Adaptation Lab

Welcome to Deepa Agashe’s lab at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore!

Organisms often face new, changing or otherwise challenging environments, which can drive evolutionary adaptations. However, different populations and species often respond differentially to the same environmental change, potentially altering their evolutionary trajectories. For instance, some organisms flourish in new environments, whereas others go extinct. What factors determine individual and population-level responses, and what are the processes and molecular mechanisms that mediate adaptation to new habitats? We are motivated by these broad questions at the forefront of research in ecology and evolutionary biology.

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Announcing the 2020 ICTS School on Population Genetics and Evolution

PopGen2020Kavita Jain and I are pleased to announce the fourth edition of the Bangalore School on Population genetics and Evolution. As always, we have an exciting speaker lineup, and we look forward to a group of enthusiastic participants. We invite applications from PhD students and postdocs (and exceptional MSc students) from biology, computer science, physics, or mathematics backgrounds. The key requirement is a strong interest in population genetics and/or evolutionary biology. Applications close 1 Oct 2019. For more information, see the school website.

2019 Conference season is upon us!

We are off to various conferences this year. Come listen to our talks, visit our posters, and talk science!

Aparna is already at Evolution 2019, to talk about the role of microbiomes during host adaptation in the Hamilton Award Symposium. We are rather proud that Aparna was selected to present as a finalist! She will also present a poster, and speak at the Story Collider event, Outside the Distribution. Do go talk to her!

In early July I will be at the Gordon Research Conference for Microbial Population Biology at Andover, NH, USA, presenting a poster on our beetle microbiome work. I’m super excited about this meeting, which is a great collection of microbially inclined folks.

Around the same time, Laasya will present a poster on her mistranslation work, at the EMBO|EMBL symposium on New approaches and concepts in microbiology in Heidelberg, Germany.

At the end of July, Parth and I will head to SMBE 2019 in Manchester, UK, presenting posters on the evolution and importance of translation and mistranslation, respectively. I am also organizing a symposium on the Causes of Parallel Molecular Evolution with Alex Couce. Come visit our posters, and listen to the amazing speakers in our symposium!

In August, Vrinda will be in Turku, Finland, speaking at ESEB 2019 about the population dynamics of laboratory-evolved beetles in new habitats. She has really fun data, so do check out her talk!

And finally, in the last week of August Laasya will present a poster and a talk at the FEMS summer school for postdocs: Bacterial robustness and mechanisms of death, in Split, Croatia.

New paper: Explaining population level variation in immune priming

Graphical Abstract_finalHere’s the latest from Imroze and Arun. A couple years ago we had found surprising levels of variability in immune memory (“priming”), across 10 wild-collected flour beetle populations (Khan et al 2016, Ecology and Evolution). In our new follow-up paper, we figured out what may explain this variation, by systematically analysing change in various fitness components in the populations, after priming. In a nutshell, it appears that priming is beneficial both for reproduction and for survival; but the relative benefits of priming may trade off. So, priming is stronger in beetle populations that are more susceptible to the pathogen; but it is weaker in populations that have a larger investment in fecundity after priming. Read the paper to find out more!

Pratibha’s interview on Doordarshan

Listen to Pratibha discuss chemical ecology and her work on the Methylobacterium species associated with traditionally cultivated rice varieties here! The talk (in Manipuri) was aimed at the farmers in Manipur. Pratibha is currently testing whether Methylobacterium spp. isolated from rice are beneficial to the host plant, and hopes that this project is ultimately useful for agriculture and to preserve the traditional rice landraces in the North-east.