Dr Jan Schmid staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 84717

Dr Jan Schmid Dipl. Biol., Dr. rer. nat.

Senior Lecturer

Institute of Fundamental Sciences

I am a molecular microbiologist with a wide range of interests and skills in the area of microbe-host interaction, including genomics, bioinformatics, molecular microbiology, molecular biology, epidemiology, development and application of DNA typing methods, proteomics, population genetics and evolution.

Ongoing research projects are:

  • Assessing the extent of co-colonization of humans by multiple strains of the yeast Candida albicans
  • Defining the roles of protein-coding DNA tandem repeats in short-term adaptation and long-term mutational advance of fungi and eukaryotes in general
  • Defining the impact of the presence of the fungal endophyte N. lolii on the  microbiome of its grass host
  • Monitoring coadaptation of symbionts in novel N. lolii/ryegrass associations to identify key genes and processes involved in their interaction
  • Assessing the role of phosphonates in N. lolii- mediated fitness enhancement of ryegrass

See also my profile at Google Citations.

I am part of the team that delivers the BSc Microbiology and a member of the executive of the New Zealand Microbiological Society.

More about me...View less...

Professional

Qualifications

  • Diploma in Biology - University of Hannover, Germany (1981)
  • Dr. rer. nat. - University of Hannover (1985)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

  • Molecular biology, epidemiology and population biology of pathogenic microbe-host interactions (Candida albicans, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa)
  • Molecular biology, epidemiology and population biology of mutualistic microbe-host interactions (Neotyphodium endophytes)
  • The pros and cons of fungal sex
  • The role of tandem DNA repeats in protein evolution

Thematics

Health and Well-being, Future Food Systems

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Biological Sciences (060000): Evolutionary Biology (060300): Gene Expression (incl. Microarray and other genome-wide approaches) (060405): Genetics (060400): Genomics (060408): Host-Parasite Interactions (060307): Infectious Agents (060502):
Medical And Health Sciences (110000):
Microbial Genetics (060503): Microbiology (060500): Mycology (060505): Plant Biology (060700): Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics (060411)

Keywords

Molecular microbiology, Molecular biology, Genetics, Genomics, Transcriptomics, Proteomics, Evolutionary biology, DNA typing method development and evaluation, Molecular diagnostics, Microbial pathogens, Microbe-host interactions, Candida albicans, Fungal endophytes of grasses.

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 0 12
Team Member 1 0

Completed Projects

Project Title: New molecular biosecurity management tools for fungal plant pathogens

Fungi belonging to the genus Colletotrichum (also referred to as Glomerella) are among the top 10 economically important plant pathogens worldwide. They pose dangers to a broad range of economically important plant species such as coffee, tomato, sorghum, banana, strawberry and alfalfa. Colletotrichum species differ dramatically in host ranges and pathogenicity. Often species of very different host ranges and different pathogenicity are closely related and cannot be distinguished with commonly used genetic markers. This makes it difficult to manage the biosecurity risk posed by these fungi. In a collaboration with Landcare, we are identifying rapidly evolving protein-coding DNA repeats which can distinguish closely relates species. Several promising candidates are about to be tested. There is reason to believe that Colletotrichum fungi use high mutation rates of repeat-containing genes to adapt to new hosts. A follow-up project funded by Landcare will investigate the role of the repeat-containing genes in pathogenicity. Through providing accurate markers for species identification and elucidating the role of repeat-containing genes as determinants of pathogenesis/host range this project contributes to improved management of biosecurity risks in New Zealand. The underlying concepts developed in Colletotrichum will also be applicable to other pathogens.
Read Project Description Hide Project Description

Date Range: 2013 - 2013

Funding Body: Massey University

Project Team:

Project Title: Finding hypermutable Virulence genes in Candida albicans

The yeast Candida albicans is a common organism in the human gastrointestinal tract, a commensal colonizer that is neither beneficial nor detrimental to health. But C. albicans is also the most important fungal pathogen of humans. Bloodstream infection with this yeast (candidemia), often lethal, are becoming an increasing problem in immunocompromised hospital patients. The high mortality associated with candidemia is caused by difficulties in diagnosing the disease and in a very limited repertoire of antifungal drugs. To address both of these problems we have investigated the thousands of hypermutable DNA repeat-containing genes in the C. albicans genome. We have shown that some of these genes can serve as molecular markers for predicting the likelihood that the patient will die of the disease1. More recently we have found evidence that mutations in some of these hypermutable genes are associated with the transition of C. albicans from commensal to pathogen. This suggest that these genes could be new targets for antifungal therapy. Blocking their function might prevent candidemia. More importantly, changes in these genes could provide much needed molecular markers for early diagnosis of the onset of candidemia, which could save thousands of lives each year.
Read Project Description Hide Project Description

Date Range: 2012 - 2012

Funding Body: Massey University

Project Team:

Project Title: Function of DNA repeats in Candida

The yeast Candida albicans is a common organism in the human gastrointestinal tract, a commensal colonizer that is neither beneficial nor detrimental to health. But C. albicans is also the most important fungal pathogen of humans. Bloodstream infection with this yeast (candidemia), often lethal, are becoming an increasing problem in immunocompromised hospital patients. The high mortality associated with candidemia is caused by difficulties in diagnosing the disease and in a very limited repertoire of antifungal drugs. To address both of these problems we have investigated the thousands of hypermutable DNA repeat-containing genes in the C. albicans genome. We have shown that some of these genes can serve as molecular markers for predicting the likelihood that the patient will die of the disease1. More recently we have found evidence that mutations in some of these hypermutable genes are associated with the transition of C. albicans from commensal to pathogen. This suggest that these genes could be new targets for antifungal therapy. Blocking their function might prevent candidemia. More importantly, changes in these genes could provide much needed molecular markers for early diagnosis of the onset of candidemia, which could save thousands of lives each year.
Read Project Description Hide Project Description

Date Range: 2012 - 2014

Funding Body: Massey University

Project Team:

Project Title: Candia Contingency genes

The yeast Candida albicans is a common organism in the human gastrointestinal tract, a commensal colonizer that is neither beneficial nor detrimental to health. But C. albicans is also the most important fungal pathogen of humans. Bloodstream infection with this yeast (candidemia), often lethal, are becoming an increasing problem in immunocompromised hospital patients. The high mortality associated with candidemia is caused by difficulties in diagnosing the disease and in a very limited repertoire of antifungal drugs. To address both of these problems we have investigated the thousands of hypermutable DNA repeat-containing genes in the C. albicans genome. We have shown that some of these genes can serve as molecular markers for predicting the likelihood that the patient will die of the disease1. More recently we have found evidence that mutations in some of these hypermutable genes are associated with the transition of C. albicans from commensal to pathogen. This suggest that these genes could be new targets for antifungal therapy. Blocking their function might prevent candidemia. More importantly, changes in these genes could provide much needed molecular markers for early diagnosis of the onset of candidemia, which could save thousands of lives each year.
Read Project Description Hide Project Description

Date Range: 2007 - 2008

Funding Body: Massey University

Project Team:

  • Dr Jan Schmid - Project Leader
  • Dr Mark Patchett - Team Member
  • Dr Barbara Holland - Team Member

Project Title: Candida albicans: Survival without sex

Date Range: 2007 - 2011

Funding Body: Royal Society of New Zealand

Project Team:

Consultancy and Languages

Languages

  • English
    Last used: today
    Spoken ability: Excellent
    Written ability: Excellent
  • German
    Last used: today
    Spoken ability: Excellent
    Written ability: Excellent
  • Japanese
    Last used: today
    Spoken ability: Needs work
    Written ability: Needs work

Supervision and Teaching

Courses Coordinated

Current Doctoral Supervision

Co-supervisor of:

  • Asad Razzaq - Doctor of Philosophy
    Biological roles of protein-coding repetitive DNA in Epichloe endophytes

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • 2017 - Yajie Wang - Doctor of Philosophy
    Understanding aspects of alginate biosynthesis and regulation by Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • 2014 - Synodalia Wattimena - Doctor of Philosophy
    A Search for Contingency Genes in Candida albicans
  • 2012 - Ningxin Zhang - Doctor of Philosophy
    Sex has no detectable net benefits for Candida Albicans
  • 2001 - Martin Spiering - Doctor of Philosophy
    Distribution of #Neotyphodium# #lolii-#Endophyte Metabolic Activity in Perennial Ryegrass (#Lolium# #perenne#, L.) and Its Implications for Alkaloid Distribution and Photosynthesis.

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2016 - Mohammad Moradali - Doctor of Philosophy
    Molecular Mechanism of Alginate Polymerisation and Modifications in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • 2014 - Yanfei Zhou - Doctor of Philosophy
    Neotyphodium lolii endophyte improves drought tolerance in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne. L) through broadly adjusting its metabolism
  • 2011 - Iain Hay - Doctor of Philosophy
    Regulation and export of alginate in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • 2009 - Anika Jahns - Doctor of Philosophy
    Towards a better understanding of the polyhydroxyalkanoate synthase from Ralstonia eutropha: Protein engineering and molecular biomimetrics
  • 2008 - Jon Palmer - Doctor of Philosophy
    Surface characteristics of an adhesive, thermophilic spore-forming Bacillus, isolated from milk powder
  • 2007 - Uwe Remminghorst - Doctor of Philosophy
    Support Polymerisation and Export of Alginate in Pseudomonas aeruginosa: Functional Assignment and Catalytic Mechanism of Alg8/44.
  • 2007 - Thurid Freitag - Doctor of Philosophy
    Uropathogenic Escherichia coli of dogs and cats: Pathotypic Traits and Susceptibility to Bacteriophages
  • 2001 - Nicole Von Maltzahn - Doctor of Philosophy
    Molecular Typing and Phylogenetic Analysis of #Candida# #albicans# Isolates from Different Patient Populations.
  • 2000 - Steffen Porwollik - Doctor of Philosophy
    Analysis of a #Helicobacter# #pylori# operon incorporating flagellar export genes.

Media and Links

Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 contact@massey.ac.nz Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey