Sylvain Foret was the only Australia-based researcher to be awarded a Young Investigators grant from the Human Frontier Science Program (HSFP) in 2016. The grants are highly sought-after, with a success rate of less than five percent.
The grant is entitled ‘Beyond the genome: impacts of microbial communities and epigenetic modifications on adaptation’, and aims to understand the interactions between epigenetic mechanisms, which enable the production of different phenotypes depending on the environment, and the complex community of microbes that live in close association with every animal.
“This will enable us to better understand how animals can respond to rapid changes in their environment, especially when these changes are occurring too swiftly for genetic adaptation to occur (e.g. rapid rate of climate change in some marine environments)”, Sylvain said.
The award is US$350,000 per year for three years, and will be shared between Sylvain’s lab, and his two collaborators – ecophysiologist Adam Reitzel from the USA, and German microbiologist Sebastian Fraune.
The HSFP is an international organisation that supports cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research, and promotes intercontinental collaboration.