University of Warwick (UW)

13 uwThe University of Warwick’s primary aim is excellence in teaching, research and scholarship across a broad range of disciplines. The University is ranked among the top five UK universities in research and has a long tradition of undertaking research at a European and international level. It actively participates in the research and education programs of the European Union and has been awarded EU research contracts worth in excess of €38 million over the last four years. The University is very research active, spending about €92 million per year on research. The School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick is among the very best in the UK specializing in fundamental and applied research in molecular, biochemical, and cellular biology, with opportunities to carry out multidisciplinary research with a range of other centers of excellence at Warwick. The School is heavily supported by research contracts and industry, and has a large postgraduate and postdoctoral research population divided between the biochemistry & cell biology, environmental microbiology, infectious agents, environmental resource management, epidemiology and translational crop genetics research areas.


Contact person: Dave Scanlan (



Role of UW in MaCuMBA:

UW has a specific interest in marine phototrophs, particularly picocyanobacteria and seeks to obtain into culture strains from uncultured lineages identified from recent fine-scale molecular surveys that appear numerically important in open ocean environments. It already has extensive expertise on the genetics and molecular ecology of Synechococcus and the UW will extend this by i) assessing interactions with coisolated marine heterotrophs, ii) use flow cytometry sorting to isolate novel strains, and iii) make use of high throughout molecular data (both metagenomic and meta-transcriptomic) to inform culture isolation protocols. It will also iv) provide marine samples for other members of the consortium, v) enhance the genetic toolbox for marine Synechococcus including developing a protocol for the expression of foreign genes vi) provide cultures for screening of novel metabolites to SMEs. It will vii) use PCR to screen for the presence of Polyketide synthetase (PKS) genes in these isolates and use a marine Synechococcus strain known to possess a PKS gene cluster to establish how stress conditions control the expression of this PKS in the context of global gene transcription in this organism. This participant will contribute to WP2, 5, 6 & 7 and co-lead WP3.


Profile of staff engaged in the project:

Dave Scanlan

Dave Scanlan is Professor in Marine Microbiology at UW, having previously been awarded a prestigious Royal Society University Research Fellowship (1995-2003). Prof Scanlan’s laboratory focuses on marine photosynthetic microorganisms. He has also coordinated the sequencing of several marine Synechococcus genomes and is currently sequencing several more using strains isolated in the group and housed in an extensive Synechococcus strain collection in the lab. He has also been leader of several national research projects. For molecular analysis of cultures an array of molecular biological equipment is available. For bioinformatics an IBM computer network includes various molecular biological packages, and several UNIX computers run the ARB phylogenetic program.

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