Expression of Interest

Contact Person/Scientist in Charge

  • Name and surname: FRANCISCO EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ VALERA
  • Email: frvaleraSPAMFILTER@umh.es

Universidad Miguel Hernandez de Elche

Department / Institute / Centre

  • Name: Departamento de Producción Vegetal y Microbiología- Campus de San Juan de Alicante- Universidad Miguel Hernandez de Elche
  • Address: Edificio Muhammad Al-Shafrá- Campus de San Juan de Alicante.03550. San Juan de Alicante
  • Province: Alicante

Research Area

  • Life Sciences (LIF)

Brief description of the institution:

Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche (UMH)
Organization profile
UMH was established in 1996 and began its academic activities in the 1997/98 academic year, being one of the newest public universities in Spain. UMH has 4 campuses (Elche, where the central administration is placed, Sant Joan d'Alacant, Orihuela, and Altea) and 75 buildings whose total surface area covers 947,635 m2. Its constructed surface area is 209,876 m2. There are 16,000 full‐time students and 24,500 alumni since the university's creation. The UMH budget for 2015 is 90,820,442 €. The UMH has 9 faculties (Faculty of Fine Arts, Faculty of Experimental Sciences, School of Engineering of Elche, School of Engineering of Orihuela, Faculty of Social and Legal Sciences of Elche, Faculty of Social and Legal Sciences of Orihuela, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, and Faculty of Medicine). Regarding academics, UMH offers 25 bachelor's, 44 master's, and 16 PhD programs. The UMH has also several Research Centres, including the Instituto de Neurociencias (recognized as “Severo Ochoa” Center of Excellence), Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular, Instituto de Bioingeniería and Centro de Investigación Operativa. The total number of employees at the UMH is about 1,600. UMH personnel are distributed into 2 areas: faculty (1,018), of which 536 are full‐time, 482 part‐time, and 650 of these are Ph.D.s; and staff (577), with 372 administration and services personnel, along with 205 technicians and people contracted through research projects.

Brief description of the Centre/Research Group (including URL if applicable):

The advent of Genomicas marrks a gear shift in Biology and no biological science has been more affected than Microbiology. Microbial genomes are small and easier to analyze, therefore, the powers of the genomic tools are here at their best. Prokaryotic microbes will be, with all probability, the first living organisms in which a genomic-centered Biology will be developed, and from all the aspects for prokaryotic biology that will benefit from that understanding their evolution will be one of the most deeply affected. The Evolutionary Genomics Group of Universidad Miguel Hernandez de Elche was created with the aims of exploiting the vast richness of information that the growing database of microbial genomes is generating to understand how these microbes evolve and adapt to their specific environments. On the other hand, the roots of our group are in Microbiology, and this is our main scope, the biological (holistic) understanding of microbial evolution. To achieve this understanding we are experienced in Bioinformatics that together with high throughput sequencing and Microbial Ecology form the methodological framework of the group. The study of microbes in their natural environment by metagenomics and more classical, culture based, approaches represent also one of the axis of the group endeavours. Population genomics (microdiversity) is another important avenue from which we hope to improve our understanding of microbial evolution.Our laboratory is among the most experienced metagenomics research groups in the world

Project description:

Virus-host interactome in nature: evolutionary implications (VIREVO) Cells and viruses are closely interwoven entities that co-evolve. This is a self-evident assertion. However, it is often forgotten and the evolution of each, host and parasite, are considered independently with very little consideration to the evolving nature of the other partner. Recent discoveries from the fields of metagenomics and single-cell genomics have shown that in nature, microbes live in populations made up of complex consortia of different clonal lines, each of them the equivalent of a pure culture (Rodriguez-Valera et al. 2009; Gonzaga et al. 2012; Kashtan et al. 2014). In addition, unicellular microbes, specifically prokaryotic cells (Bacteria and Archaea) are always inextricably linked to their viral predators. In aquatic environments, for example, there are typically 10 virions per prokaryotic cell. Similar figures are likely found in soils or the animal microbiomes, therefore, most prokaryotic cells are in a continuous state of interaction with their viruses.We would like to introduce the concept of the Interactome as the pools of genes involved in the specificity of interaction among prokaryotic cells and their viruses (herein referred to by the common term phages). In this project we aim to improve our understanding of the phagebacterium interaction and their evolution by analysing two paradigms of bacterial lifestyle (Alteromonas and Pelagibacter) in the largest ecosystem in the world, the oligotrophic ocean. Both microbes are ubiquitous in the global ocean, but they have chosen two opposite alternatives to survive. Alteromonas is a typical r-strategist that grows fast when localized high concentration of nutrients (mostly organic) becomes available.

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