Lizzy Sollars

Lizzy is a PhD student with Richard Buggs’ group at QMUL, as part of the EU-funded Marie Curie ITN, “INTERCROSSING”. She is based in Aarhus, Denmark, with the bioinformatics software company CLC bio.

Lizzy’s project focuses on the genome of the European Ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior); she has assembled the nuclear, chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes, performed a draft gene annotation and analysed a panel of resequencing data from 37 additional trees. She is also working on an analysis of DNA methylation (epigenetics) data from trees with differing susceptibilities to the ash dieback disease. A lot of the data and results have been made available for others to download on the project’s website, ashgenome.org, in an effort to help speed up the identification of markers for resistance to ash dieback.

In all parts of the project, Next Generation Sequencing technologies have been used (e.g. DNA-seq from Illumina and 454 for genome sequencing, RNA-seq for gene annotation and Bisulphite-Seq for the methylation study), therefore Lizzy analyses data from many different omics technologies, using a combination of open-source and commercial tools, and her own custom scripts.

Background:

Lizzy completed her undergraduate studies in Zoology at Cardiff University, gaining a background in conservation and population genetics. Whilst studying, she worked on conservation projects in Borneo with Danau Girang Field Centre, and in South Africa with Operation Wallacea; the latter leading to a dissertation thesis concerning the effect of habitat damage on the diversity of bird species. Lizzy also undertook a Master’s degree in Analytical Genomics at the University of Birmingham, producing a report on DNA methylation patterns in the Arabidopsis genome.