On the Impact of Genetic Variation on Molecular and Organismal (Immunological) Phenotypes

I will discuss our work on using the Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP) as a powerful resource to better understand genome evolution and the impact of genetic variation on molecular and organismal phenotypes. Specifically, I intend to present unpublished and still preliminary results of a large project involving more than 100 DGRP lines, aiming to detect and characterize variants that dynamically affect circadian gene expression in four different tissues, including the brain. In addition, I will cover our efforts to understand how genetic variation influences gut immunocompetence. We found intriguing differences between distinct genotypes in their overall ability to survive an enteric infection: some fly lines died rapidly, whereas others proved completely resistant. We are now using genomic approaches to better understand the genetic architecture of this biomedically relevant trait and examine whether we can predict the resistance level of individual fly lines using genetic and molecular data. Finally, if time permits, I will present novel data revealing the involvement of transcriptional splicing in mediating gut immunocompetence.

Bart Deplancke graduated as a bio-engineer at Ghent University in 1998. After pursuing a PhD in Immunobiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), he did his postdoc initially at Harvard Medical School and then at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. At the end of 2007, he became an independent group leader of the Laboratory of Systems Biology and Genetics (LSBG) in the Institute of Bio-engineering in the School of Life Sciences at the EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland.