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.

Aparna wins award at SPEEC-Up 2017

SPEEC-Up 2017 was the first iteration of what we hope will be an annual 3-minute talk competition for students of ecology, evolution and conservation in Bangalore. The event was a lot of fun, and a great way to get introduced to a wide range of work from our neighbours. I am truly happy to have had a chance to listen to so many cool talks.

We had three competitors from the lab- Kruttika, Aparna and Rittik all gave great talks about their respective work with insect gut microbes. We’re very happy that Aparna won a runner-up prize for her talk on beetle gut microbes! Here she is, accepting her award (with joint winner Vignesh).


Open postdoctoral position

I am recruiting a postdoctoral fellow to analyze bacterial communities associated with flour beetles. The postdoctoral fellow will work with a team of researchers towards the following goals:

  • Quantify the repeatability of ecological and evolutionary changes in the gut microbiome of an insect adapting to a new diet
  • Determine the metabolic and genetic basis of the microbiome changes
  • Test the importance of inter-species associations in driving microbiome changes

The position is fully funded through a grant from the Wellcome Trust-DBT India Alliance, and will begin from January 2018 for a maximum of 5 years.

  • A background in evolutionary biology, ecology, or microbiology is essential
  • Experience with handling anaerobic microbes would be beneficial
  • Experience with coding or mathematical modeling would be beneficial
  • The ability and motivation to think and work independently is important

To apply, please write to me with the following details:

  • Your CV
  • A short paragraph (~300 words) summarizing your research interests and career goals
  • Contact information for 2 people who can write a letter of recommendation for you
  • A 1-page summary of any paper from our lab. Include your criticisms and any questions that arise from the work

Congratulations, Arun!

A few months ago Arun turned in his Master’s thesis to Bangalore University. At long last, he’s received his Master’s degree and has done really well. For his thesis project, Arun quantified the competitive ability of different Tribolium castaneum populations as well as their ability to resist bacterial pathogens. Arun continues to work on these projects with us and is now an expert in various ways of poking beetles.

Mihir Umarani joins the lab

Mihir recently finished his Integrated Master’s degree from IISER Pune, where he worked with Deepak Barua to quantify variation in Impatiens plant species growing on rocky outcrops. He joins us as a Junior research fellow with a CSIR Fellowship, and is interested in insect-microbe interactions. Welcome, Mihir!

People flux

It is summer- time for change! We recently said goodbye to Shreyasi, who will join Rice University as a PhD student this Fall. We will soon have interns joining us for the summer: Anshul (who is already here and developing into an expert beetle handler), Jayjit, Agrim, Varada, Aparnna and finally, Vedant. We look forward to welcoming them!