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News archive 2014

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).

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.

"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: 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 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!

Fond zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung
vetmed uni vienna
Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology
Universität Wien