"L’eucarioma: Evolució i diversitat de protistes associats a animals marins”

14 December 2018
Sala d'Actes
Given by: 
Dr. Javier del Campo
Position at: 
Departament de Biologia Marina i Oceanografia, Institut de Ciències del Mar


Unlike the study of bacterial microbiomes, the study of the micro-eukaryotes associated with animals has largely been restricted to visual identification or molecular targeting of particular groups. The application of high-throughput sequencing (HTS) approaches, such as those used to look at bacteria, has been restricted because the barcoding gene we use to study protist ecology and distribution in the environment, the 18S rRNA gene, is also present in the host animals. As a result, when host-associated microbial eukaryotes are analyzed by HTS, the results are dominated by host sequences. Stemming from our work on coral-associated protists, we successfully developed an approach that avoids the amplification of metazoan host genes, which allows us to use high-throughput methods to study the microeukaryotic communities of animals. This approach will open the doors to the study of diversity and distribution of protists in myriad environments, from the coral surface to zooplankton or the human gut.


Brief biography

My career started in 2006 at the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM - CSIC) and the University of Barcelona where I got my PhD degree in 2011. Afterwards, I moved to the Multicellgenome Lab ( at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology where I did a first postdoc (2011-2013). I moved in 2013 to the Keeling Lab ( at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, for a second postdoc. After more than three years I came back to Barcelona to the ICM –CSIC where currently I am a Juan de la Cierva Fellow since May of 2017. After almost a decade focused on describing micro-eukaryotic communities from different ecosystems, I am moving forward from primarily environmentally focused research to a broader one that will link environmental and organismal focused studies. This new perspective will have an impact on, and connect to, other disciplines like human and animal health. In particular, my research focuses on host associated micro-eukaryotes spanning from strict parasites to mutualistic symbionts. To better understand the role of these organisms, I use both culture independent and culture-based methods. In the first case, I use a range of high throughput sequencing techniques to assess organismal and functional diversity, including metabarcoding, metagenomics, metatranscriptomics and single cell genomic analyses. In the second case, I try to capture some of these new organisms by developing novel culturing approaches designed with the corresponding environment in mind. Once an organism is cultured, we can generate high quality genomes and develop experiments in the laboratory to deeply understand their biology. Overall, my research uses both wet- and dry-lab methods, taking advantage of state-of the-art molecular and bioinformatics approaches.