Jacob joined SAERI in September 2015 as a shared PhD student with the University of Aberdeen, funded jointly by EASTBIO BBSRC DTP, SAERI and South Georgia. He is co-supervised by Prof. Pieter van West (University of Aberdeen), Prof. David Johnson (University of Aberdeen), Dr Paul Brickle (SAERI) and Dr Jen Lee (South Georgia). He is in the first year of his Ph.D. project which involves investigating the soil fungal diversity on the Falklands and South Georgia. The primary aim of his project involve investigating the impact that introduced reindeer have had on the fungal communities in Falklands and South Georgia, using targeted metagenomics the aim is to amplify and sequence the fungal ITS region to elucidate the fungal genus/species composition and investigate the impact reindeer have had on the soil fungal biota. Secondary aims involve collecting water samples to look for potentially new oomycete species and investigating their morphology and carrying out infectivity studies. Furthermore he intends to collect macrofungi samples and further expand the fungal database on the Falklands and South Georgia. His general scientific interests include ecology, mycology, metagenomics and bioinformatics.
Before coming to Aberdeen in September 2015, Jacob started his bachelor’s degree in Microbiology at Aberystwyth University in Wales, UK. His undergraduate thesis involved investigating the physiology of two species of slime mould, ‘A Physiological Comparison of Badhamia utricularis and Physarum polycephalum – Thermotaxis, Chemotaxis and Interspecies Interactions’. Upon graduating he was given two awards, one from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University and an award from the Society for General Microbiology for academic achievement.