If you are a student at the university of Jyväskylä (or other Finnish University) here are some Master’s projects (Gradu) that are available in my group at the moment.
1. Mutational variance in different temperatures
We are currently working on mutation accumulation experiment with the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa. We have previously investigated how much genetic variation there is thermal performance curves of N. crassa (Moghadam et al. 2020) and we are interested to see if natural variation in thermal performance curves matches the variation generated by mutation. Most natural variation in thermal performance curves is for changes in curve elevation, we would like to know whether this is true or false for the effects of mutations that have not been filtered by natural selection.
This project involves microbiology and quantitative genetics, recommended for a student interested in evolution and evolutionary genetics.
2. Between generation effects in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe
It is known that fission yeast exhibits maternal effects (or between generation effects), where environment previously experienced by the yeast can affect its growth in the current environment. Yeast geneticists call this phenomenon ”culture memory”. While there are several possible mechanisms, epigenetic inheritance is one possible mechanism. We are interested how common these effects are, what is their mechanism, and whether they are adaptive. In this project we’ll study culture memory systematically, using mutants that are deficient in histone methylation we can test whether these effects are possibly epigenetic, and we’ll test whether memory effects are adaptive.
This project involves microbiology and genetics. Recommended for a student interested in evolution, phenotypic plasticity or epigenetics.
3. Population (epi)genetics in Neurospora crassa
By using whole genome resequencing and bisulfite sequencing data we have for strains sampled from natural populations, we want to investigate in a pilot study how much diversity there is in DNA methylation patterns, and whether there is any indication that variation in DNA methylation is independent of genetic variation.
This is an entirely computational project. Recommended for a computer savvy student interested in evolution, population genetics, epigenetics, or bioinformatics. Note that previous programming skills are not required.
If you are interested contact me at ilkka.kronholm[at]jyu.fi and we can discuss these further. The details of the projects can be changed depending on your interests. I’m also open to discussions If you have your own ideas that are related to the topics I am interested in.