I have an MSc in agriculture. I joined IMBM in 2016 to work on a project supervised by Prof. Marla Trindade and Dr. Olivier Zablocki. The background and the aims are given below.
Bacterial viruses (phages) are the most abundant biological entities in the biosphere. They play significant roles such as their involvement in the biogeochemical cycles, host genome evolution and diversity. Yet a little is known about phages and their role in the microbial community. The advent of metagenome techniques provided the opportunity to study the unculturable phages and their hosts. Phage studies carried thus far has been on temperate environments, soil and marine. Despite, extreme environment considered potential reservoir for novel biomolecules derived from phage-host interaction.
The aim of my project is to survey metavirome of the Brandvlei thermal spring and the phage host pairs in this community. The Brandvlei thermal spring is located in the Western Cape, near Worcester and is the hottest spring in South Africa (at 64°C). It is an interesting site for discovery of thermophiles and their derivative novel biomolecular compounds. In addition, the aim is to get the phage-host pair this will give insight on phage involvement in host genome evolution.