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Comparative viromics in vertebrates from the Sonoran Desert of the Baja California peninsula, Mexico and Arizona

Sonoran Desert Viromics Vertebrates


Titre : Comparative viromics in vertebrates from the Sonoran Desert of the Baja California peninsula, Mexico and Arizona

Organismes NSF : DBI Div Of Biological Infrastructure

Durée : January 1, 2022 — December 31, 2024 (Estimated)

This action funds an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology for FY 2020, Broadening Participation of Groups Under-represented in Biology. The Fellowship supports a research and training plan for the Fellow that will increase the participation of groups underrepresented in biology. Viruses play essential roles supporting life on Earth. They are present in all environments and can affect all types of organisms. Viruses are genetically and structurally diverse and their evolution is linked to their hosts. The fellow will characterize viral communities in wildlife and investigate host-virus dynamics in the Sonoran Desert. The natural variation of this region makes it the ideal setting to explore viral diversity associated with wildlife and the interactions between the host and the virus. This research is relevant to understanding factors that contribute to genetic variation within species, and also to understand how new species of viruses can emerge. Furthermore, investigating undiscovered viral communities in wildlife may be instrumental to gain knowledge on emergence of new viruses and prevent potential spread to humans. This fellowship will support the research, training, and career advancement of a fellow from an underrepresented group in STEM. The fellow will develop initiatives for underrepresented groups at the postdoctoral level, provide mentorship and develop educational tools.

In collaboration with the NSF funded BajaGeoGenomics consortium, the fellow will sample across the Baja California peninsula, Mexico (BCP), and the Sonoran Desert, Arizona (SDA) and follow a viral metagenomics approach to a) characterize RNA and DNA viruses associated with host populations of rodents, lizards, and carnivores, b) compare viral diversity within BCP and SDA host populations and evaluate potential geo-climatic and demographic predictors of viral diversity, and c) assess host-virus dynamics across BCP by investigating whether viral genomic differences are consistent with intraspecific genetic divergence between northern and southern populations. The project will integrate genomic and biogeographic data to fill fundamental gaps in viral diversity and explore the role of environmental stressors and host demographics in host-virus systems. The fellow will investigate the lineal history of host and viruses in context of the geo-climatic history of the region, predictors of viral richness, and patterns of divergence in viruses and hosts. As part of this appointment, the fellow will work along an international cross-disciplinary team, receive training in viral metagenomics methods, organize an international postdoctoral seminar series, initiate a virtual network for Latinx postdocs, contribute to the development of bilingual educational videos, and promote science education and mentorship for K-12 students.

Partenaire (s) : Karla Vargas (Principal Investigator)

Bureau de recherche parrainé  : Vargas, Karla Leonor Tucson AZ US 85745

Financement : 207 000,00 ¤

National Science Foundation

Page publiée le 27 juillet 2021, mise à jour le 13 septembre 2021