed us up for a happy group foto.

 

A stroll brought us to a nearby restaurant to enjoy delicious Schnitzel creations, Sturm and candle light. We stayed there until late while chatting about each other's projects and experiences. A warm welcome to our 2013 cohort: Kerstin, Barbara, Gökce, Paul and Dominik!

September 2013: Introductory course

This year's Population Genetics Introductory Course for PhD students was divided into two intense blocks during September and October. We had more international participants than ever before - students from New Zealand all from all around Europe joined to learn about basic concepts in population genetics, Drosophila genetics, statistics, biomathematics, phylogenetics and bioinformatics. During the October units, more than a dozen Marie Curie ESRs from the ITN Intercrossing took part in our course.

September 2013: PhD defense

Nicola de Maio (PI Carolin Kosiol) successfully defended his thesis entitled "Accounting for Genomic Variation in Phylogenetic Substitution Models" on Tuesday, September 3, 2013.

We congratulate Nicola and wish him all the best for his next steps, he will soon move to Oxford to continue research as a Postdoc.

August 2013: Visiting scientist

Research assistant professor Christopher Willett visits us for a second time. Chris investigates the nature of genetic variation that underlies speciation and adaptation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In collaboration with members of the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics, he will continue to study the genes that interact deleteriously to generate postzygotic reproductive isolation in a copepod system. He also looks at thermal tolerance and its potential interactions with reproductive isolation.

Chris Willett

June 2013: PhD defense

Martin Kapun (PI Christian Schlötterer) successfully defended his thesis entitled "The genetic basis of adaptive evolution in Drosophila melanogaster".

We congratulate Martin and wish him all the best for his future career! Martin works now as a Postdoc in Thomas Flatt's group at the University of Lausanne.


May 2013: SAB meeting

The yearly Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meeting took place on May 13 and 14. This year six SAB members traveled to Vienna from 5 countries to listen to our student's progress reports and to give valuable advice on how to further improve the direction and success of their research projects. 

April 2013: poster award

We're proud of Agnes Jonas (PI Carolin Kosiol), one of our 2012 cohort students, to have been awarded the poster prize at the 23rd annual MASAMB workshop (Mathematical and Statistical Aspects of Molecular Biology) recently held at the Imperial College London. The winning poster is entitled "Modelling Allele Frequency Trajectories of Experimental Evolution with Fruit Flies"

February 2013: visiting student

Mads Fristrup Schou is a PhD student in the Volker Loeschcke group at the section of Integrative Ecology and Evolution at Aarhus University, Denmark. He uses experimental evolution to assess the evolutionary potential of Drosophila melanogaster as a response to increasing temperatures. The experimental evolution setup included populations of different size, adding another perspective to the project. He conducted such an experiment in Denmark, where he focused on the change in phenotypic traits.

In collaboration with PhD students, postdocs and faculty of the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics he will work on genomic data obtained from the experimental evolution project. Genomic data from different time points will be used to address questions regarding patterns of selection and loss of genetic variance across different treatments and different population sizes.

Mads' website

January 2012: faculty meeting

The fourth faculty meeting happened on January 29, 2013

December 2012: Christmas Event

On December 12 we met for our yearly X-mas event. Around 30 students, postdocs and faculty of PopGen Vienna had fun while bowling in mixed teams. Some impressive scores were reached, pictures are coming up. To replenish energies, we enjoyed an on-site buffet.

December 2012: PhD defense

Florian Clemente (PI Claus Vogl) successfully defended his thesis entitled "A study of the evolutionary forces acting on putatively neutrally evolving DNA sequences in Drosophila".

We congratulate Florian and wish him all the best for his future career. He accepted a Postdoc position at the University of Cambridge.

October 2012: PhD retreat

Stunning mountain views served as backdrop of a brainstorming weekend in Upper Austria (Oct 12-15). The 32 participants (PhD students, postdocs, faculty and associated guests of The Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics) spent an inspiring weekend at the Feuerkogel mountain resort in Upper Austria for research talks, workshops, hiking and socialising.

September 2012: 3rd DK Welcome event

On September 7, senior students took our newcomers out for a hike through the vinyards of Stammersdorf and its Kellergasse, and introduced them into the traditional Viennese cuisine at a local "Heurigen". We were lucky and could already enjoy white and red "Sturm" which made it even easier to connect, discuss science and socialise. We welcome Àgnes, Tom, William, Andrea and llse to our program! 

September 2012: Introductory course

The yearly Population Genetics Introductory Course for PhD students takes place daily during September until the beginning of October and covers relevant basic concepts in population genetics, Drosophila genetics, statistics, biomathematics, phylogenetics and bioinformatics. This year, the course is even more intense and, amongst other units, addresses specific population genetics problems. The course is also open for external students.

Summer 2012: internship for high school student

Also this year one high school student will be hosted at PopGen Vienna:
Pia Hager, a high school student from Vienna with a growing interest for biology, will assist PhD students in September 2012 with life history evolution projects.

July 2012: Visiting scientist

Dr. Nelson Martins is a postdoc in the Sucena group at the Gulbenkian Institute of Science (IGC) in Portugal and collaborates with members of the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics on experimental evolution of the fruit fly.

Read more here

July 2012: PhD defense

Claudia Bank (PI Joachim Hermisson) successfully defended her thesis entitled "The limits to parapatric speciation" on July 6.

We're very proud of her and wish her best of luck for her further career. She now works as Postdoc at the EPFL in Lausanne.

June 2012: PhD selection 2012 completed

Popgen Vienna welcomes four new students
This year we received around 200 applications from all over the world after a prolonged application time. After intense interviewing with the most promising candidates we offered four positions. Our new students will start their projects in September.

June 2012: PopGen Vienna participates at Open University Day

PopGen Vienna students explained to visitors of all ages how fruit flies develop and how they're cultivated in the lab. Big and small were equally amazed by comparing wild type flies and natural mutants (e.g. white eyes, curly wings, different body colors) under the microscope.

More info about the Open University Day on June 2, 2012 is available here

June 2012: faculty meeting

Faculty meeting no. 3 took place on June 21.

May 2012: PhD defense

Corinna Hopfen (PI Alistair McGregor) successfully defended her thesis entitled "Analysing the genetic basis of morphological variation in Drosophila".

Corinna is our first student to finish since the program was established in 2010. We're proud of her and wish her best of luck for her career! She accepted a Postdoc position at the MPI in Cologne.

 

May 2012: Mini-Symposium: Frontiers of Population Genetics

New: View a selection of pictures of the Mini-Symposium on "Frontiers in Population Genetics" here
and of the subsequent PhD program contact meeting here

May 16, 2012, start: 9:30 am

Location: Lecture Hall M / Hörsaal M (building HA, 1st floor) Vetmeduni Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, 1210 Vienna

09:30 Opening remarks

09:35-10:20 Brian Charlesworth - University of Edinburgh
“The effects of genetic recombination on molecular evolution and variation”
10:20-10:30 break

10:30-11:15 Laurent Excoffier – University of Bern
“Non-adaptative genetic processes during range expansions”
11:15-11:30 break

11:30-12:15 Andrew Clark - Cornell University
“Human genome variation and its role in shaping the gut microbiome”
12:15-13:15 lunch break

13:15-14:00 John Parsch – LMU München
“Population transcriptomics of Drosophila melanogaster”

download abstracts

PhD program contact meeting
Location: Seminarraum Institut für Tierzucht & Genetik (building NA, 2nd floor)

14:30-18:00 student presentations and poster session
Participants:
Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics (POPGEN, Austria)
Graduate Research School in Genomic Ecology (GENECO, Sweden)
Graduate Program in Evolution, Ecology & Systematics (EES, Germany)

download program

 

May 2012: SAB meeting

The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meeting will this year take place on May 14 and 15. Five of our SAB members will convene in Vienna to listen to our student's progress reports, discuss future steps and give advice on how to develop into leading scientists.

March 2012: Visiting scientist

Dr. Deniz Erezyilmaz is a senior postdoc at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of Princeton University and asks large evolutionary questions in specific, molecular terms. She uses genomic tools to investigate the genetic basis of pupariation site choice and female choice in sexual selection in the D. simulans clade. Deniz collaborates with members of the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics to analyse large NGS datasets.

March 2012: Thomas Flatt spending three months at Wiko Berlin

Faculty member Thomas Flatt is invited to spend March, April and May at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, also known as the Institute for Advanced Study Berlin. The Wiko is one of the academic institutions that see their model in the famous Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton with Albert Einstein being its best-known fellow. The goal of such an Institute for Advanced Study is to offer outstanding international scientists the opportunity to concentrate on their chosen research projects and to absorb ideas and inspirations from other disciplines. Thomas will investigate the impact of hormonal mechanisms on  phenotypic plasticity during his stay in Berlin.

February 2012: Visiting scientist

Dr. Wolfgang Arthofer, assistant professor at the Molecular Ecology Group (University of Innsbruck), visits us during February and March. His research interests include the development and application of genetic markers, evolution, phylogeography and population dynamics of European insect species, symbiosis research and bioinformatics. In the frame of his collaboration with students and faculty of the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics, he will perform the NGS-based assembly and annotation of the transcriptome of an Alpine Drosophila species.

read more

February 2012: third ERC grant for our faculty!

We're happy to announce that speaker Christian Schlötterer was recently awarded with the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant 2012. With this award the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics now unites three ERC grants among its faculty! After a Starting Grant for Alistair McGregor (2008) and an Advanced Grant for Magnus Nordborg (2011), Christian Schlötterer will use the five-year grant to investigate the adaptation skills of fruit flies to changed temperature environments.

In the light of global climate change, experimental evolution in the lab on a complex organism like Drosophila will yield important evolutionary insights. Based on next-generation sequencing techniques of adapting fly populations, the challenging immense datasets on DNA, RNA and phenotype variations will be jointly analysed and interpreted by members of the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics, ranging from statisticians and mathematicians to biologists and bioinformaticians. The long-term goal of the planned experimental evolution project is to explain why natural populations are so diverse and how many genes need to be changed for animals to be successful in a new environment.

January 2012: Guest professor

Research assistant professor Christopher Willett investigates the nature of genetic variation that underlies speciation and adaptation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In collaboration with members of the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics, he will address questions about early stages of speciation and the evolution of thermal adaptation in copepods as a model system.

Chris Willett

"Working with the group of Christian Schlötterer will provide me with a great opportunity to learn cutting edge techniques of whole-genome genetic analysis and apply these techniques to the system on which I work", says Chris. In terms of speciation he is using this copepod system to study the genes that interact deleteriously to generate postzygotic reproductive isolation. He also looks at thermal tolerance and its potential interactions with reproductive isolation. He will work with us from January to August 2012.

January 2012: Visiting Scientist

Dr. Martin Schäfer, postdoc at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies (University of Zurich), will continue his collaboration with PopGen Vienna (Schlötterer lab) in from January until the end of February:

Martin Schäfer

"My research focuses primarily on evolutionary ecology and population genetics. I am particularly interested in how sexual selection, drift and gene flow interact and contribute to phenotypic and genetic divergence between lineages. In order to approach these questions I use a variety of methods including fitness experiments in the laboratory, quantitative genetics as well as molecular tools. During my stay at the host institute I will be investigating the evolutionary diversification of male accessory gland proteins (Acps) in multiple Drosophila melanogaster populations. By comparing ancestral and derived (cosmopolitan) populations, we aim to get insights into evolutionary dynamics underlying this class of genes at the stages of differentiation before reproductive isolation has evolved."

December 2011: Christmas Event

Students, faculty and associated members enjoyed a Christmas outing on December 14. Several Popgen skaters hit the ice to prepare the grounds for the tastiest burgers in town. As an interesting and usful side effect we witnessed some successful team building between beginners and more experienced skaters who had an equally good time!

 

November 2011: Links with partner programs

We're happy to have established friendly ties with three partner PhD programs across Europe. Student exchange, mutual course participation and student networking is planned with GENECO in Sweden (Lund), EESLMU in Germany (Munich) and the Finnish Population Genetics Doctoral Program (Oulu, Helsinki, Turku).

November 2011: Bioinformatics Internship at Popgen Vienna

The Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics hosted Michael Würdemann (Berlin) during November 2011 for a one-month internship. Michael attends an advanced training module at Consulting & Qualification Haberhauffe Centre for Further Education to become a bioinformatics assistant. During his stay he handled and analysed Next Generation Sequencing data in collaboration with our PhD students (on the picture, Michi is on the right).

from October 2011: Fulbright Scholar Bryant McAllister

We're happy to announce that Bryant McAllister, Associate Professor at the Department of Biology (University of Iowa), decided to spend his Fulbright sabbatical at The Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics. Bryant was nominated for the prestigious Scholarship by the Austrian-American Educational Commission of the J. William Fulbright Scholarship Board in Washington D.C.

Bryant McAllister

From October 2011 until end of January 2012, Bryant will investigate evolutionary consequences of sexual reproduction and interact with our PhD students through discussions and lectures.

Brian's website

October 2011: faculty meeting

The second DK faculty meeting took place on October 18.

from October 2011: Visiting scientist

From October 2011 until the end of the year, Dr. Chantal Dauphin-Villemant (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Paris 6) stayed at PopGen Vienna for her collaboration with the Flatt group.

Chantal Dauphin-Villemant

In her research, Dr. Dauphin-Villemant investigates the biogenesis and endocrine function of steroid hormones; in both insects and vertebrates, steroid hormones play major roles in the control of development, reproduction, and aging. However, although steroid signaling is well conserved throughout evolution, the precise biosynthetic pathway that leads to insect steroids is still incompletely understood.

One of Dr. Dauphin-Villemant's major aims is to elucidate this metabolic pathway and to better understand the evolution of steroids. Her group has used biochemical approaches to measure insect steroid hormones with great sensitivity and has also been involved in the characterization of several enzymatic steps of this pathway. The insights from this work have improved the tools to understand the function of these hormones.

In collaboration with Thomas Flatt’s team, Chantal Dauphin-Villemant is presently interested in characterizing the steroidogenic function of Drosophila ovaries and in unravelling how ecdysteroid production affects longevity in female fruit flies.

October 2011: PhD retreat

The yearly retreat happened on October 14-16 at the mountain resort of Feuerkogel in Upper Austria. We welcomed 29 PhD students, postdocs and faculty of The Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics as well as associate guests for research talks, brainstorming, hiking and socialising.

September 2011: Introductory course

The yearly Population Genetics Introductory Course for PhD students takes place daily during September and covers relevant basic concepts in population genetics, Drosophila genetics, statistics and bioinformatics. Our students also have the opportunity to attend the Evolutionary Genetics Workshop at IST Austria.

September 2011: 2nd DK Welcome Event

The Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics welcomes five new students! This year's Popgen Welcome Event took take place on Friday, September 2. We explored the historic Bohemian Prater and concluded the afternoon with a traditional Viennese dinner to give our Newbies Anton, Derek, Vukasin, Hester and Mikhail the opportunity to meet their experienced fellow students in a pleasant and informal surrounding.

Meet all our students here

    

July 2011: Summer internship for high school students

Two high school interns gained insight into experimental evolution:
We hosted Pia and Janine, two high school students, during July and August 2011 to assist PhD students of the Schlötterer and Flatt groups in projects dealing with temperature adaptation and life history evolution. Pia and Janine found the new experience rewarding, and it was a pleasure for us to work with them!

May 2011: Visiting Student

Bioinformatician Susanne Franssen is PhD student at the Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity (University of Münster, Germany). From May until the end of July she was hosted by PopGenVienna in Christian Schlötterer's group:

Susanne Franssen

"I am interested in microevolutionary processes in particular with respect to adaptation to abiotic stresses. As adaptive changes in organisms and populations are to a large extent detectable via changes in gene expression, RNA-seq experiments provide the opportunity to identify genes involved in adaptation to a specific environmental stressor with the appropriate experimental design. I am following this approach in the ecological key species Zostera marina (seagrass) and the model organism Drosophila melanogaster."

May 2011: SAB meeting

The 2011 Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) meeting took place in Vienna on May 2 and 3.

May 2011: Visiting Scientist

During May 2011, Dr. Sophie Marion de Proce, postdoc at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (University of Edinburgh) was hosted by the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics (Schlötterer group):

Sophie Marion de Proce

"During my PhD in molecular evolution in Edinburgh, I worked mainly on the evolution of non-coding DNA. I tested for patterns of natural selection in introns in Drosophila, to test hypotheses about which categories of introns were most subject to selection. I am now working as a Postdoc to investigate whether the X chromosome and the autosomes evolve differently. Using a D. pseudoobscura polymorphism dataset, we expect to observe more evidence for positive selection and faster evolutionary rates on the X chromosome. This would imply that beneficial mutations are at least partially recessive and arising from new mutations.

I am currently visiting the Institute of Population Genetics to collaborate with Christian Schlötterer's group on obtaining a genome sequence for D. affinis, in order to use it as divergence data for our D. pseudoobscura dataset."

May 2011: NGS workshop

The Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics hosted a next generation sequencing (NGS) workshop funded by the Thermadapt programme of the European Science Foundation. It took place from May 23 to 27, 2011 at the Vetmeduni Vienna, Austria.

Scientists from different fields, ranging from phylogenetics to medical research, rely increasingly on large amounts of sequence data. As this can pose a major challenge to researchers, the goal of the workshop was to intensively train the participants in the required fields needed to analyse next-generation sequencing data. The workshop featured daily lectures in the morning followed by exercises in the afternoon.

The 28 participants from all over Europe gave very positive feedback about the workshop's content and organisation.

May 2011: Book "Mechanisms of Life History Evolution"

PopGen Vienna faculty member Thomas Flatt is the co-editor of a new book entitled "Mechanisms of Life History Evolution".
Details can be found here.

April 2011: PhD selection 2011 completed

Popgen Vienna welcomes five new students
Also this year we received about 100 applications from all over the world. After intense interviewing rounds with the most promising candidates we offered five positions. Our new students will start with their projects after Summer. We happily welcome them!

April 2011: Visiting Scientist

Dr. Martin Schäfer, postdoc at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies (University of Zurich), visited PopGen Vienna (Schlötterer lab) in spring of 2011:

Martin Schäfer

"My research focuses primarily on evolutionary ecology and population genetics. I am particularly interested in how sexual selection, drift and gene flow interact and contribute to phenotypic and genetic divergence between lineages. In order to approach these questions I use a variety of methods including fitness experiments in the laboratory, quantitative genetics as well as molecular tools. During my stay at the host institute I will be investigating the evolutionary diversification of male accessory gland proteins (Acps) in multiple Drosophila melanogaster populations. By comparing ancestral and derived (cosmopolitan) populations, we aim to get insights into evolutionary dynamics underlying this class of genes at the stages of differentiation before reproductive isolation has evolved."

January 2011: DK faculty meeting

The faculty convened for a first faculty meeting on January 25.

January 2011: DK Foosball Event

On 14th January PhD students, postdocs and staff met for a challenging match to inaugurate the brand new PopGen Foosball Table.

January 2011: Visiting Scientist

From January 2011, Dr. Patricia Moore (Associate Professor in Evolution and Development, University of Exeter) is hosted by The Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics.

 

A fundamental challenge for research in biodiversity during this critical period of climate change is to understand how organisms respond, in both the short- and long-term, to stressful environments.  Altering reproduction is one response to stressful environments, increasing an individual’s chance of survival by sacrificing the number of offspring produced.  The decision to reproduce or not under stressful conditions has been addressed in the past either in a mechanistic or ecological perspective.

Dr. Trish Moore’s research focuses how the environment affects female reproductive potential.  She investigates the evolutionary outcome of changes in the female reproductive system, the conserved physiological mechanism of oocyte apoptosis, and the role of genetics in individual variation in female fertility and response to environmental stress.

In collaboration with Dr. Thomas Flatt’s team, Dr. Moore will take a novel, integrative approach to exploring the role of reproduction in ameliorating environmental stress, using molecular genetic techniques required to study physiological mechanisms underlying life trade-offs in Drosophila

December 2010: DK X-mas walk

Students met for a walk through the seasonally decorated inner city.

November 2010: SAB meeting

While our more senior students gave full presentations for the SAB (Scientific Advisory Board) meeting of PopGen Vienna, our 1st year students got valuable first feedback on their projects during an informal Wine & Cheese session to meet the SAB members.

October 2010: PhD retreat

The first PopGen Vienna retreat was organised in the hut village on top of Feuerkogel in Upper Austria. PhD students, faculty and associated groups met for a weekend of talks, networking and hiking.

October 2010: Introductory course

The yearly Population Genetics Introductory Course for PhD students took place in October and covered relevant basic concepts in population genetics, Drosophila genetics, statistics and bioinformatics. Our students also had the opportunity to attend the Evolutionary Genetics Workshop at IST Austria.

October 2010: Visiting scientist

Until the end of 2010, Dr. Chantal Dauphin-Villemant (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Paris 6) was hosted by the graduate school as a visiting researcher in the Flatt group.

 

In her research, Dr. Dauphin-Villemant investigates the biogenesis and endocrine function of steroid hormones; in both insects and vertebrates, steroid hormones play major roles in the control of development, reproduction, and aging. However, although steroid signaling is well conserved throughout evolution, the precise biosynthetic pathway that leads to insect steroids is still incompletely understood.

One of Dr. Dauphin-Villemant's major aims is to elucidate this metabolic pathway and to better understand the evolution of steroids. Her group has used biochemical approaches to measure insect steroid hormones with great sensitivity and has also been involved in the characterization of several enzymatic steps of this pathway. The insights from this work have improved the tools to understand the function of these hormones.

In collaboration with Thomas Flatt’s team, Chantal Dauphin-Villemant is presently interested in characterizing the steroidogenic function of Drosophila ovaries and in unravelling how ecdysteroid production affects longevity in female fruit flies.

September 2010: 1st DK Welcome Event

Social kick-off: Students met for a hike with Heurigen in the vineyards above Vienna

July 2010: DK start date

2010 selection completed
More than 100 applicants followed this year's call for PhD positions. Interviews were offered to 10% of the most highly qualified candidates. 80% of the candidates accepted the offered positions and we happily welcome them to our program in September!

FWF - Der Wissenschaftsfond Partner: FWF - Der Wissenschaftsfond
Vetmed Uni Vienna Partner: Vetmed Uni Vienna
Max F. Perutz Laboratories Partner: Max D. Perutz Laboratories
Gregor Mendel Institut Partner: Gregor Mendel Institute
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