Biology Graduate Research ForumWestern Science

6th Annual Biology Graduate Research Forum 2015

Presented by the Graduate Students of the Department of Biology, Western University
Friday, October 16th, 2015

Keynote Speaker

Bogumil J. Karas, Ph.D.

The BGRF is immensely pleased to have one of Western Biology's own, Dr. Bogumil Karas, as this year's keynote speaker. Dr. Karas completed his Ph.D at Krzysztof Szczyglowski's lab in Agriculture Canada in 2009. He then went on to do a post-doc and subsequently became a staff scientist at the Craig Venter Institute. He has recently moved back to London and opened a company called Designer Microbes Inc. right here at the Western Research Park near Windermere Manor where he focuses on engineering microbes for various applications. Dr. Karas has worked in a world-class environment with top-tier scientists and a handful of nobel laureates. He will be sharing with us his perspective on the world of biology from multiple perspectives, namely as a student, researcher, staff scientist and as a start-up entrepreneur.

His recent accomplishments include:

1) Developed first replicating vector for eukaryotic algae as well as novel transformation method (Karas et al, manuscript to be submitted to Nature, December 2014)
2) Demonstrated for the first time that direct transfer of bacterial genomes into yeast by cell to cell fusion is possible. Nature Methods (Karas et al., 2013), Nature Protocols (Karas et al., 2014)
3) Discovery of a key signaling element that is necessary and sufficient for nodule organogenesis. Science (Murray, Karas et al., 2007).
4) Cloned two algal eukaryotic chromosomes, in yeast. Journal of Biological Engineering (Karas et al., 2014).
5) Cloned genome of Acholeplasma laidlawii, in yeast. ACS Synthetic Biology (Karas et al., 2012).
6) Designed strategy to clone Synechococcus elongatus genome in yeast as 30 overlapping restriction fragments. Cloned 10 of these fragments. ACS Synthetic Biology (Noskov, Karas et al., 2012).
7) Discovery of an alternative mechanism for successful rhizobial colonization of legume roots. Plant Physiology (Karas et al., 2005).
8) Discover that LjRHL1 gene, encodes a bHLH transcription factor required for root hair development in Lotus japonicus. Plant Physiology (Karas et al., 2009)