Title: Silkmoth clock
Host Institution: University of Padova
Supervisor: Dr Federica Sandrelli
Start date: TBA
Secondment: University of Haifa for 2 months for bioinformatic analysis, CREA for 3 months for silkmoth transgenesis and phenotyping, BCAS České Budějovice for two months for CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis.
Objectives: To discover the relationship between the LD cycle, the circadian clock and the immune response in the silkmoth and the optimal rearing conditions to grow silkworms that are less sensitive to infections whilst still producing good quality silk. Sensitivity to infections is regulated by both the photoperiod and the circadian clock, which modulate the immune response during the 24h day in Drosophila. We will determine whether a similar daily immune cycle is present in silkmoths when infected with pathogens by using a transcriptomic approach. We will create clock mutants using CRISPR/Cas9 and determine whether the circadian clock affects viability after infection and silk production under different photoperiods. We shall study the expression patterns of clock genes and any cycling induced immune system transcription factors to see whether they colocalise in silkmoth tissues.
About me: I’m Daniel, from Cavan in Ireland. I have always had a passion for nature and the environment, which resulted in me earning a degree in Freshwater and Marine Biology. During my undergraduate degree, I developed an interest in pathogens and their molecular mechanisms of infection and I went on to complete a masters in Infection Biology in Glasgow, Scotland. My MSc. degree project centred on the epigenetic factors influencing the lifecycle of Plasmodium berghei and in turn exposed me to the epigenetic and chronobiological mechanisms that control host-pathogen interactions, which I realised was where my passion lies. Since graduating, I’ve backpacked and worked in South East Asia and Australia, and more recently I’ve been working on a project regarding the population genetics and host-pathogen interactions of crayfish in Ireland.
I couldn’t have been more fortunate to find the CINCHRON consortium while searching for a PhD. My project utilises molecular biology to answer questions regarding the regulation of fundamental physiological phenomena while incorporating host-pathogen interactions, which is a perfect fit for my interests. Also, in addition to developing amazing skills using cutting-edge technologies, I will be able to network and travel with this international group of researchers, as well as work on a fascinating project! I am very excited to begin work on this project.