Master Thesis Project: Ancient DNA from malaria
With an estimated 241 million cases and 627.000 deaths in 2020, malaria is one of the deadliest diseases in the world today. The causative agents of malaria, Plasmodium spp., are thought to have infected humans since pre-historic times, but there is no direct evidence to support this as the disease leaves no physical traces on skeletal remains. In this Master thesis project, the student will use ancient DNA to study malaria in order to provide a first glimpse into the genetic makeup of past Plasmodium strains. The overall aim of the project will be to design and test a DNA capture array on three samples where preliminary sequencing results show presence of small amounts of Plasmodium DNA.
Methods: During this project you will learn the laboratory work for ancient DNA sequencing, from DNA extraction over DNA library building to sequencing on the Illumina platform. Furthermore, you will learn the bioinformatics workflow for data analysis of large quantities of sequencing data on our high-performance computing cluster.
Your qualifications: You are a highly motivated student with a background in biology, human biology, molecular biomedicine or similar. Preferably, you have experience in basic DNA laboratory work and in data analysis of large datasets using R, python or similar.
Frederik Seersholm & Martin Sikora