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[DBS lunch seminar] Denis Kutnjak: “Environmental virology and virus ecology: from plant virus diversity to monitoring SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater”
February 16 at 14:00 - 15:30
Viruses likely represent the most diverse part of the biosphere; nevertheless, a large part of their diversity is still unknown. Viromics approaches, based on high-throughput sequencing, enable the studies of virus diversity inside and outside of their hosts, in different environments, where some viruses can persist for long periods of time. In the past few years, we have addressed the diversity of viruses in crop and wild plants, invertebrates, and different water types. We discovered several previously unknown viruses, mostly in wild plants and in surface water samples. Using viromics, we have also discovered a diverse set of nucleic acids of viruses infecting plants in wastewater and demonstrated their infectivity even after wastewater treatment using classical virology approaches. During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, we have extended wastewater analyses to measurements of the concentrations and detection of variants of this virus in wastewater from different Slovenian wastewater treatment plants. This resulted in a very early establishment of such monitoring on a national scale, which now helps us to better understand the epidemiological trends of SARS-CoV-2. In this lecture, different cases of research from the fields of virus discovery, environmental virology, virus ecology, and wastewater epidemiology will be presented.
The seminar will take place at 14h in the seminar room of physics (106) in the main building of Jožef Stefan Institute. The seminar will start with a snack (pizza) and will be followed by an informal discussion.