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Dr Tom Jonesman

Dr Tom Jonesman

Research Assistant

Sainsbury Laboratory
University of Cambridge
47 Bateman Street

Cambridge CB2 1LR
Office Phone: +44(0)1223 761100

Biography:

My PhD research focussed on the community dynamics of a widespread obligate plant root endosymbiont, the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. Despite their functional importance in many terrestrial ecosystems, certain aspects of their ecology are understudied. For example, whether or not AM fungi display preference for certain host plant species, how environmental heterogeneity and energy availability affect communities, how spatial scale of sampling affects conclusions drawn about their community dynamics, and the relative influence of niche and neutral processes. I profiled AM fungal communities using a combination of traditional microbiological and molecular biology approaches, including Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (TRFLP) analysis, cloning and Illumina sequencing. I joined the Paszkowski group in January 2016 as a research technician, to use Next-Generation Sequencing techniques to identify novel transposable elements in a population of Arabidopsis epigenetic recombinant inbred lines (epiRILs). Through this research we have observed transposons jumping around the genome in real time, a process which has revealed much about the mechanisms of gene shuffling mediated by this type of mobile element, and how this contributes to genome evolution. 

Research Interests

Mechanisms involved in genome evolution, including retrotransposon activity and virus-mediated horizontal gene transfer; community ecology of symbiotic organisms including mycorrhizal fungi, lichenised fungi and nitrogen-fixing bacteria; the influence of environmental heterogeneity and energy availability on the spatial distribution of organisms; nestedness analysis of biological networks; spatial statisics.

Key Publications

Catoni M, Jonesman T, Cerruti E, Paszkowski J (submitted) Mobilization of Pack-CACTA transposons in Arabidopsis reveals the mechanism of gene shuffling (doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/342816)

Brachypodium sylvaticum seedlings growing in an experiment investigating the combined effects of environmental heterogeneity and energy availability on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.

Brachypodium sylvaticum seedlings growing in an experiment investigating the combined effects of environmental heterogeneity and energy availability on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.