Student Level: Honours or Masters

Yeasts of the artificial genus Candida include plant endophytes, insect symbionts, and opportunistic human pathogens. A better knowledge on the evolutionary relationships of Candida species is vital to understand the ecology, clinical relevance, and diagnosis of these yeasts. Recently, we studied the phylogeny of selected Candida species, withspecial emphasis on clinicalisolates, using the sequence of five genes. We showed six major clades resolving part of the Candida phylogeny. However, the genus Candida is complex and need more study. Now our next objective is to increase the number of strains obtained from the environment to gain a better robustness of the phylogeny of this genus and also to understand the relationship between environment and clinical infections.

For this reason, the first part of this project will be to collect as many samples as possible from a number of environmental sources: soil, flowers, plants, hospital environment and isolate the cultures in specific media.

The second part of this project will be to identify these strains to the species level, using molecular techniques, find new species and to study their phylogeny relationships within the artificial genus Candida, to improve the phylogenetic overall resolution.

Aims: (1) To obtain samples, containing yeasts from a number of environmental sources: woods, trees, flowers, soil; (2) Grow these samples on different culture media and isolate pure Candidacultures (3) Identify those cultures to the species level using molecular techniques (4) and to perform phylogenetic analysis.

Techniques: Environmental sampling, fungal culturing, microscopy, DNA estarction, PCR, sequencing, use of phylogenetic programs as CLUSTALW, MEGA, BIOEDIT and PAUP.


Supervisor: Professor Wieland Meyer -