Identifying the genetic drivers of thermal tolerance plasticity in the coral model Exaiptasia


Project Description

The objective of this project is to identify the genetic drivers of thermal tolerance plasticity in the coral model Exaiptasia pallida. To achieve this goal the organism will be subjected to thermal stress over a period of time, sampled at many time points, RNA extracted, sequenced and analyzed for gene regulatory networks. Outcomes of our research has multiple benefits. Our results will lead to (but not limited to) enrichment of knowledge base of coral community, identification of new candidate genes for further functional genomic studies and reconstruction of gene regulatory networks.  Recommended Student Academic & Research Background:Molecular biology with wet lab experience, undergraduate or postgraduate in biotechnology/biology/molecular biology ​ ​
Program - Marine Science
Division - Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Center Affiliation - Red Sea Research Center
Field of Study - ​Marine Molecular Ecology ​

About the

Manuel Aranda

Associate Professor, Marine Science

Manuel Aranda
Prof. Aranda is an evolutionary biologist with a strong background in functional genetics and coral reef genomics. His group studies the molecular underpinnings of the cnidarian-algal symbiosis and its environmental stress-related breakdown using functional genomics and genetics approaches. Furthermore, they are interested in how corals use the ability to modify their genomes through epigenetic mechanisms in order to adapt to changing environmental conditions.

Desired Project Deliverables

The project is multi-disciplinary in nature and requires wet-lab (80%) [and | or] soft-skills (20%). Soft-skills though not mandatory can be learnt during the course of project upon his/her initiative. The deliverables for the project are: 1) Regular plan for growth and proliferation of sea anemones 2) Setting up time series experiment 3) Optimize existing protocols to maximize the yields of nucleic acid (RNA/DNA) 4) Basic data analysis of RNASeq data 5) Consolidated report at the end of internship The expectations from the intern are his/her experiences in: 1) Basic wet laboratory skills 2) Animal care procedures 3) Molecular biology techniques – RNA isolation, DNA isolation 4) Knowledge on basic UNIX and soft skills (added advantage) In general, the intern is expected to be pro-active with eagerness for broadening his interests and meet PI at least once in 2 weeks to discuss about the progress of the research.​