Benjamin Schwessinger

Image Daniel Caddell

Group research focus

For a start we will have two focal points. The first one orbits around the question of how genome structure of diploid organisms, think fully phased whole chromosomes, relates to evolution and adaptation. Our focus will be on dikaryotic rust fungi, which have two haploid nuclei. We will overlay this question by comparing adaptation in wild and agricultural ecosystems. The second focal point will be pathogen identification and how infection changes the leaf microbiome. Both research areas will allow for collaborations across divisions at RSB. I am excited to contribute our expertise to many whole genome projects answering fundamental questions in biology.

Teaching and research achievements

Since I graduated high school, I have attracted eight independent fellowships the latest being a DECRA and now the Future Fellowship 18. These are pleasant achievements and I hope they convert to a pathway to long-term stability at some point. I am excited to contribute to teaching at RSB focusing on bioinformatics and genomics. This will provide an exciting opportunity to further my teaching skills that I have applied mostly on an ad-hoc and informal basis. In preparation for this, I will attend instructor training from The Carpentries.

What is your teaching focus?

While my skill set is fairly broad, I will focus my teaching on bioinformatics and genomics during my Future Fellowship. What I would really like to contribute in addition is content that focuses on reproducible research at the HDR level. Still to date this comes often as an afterthought. I am currently working in an international collaboration developing teaching material around this topic (e.g. here) and I hope to integrate this at RSB as well.

What else do you have underway?

I am excited to be chair of the RSB equity committee. We hope to make a positive impact at the school and college level to generate a more equitable and inclusive environment. For balancing all the science, I aim at competing in multiple long distance oceanswim races in the next couple years to refresh the mind and to realign.

Updated:  17 February 2019/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB/Page Contact:  Webmaster RSB