Category Archives: methods

Job: Computational and Systems Biology – Dartmouth University

Faculty Position in Microbial Computational and Systems Biology
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Department of Microbiology & Immunology seek applicants for a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the area of Computational and Systems Biology in microbial organisms.
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An open letter to the fungal research community regarding genome database resources

An open letter to the fungal research community regarding genome database resources (from the Broad Institute & FungiDB/EuPathDB):

As many of you are already aware, fungal genome websites at the Broad Institute are undergoing a major transition. These resources were originally developed in support of sequencing projects, many of which have long-since been completed. While we have tried to keep such sites operational for as long as possible without funding, infrastructure changes now underway will make these websites nonfunctional over the coming weeks. We are therefore replacing formerly interactive websites with a static page providing information on fungal projects, along with links to the Broad FTP site where datasets can still be downloaded, and links to NCBI – the primary repository for all genomic data, where all genomes and annotation have been deposited and can be accessed, queried, and downloaded. We are also working to incorporate genomic data into other sites that support comparative analysis of fungal genomes, including FungiDB and MycoCosm.

The EuPathDB family of databases (funded by NIAID/NIH and the Wellcome Trust) supports a wide range of microbial eukaryotes; FungiDB includes many fungal (and oomycete) species, including non-pathogens. This resource has been designed to provide sustainable, cost-effective automated analysis of multiple genomes, integrating curated information (when available), with comments and supporting evidence from the user community (PubMed IDs, phenotypic information, images, datasets, etc). In addition to gene records, browser views, and data downloads, FungiDB offers sophisticated tools for integrating and mining diverse Omics datasets that fungal biologists will find quite useful. See the sidebar on the FungiDB web site for access to tutorials, videos, and exercises.

MycoCosm (supported by JGI/DOE) offers the largest available collection of fungal genomes, for comparative genomics across phylo- and eco-groups, along with interactive web-based tools for genome downloading, searching and browsing, and a form for nominating new species for sequencing to fill gaps in the Fungal Tree of Life.

For many years the Broad has been pleased to work closely with various fungal research communities, and we will continue to work with EuPathDB and MycoCosm to transition data valued by the community. Please direct any inquires or requests for help to

NSF Poststdoc opportunity for Research using biological collections

Earlier this year the NSF released a postdoc opportunity for research to use Biological Collections. In particular these can be strain collections and stock collections. The US Culture Collection Network is a Research Coordination Network which brings together many collaborating culture collections. You can find many of the U.S. living collections there include fungal centers like the Phaff Yeast Collection and Fungal Genetics Stock Center. The Gilbertson Mycological Herbarium at U Arizona under Elizabeth Arnold‘s leadership has developed a rich collection of endophyte fungi which would be another excellent environment to work with these resources. Kyria Boundy-Mills who is the curator of the Phaff collection has also expressed interest in either hosting or helping working with a postdoc on this. There is tremendous biodiversity of the fungi available in these and other culture collections so seems like a great chance to tap into these.
This would be a great opportunity to link work in the 1000 Fungal genomes project and sampling from culture collections (not just sequencing, but growing and characterizing growth, carbon source utilization and integrating that with predictions made from genome comparisons). If this is something interesting to you – do get in touch with some of the curators at these collections, but also my lab and I expect many other labs would be interested hosting someone to work on these questions that take advantage of these living collections of fungi.
Proposals are to be submitted by potential post docs. Submitter must be a US citizen or US permanent resident. The next deadline is November 3, 2015Funding total for the program is $8 million, 40 awards anticipated, up to two years. Here’s some key text from the solicitation:

Competitive Area 2. Postdoctoral Research Fellowships Using Biological Collections.

Biological research collections represent the documented scientific history of life on Earth, and the U.S. museum community alone curates over a billion specimens ranging from bacteria to plants, insects and vertebrates, as well as fossils. Across the globe, collections represent critical infrastructure and support essential research activities in biology and its related fields. Scientists, government agencies, industry and citizens utilize collections to document and understand evolution and biodiversity, study global change, formulate advice on conservation planning, educate the general public, improve interactions between sciences, and devise new practical applications from science to every day life. New technologies supported by NSF in digitization, such as the Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) program, are making collections and their associated data, whether they are physical specimens, text, images, sounds, or data tables, searchable in online databases. Despite this clear progress in improving access to physical specimens and their associated metadata, collections remain under-utilized for answering contemporary questions about fundamental aspects of biological processes. Thus, collections are poised to become a critical resource for developing transformative approaches to address key questions in biology and potentially develop applications that extend biology to physical, mathematical, engineering and social sciences. This postdoctoral track seeks transformative approaches that use biological collections in highly innovative ways to address grand challenges in biology. Priority may be given to applicants who integrate biological collections and associated resources with other types of data in an effort to forge new insight into areas traditionally funded by BIO. Examples of key questions in biology of interest include, but are not limited to, links between genotype and phenotype, evolutionary developmental biology, comparative approaches in functional and developmental neurobiology, and the biophysics of nanostructures. Using collections as a resource for grand challenge questions in biology is expected to present new opportunities to advance understanding of biological processes and systems, inspiring new discoveries in areas with relevance to other disciplines with overlapping interests in biological systems. Applicants must document access to the selected collection(s) in the research and training plan.

Some recent fungal and oomycete genome papers A few papers covering some published genomes you should definitely read if you have the chance.

  • Youssef NH, Couger MB, Struchtemeyer CG, Liggenstoffer AS, Prade RA, Najar FZ, Atiyeh HK, Wilkins MR, & Elshahed MS (2013). The Genome of the Anaerobic Fungus Orpinomyces sp. Strain C1A Reveals the Unique Evolutionary History of a Remarkable Plant Biomass Degrader. Applied and environmental microbiology, 79 (15), 4620-34 PMID: 23709508
    Describes first published genome of a Neocallimastigomycota fungus that resides within the rumen gut. Cool findings related to lignocellulolytic degradation pathways and basic biology about early diverging fungi which have intact flagellar apparatus.
  • Bushley KE, Raja R, Jaiswal P, Cumbie JS, Nonogaki M, Boyd AE, Owensby CA, Knaus BJ, Elser J, Miller D, Di Y, McPhail KL, & Spatafora JW (2013). The Genome of Tolypocladium inflatum: Evolution, Organization, and Expression of the Cyclosporin Biosynthetic Gene Cluster. PLoS Genetics, 9 (6) PMID: 23818858Describes the genome of a pathogen of beetle larvae (and related to Cordyceps). This fungus is important as it produces the immunosuppresive drug cyclosporin as a secondary metabolite. Analysis of the complete secondary metabolite pathways in the genome help shed light on the origin of this and other secondary metabolite gene clusters.
  • Schardl CL, Young CA, Hesse U, Amyotte SG, Andreeva K, Calie PJ, Fleetwood DJ, Haws DC, Moore N, Oeser B, Panaccione DG, Schweri KK, Voisey CR, Farman ML, Jaromczyk JW, Roe BA, O’Sullivan DM, Scott B, Tudzynski P, An Z, Arnaoudova EG, Bullock CT, Charlton ND, Chen L, Cox M, Dinkins RD, Florea S, Glenn AE, Gordon A, Güldener U, Harris DR, Hollin W, Jaromczyk J, Johnson RD, Khan AK, Leistner E, Leuchtmann A, Li C, Liu J, Liu J, Liu M, Mace W, Machado C, Nagabhyru P, Pan J, Schmid J, Sugawara K, Steiner U, Takach JE, Tanaka E, Webb JS, Wilson EV, Wiseman JL, Yoshida R, & Zeng Z (2013). Plant-symbiotic fungi as chemical engineers: multi-genome analysis of the clavicipitaceae reveals dynamics of alkaloid loci. PLoS Genetics, 9 (2) PMID: 23468653 

    A very rich and detailed paper, this presents a gold mine of complete genome data of 15 species and secondary metabolite profiling. The data include genomes of 10 epichloae fungi that are endophytes of grasses, three Claviceps species (ergot fungi), a morning-glory symbiont and a bamboo pathogen. The analyses of the genes from pathway analyses of the genomes along with profiling alkaloid productions the authors were able to link clusters to products in many cases. This is a rich and useful paper for anyone working in this field of secondary metabolites and sets the standard for a how a biological question can be answered by genome sequencing of a clade of related species.

  • Wicker T, Oberhaensli S, Parlange F, Buchmann JP, Shatalina M, Roffler S, Ben-David R, Doležel J, Simková H, Schulze-Lefert P, Spanu PD, Bruggmann R, Amselem J, Quesneville H, van Themaat EV, Paape T, Shimizu KK, & Keller B (2013). The wheat powdery mildew genome shows the unique evolution of an obligate biotroph. Nature Genetics PMID: 23852167

    Genome of wheat pathogen Blumeria graminis f.sp. tritici.This paper includes an identification and analysis of effector genes and dating the emergence of the pathogen relative the domestication and diversification of wheat.
  • Jiang RH, de Bruijn I, Haas BJ, Belmonte R, Löbach L, Christie J, van den Ackerveken G, Bottin A, Bulone V, Díaz-Moreno SM, Dumas B, Fan L, Gaulin E, Govers F, Grenville-Briggs LJ, Horner NR, Levin JZ, Mammella M, Meijer HJ, Morris P, Nusbaum C, Oome S, Phillips AJ, van Rooyen D, Rzeszutek E, Saraiva M, Secombes CJ, Seidl MF, Snel B, Stassen JH, Sykes S, Tripathy S, van den Berg H, Vega-Arreguin JC, Wawra S, Young SK, Zeng Q, Dieguez-Uribeondo J, Russ C, Tyler BM, & van West P (2013). Distinctive Expansion of Potential Virulence Genes in the Genome of the Oomycete Fish Pathogen Saprolegnia parasitica. PLoS Genetics, 9 (6) PMID: 23785293

    Genome of the fish pathogen and Oomycete Saprolegnia provide additional perspective on this diverse group organisms, evolution of metabolism and host-associated lifestyles.
  • Aylward FO, Burnum-Johnson KE, Tringe SG, Teiling C, Tremmel DM, Moeller JA, Scott JJ, Barry KW, Piehowski PD, Nicora CD, Malfatti SA, Monroe ME, Purvine SO, Goodwin LA, Smith RD, Weinstock GM, Gerardo NM, Suen G, Lipton MS, & Currie CR (2013). Leucoagaricus gongylophorus produces diverse enzymes for the degradation of recalcitrant plant polymers in leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens. Applied and environmental microbiology, 79 (12), 3770-8 PMID: 23584789Genome of the ant farmed fungus Leucoagaricus. This paper presents a draft genome assembly a useful step in understanding the fascinating symbiosis between ants and their cultivated fungi.

FungiDB 2.3 released with 52 genomes

The latest release of FungiDB (2.3) is now live and includes 52 genomes, 11 of which are new for this release. This was a longer than expected release cycle due to reintegration with the EuPathDB software team. Programmers Raghu Ramamurthy and Edward Liaw at UC Riverside did nearly all the Fungal specific work, collaborating closely with the EuPathDB team who provided many site-specific corrections and assistance in running the workflow. This is a joint collaborative project between the UCR,Oregon State (FungiDB) and U Penn, Univ of Georgia (EuPathDB) and the work in this release was funded through grants from the Burroughs Welcome Fund, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the USDA-NIFA.

An announcement for FungiDB 2.3 is here and included below.

New genomes included in this release include

Botrytis cinerea
Sclerotinia sclerotiorum
Aspergillus carbonarius
Neosartorya fischeri
Trichoderma reesei
Schizosaccharomyces japonicus
Schizosaccharomyces octosporus
Phanerochaete chrysosporium
Sporisorium reilianum
Malassezia globosum
Mucor circinelloides f. lusitanicus
Mitochondrial genomes were added for the following organisms

Aspergillus fumigatus
Neurospora crassa
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Schizosaccharomyces japonicus
Schizosaccharomyces octosporus
New genomics data available in this release include additional RNA-Seq experiments for Coprinopsis cinerea. High Throughput SNP (HTS) discovery module have been addded for Aspergillus fumigatus and a population of 23 strains from JCVI.

Data fixes and update

Updated in this release include new versions of annotation for

Aspergillus fumigatus – s03-m02-r18 from AspGD
Aspergillus nidulans – s09-m05-r03 from AspGD
Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici – correcting some annotation problems in Broad v2
Neurospora discreta – correcting some annotation problems from JGI
Saccharomyces cerevisiae version from 2012-11-20
The current annotation for N. crassa is still v10 release and does not reflect the V12 release made March 2013. The updated version will be available in the 3.0 release of FungiDB.


The Coccidioides RNA-Seq data in the previous release had flipped the labels of the spherule and mycelium results, this has been corrected.

Errors in previous loading of gene product information for P. sojae had left many genes without sufficient product information and description. This has been corrected.

Synteny results between several species were not properly loaded in the previous release. This has been corrected.

Data summary tables of genomes and gene metrics have been updated to reflect the current state of the database.

Known errors

Alternative splicing and starting/ending non-coding exons may not be properly represented in GBrowse and in the GFF files available for download.

Reference ITSdb for QIIME released

Good news!

An alpha version of the ITS reference database for use with QIIME was released this week as part of the QIIME team development. There are more details on the release and how to obtain it from the project’s post here.

Please note that this is an Alpha release and may not be completely consistent, but the team wants to make something available now to give people a starting DB for use of QIIME and ITS data.  Parameters will need to be modified from the defaults, so watch the QIIME space, and we are working on a best practices document in the lab here to help ease the training in this.

All the data are also in a github repository and this is built starting from the database provided and curated by the UNITE team. I love that the data are getting version controlled here so it is easy to look at versions and revisions.

Announcing FungiDB 2.1 release

On behalf of the FungiDB development team I am pleased to announce the release of FungiDB 2.1 which includes 39 Fungal genomes from Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, and Mucormycotina (Zygomycota) and 6 genomes of Oomycetes.  This release builds on the 2.0 release from August to include 6 additional species, RNA-Seq from a population of Neurospora strains, growth time points in 3 fungi Coprinopsis, Neurospora, and Rhizopus, and Phytophthora species. The 6 new genomes include Batrachochytrium dendrobatidisCoprinopsis cinereusHistoplasma capsulatumCoccidioides posadasii, Rhizopus delemar (formerly oryzae), and Ustilago maydis.

While the Oomycetes are not true Fungi, as phylogenetically they are in a very distinctly different clade, however we have included them in the database as part of collaboration with Brett Tyler. It may be that some aspects of the convergent evolutionary patterns among these groups can be revealed by having the data in a common system and use of the same tools.

Several human pathogenic and opportunistic fungi are now available in the system including 2 strains of Histoplasma capsulatum and 2 species of Coccidioides, Candida albicans, 2 Cryptococcus gattii strains, C. neoformans var grubii, and 2 C. neoformans var neoformans strains, Fusarium oxysporumAspergillus fumigatus and A. terreus. With the homolog tools available in the FungiDB system, one can map functional data from onto genes in these fungi from related models in the filamentous or yeast species.

Plant pathogens Magnaporthe grisea, Ustilago maydis, Puccinia graminis, and several Fusarium species, and the collection of 6 Oomycetes also provide a platform for comparative genomics among plant pathogens.

Functional annotation data have been imported from model system databases for Aspergillus nidulans, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and C. albicans.  We also generate predicted GO annotations from InterPro based analyses.

The development team at UC Riverside including Raghu Ramamurthy, past member Daniel Borcherding, and new member Edward Liaw; our collaborators on Oomycete data at Oregon State Brett Tyler and Sucheta Tripathy; and the EuPathDB developers and systems teams that have been essential partners in everything from assisting in data development and software debugging to database administration and web and systems administration.

Future work

Work is likely to begin in the next quarter to curate and support further literature based annotation of gene function in the Cryptococcus species. In addition we plan to expand the supported phenotypic data for Neurospora to support work from the Program Project grant and the phenotyping of the systematic gene deletion collection.

Additional support will be rolled out for more functional and evolutionary genomics data including expanded RNA-Seq datasets, population genetic data sets for several species with cohorts of sequencing of strain populations. We plan to continue to add additional species, with priorities focused on pathogens and model systems, but are interested in the community feedback of specific species that are must include targets in future releases. Please email help[AT] with your suggestions or fill out feedback on the “Contact Us” link on the FungiDB page.

The work in this release was supported by grants from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.The Oregon State team is supported by grants from the Agricultural and Food Research Initiative of the  USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture.  The EuPathDB team is supported by grants from the NIH, Gates Foundation, and Wellcome Trust. Without the direct and indirect support of these funders none of this would have been possible.  All web and computational resources for FungiDB are currently housed at the Univ of Pennsylvania or the University of Georgia, thanks to the many system administrators who keep these services running that have allowed us to make this release.

Postdoc in Fungal Phylogenetics

Post-doctoral Position in Fungal Phylogenetics

A Post-Doctoral position in fungal phylogenetics is available in the Hibbett laboratory at Clark University ( The Post-doc will participate in a large collaborative endeavor supported by the NSF AVATOL Program that is aimed at synthesizing a comprehensive tree of life from published analyses, and developing novel tools for community-driven annotation of the tree. Specific responsibilities will include (1) assembly and integration of phylogenetic datasets and trees representing all groups of Fungi; (2) coordination with a multi-laboratory team including software developers and systematists to develop and test new methods for tree integration and annotation; (3) outreach to the fungal systematics community; (4) contribution to a distributed web-based undergraduate course on assembling the tree of life, and co-instruction of a linked undergraduate course at Clark University.

The ideal candidate will be a productive researcher with interests in fungal systematics and the construction and interpretation of large-scale phylogenetic trees, will have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and will seek a career involving both research and education. Candidates lacking background in fungal systematics, but with strong qualifications in phylogenetics, and excellent potential as educators, may be considered.

It is anticipated that the position will be available beginning May 1, 2012. Up to three years of support is possible, depending on progress. Funding is contingent on final NSF approval.

To apply, e-mail a curriculum vitae, statement of research interests and career goals, PDFs of major publications, and names and e-mail addresses for three references. Applications from women and members of underrepresented groups in science are encouraged.

Clark University is an EEO/AA Employer.

David S. Hibbett
Biology Department
Clark University
Worcester, MA 01610
(508) 793-7332

Schizophyllum genome update

Robin Ohm at the JGI has announced the release of version 2 of the Schizophyllum commune genome. This is great news on the heels of the announcement that one of the funded 2012 CSPs will include detailed functional genomics experiments in this mushroom.

I am pleased to announce the public release of the JGI annotation and portal for the improved assembly of Schizophyllum commune.  Annotations of the assembly are now publicly visible at .  Annotation and editing privileges remain password-protected but all other tools are now available to the general public.

A detailed set of statistics on the assembly and annotation can be found on the Info page of that portal: