HR Excellence in Science

RNDr. Jan Brabec, Ph.D.

Position Postdoc - Laboratory of Helminthology
Evolutionary Parasitology
Institute of Parasitology

Contact details +420 387775484
brabcak@paru.cas.cz
209

Others

Research focus

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution of parasitic flatworms, molecular taxonomy of fish cestodes. 

Molecular ecology and population genomics of metazoan parasites of fish. 

Development of phylogenomic and population genomic markers for evolutionary studies including historical DNA sequencing (museomics)

Molecular differential diagnostics of helminth parasites. 

 

Ongoing research projects

Origin of parasitism in the Neodermata

One of the research lines of a multi-lab project granted to Tomáš Scholz to which I contribute genomic data and analyses of parasitic flatworms, in collaboration with Roman Kuchta. The early phylogeny of parasitic flatworms (including the widely known cestodes and trematodes) remains to be resolved satisfactorily and we address this issue through de novo characterisation of genomes and transcriptomes of selected representatives of the basal neodermatan lineages, bioinformatic analyses of the genomic data and interpreting individual morphological/ultrastructural traits in the light of this data.
 

Parasite radiations: Domino effect of host radiations?

A project from my previous postdoctoral position at the Muséum d'histoire naturelle de Genève (supervised by Dr Isabel Blasco-Costa) where I was responsible for carrying out the entire workflow of data generation and participate on data analyses. We are currently busy analyzing the rich dataset, testing various evolutionary ecology hypotheses concerning metazoan fish parasites with complex life cycles. While scientists still known very little about how adaptive radiations of host species affect the associated parasite communities, we try to understand if parasite taxa tend to diversify as a consequence of rapid host speciation, which traits predispose parasites to diversification and what processes generating variability underpin novel adaptations among distinct parasite population leading to speciation. These questions are key to our understanding of the speciation process in parasites and the evolution towards host specificity. 


Diversity and phylogenetic relationships of North American tapeworms

A project supervised by Tomáš Scholz for which I provide my expertise in molecular taxonomy and supervise the molecular data generation and phylogenetic analysis part. Representatives of several cestode lineages infect a range of North American freshwater fish groups, including the most primitive lineages of ray-finned fishes. We are interested in describing the diversity of their cestode parasites as well as understanding the mutual interrelationships of the cestodes using combination of classical morphology and electron microscopy techniques as well as molecular phylogenetic approaches including both Sanger- and high-throughput sequencing techniques.

 

Phylogenomics of formalin-fixed museum flatworms

A joint project of Dr Isabel Blasco-Costa (Muséum d'histoire naturelle de Genève) and myself that strives to test the utility of exome-capture methodologies for capturing highly damaged DNA of formalin-fixed museum specimens. Museum specimens are often the only available representatives for a given group of organisms ever collected, challenging to be recollected from nature again, and whose molecular records are often missing from current phylogenetic or systematic treatments. The aim of this project is to establish an efficient protocol and assess the power of the phylogenomic markers obtained in resolving the interrelationships of these organisms.

 

Student opportunities

If you are a prospective parasitology student (undergraduate or graduate) who finds the field of either molecular phylogenetics and taxonomy of cestodes or evolutionary genomics of flatworm parasites interesting, don’t hesitate to contact me through email or visit me directly at the second floor of the Institute of Parasitology. We can develop an interesting topic for your thesis that will suit your university degree and can be submitted in either Czech or English. You can expect to learn and use modern DNA sequencing techniques and bioinformatics, i.e. skills that are also sought-after out of the academic environment. 

 


Employment history

2020–now Research assistant, Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences

2019–2020 Postdoctoral fellow, Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Project: AQUAPARA-OMICS: Aquatic parasitism meets biomics – addressing key biological questions using novel datasets and modern analytical tools (Grant Agency of the Czech Republic)

2017–2019 Postdoctoral fellow, Natural History Museum of Geneva, Switzerland.
Project: Parasite radiations: Domino effect of host radiations? (Swiss National Science Foundation)

2012–2017 Postdoctoral fellow, Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Project: Molecular diagnostics, historical biogeography and genetic structuring of the populations of model platyhelminth parasites

 

Education

2006–2012 PhD, Parasitology, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Czech Republic. Thesis: Molecular systematics and evolution of basal cestode lineages

2004–2006 MSc, Parasitology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Czech Republic. Thesis: Paraphyly of pseudophyllidean tapeworms: testing a phylogenetic hypothesis using sequence data (18S & 28S rDNA)

2001–2004 BSc, Biomedical Laboratory Techniques, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Czech Republic. Thesis: Molecular phylogeny of tapeworms of the order Pseudophyllidea

 

Research visits

Dr Tim Littlewood, Life Sciences Department, The Natural History Museum, London, UK, 2013, 2014

Dr Peter Olson, Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, London, UK, 2005, 2010

Prof Klaus Brehm, Institute of Hygiene and Microbiology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany, 2006, 2008

 


Total found: 37 records
Kuchta R., Kołodziej-Sobocińska M., Brabec J., Młocicki D., Salamatin R., Scholz T. (2021) Sparganosis (Spirometra) in Europe in the molecular era Clinical Infectious Diseases 72: 882–890.
DOI: 10.1093/cid/ciaa1036
Scholz T., Brabec J., Hrubá K., Jirků M. (2021) High species diversity of fish tapeworms in congeneric hosts in Africa: revision of Monobothrioides (Cestoda: Caryophyllidea), including description of two new species and molecular phylogeny Organisms Diversity and Evolution 21: 447–466.
DOI: 10.1007/s13127-021-00492-1
Scholz T., Waeschenbach A., Oros M., Brabec J., Littlewood D. (2021) Phylogenetic reconstruction of early diverging tapeworms (Cestoda: Caryophyllidea) reveals ancient radiations in vertebrate hosts and biogeographic regions International Journal for Parasitology 51: 263-277.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2020.09.009
de Chambrier A., Brabec J., Scholz T. (2020) Molecular data reveal unexpected species diversity of tapeworms of Australasian reptiles: revision of Kapsulotaenia (Cestoda: Proteocephalidae) Zootaxa 4869: 529–561.
DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4869.4.4
Ebmer D., Navarrete M.J., Muñoz P., Flores L.M., Gärtner U., Brabec J., Poppert S., Taubert A., Hermosilla C. (2020) Anthropozoonotic parasites circulating in synanthropic and pacific colonies of South American sea lions (Otaria flavescens): non-invasive techniques data and a review of the literature Frontiers in Marine Science 7: 543829.
DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2020.543829
de Chambrier A., Brabec J., Tran B.T., Scholz T. (2019) Revision of Acanthotaenia von Linstow, 1903 (Cestoda: Proteocephalidae), parasites of monitors (Varanus spp.), based on morphological and molecular data. Parasitology Research 118: 1761–1783.
DOI: 10.1007/s00436-019-06326-6
Řežábková L., Brabec J., Jirků M., Dellerba M., Kuchta R., Modrý D., Parker W., Jirků-Pomajbíková K. (2019) Genetic diversity of the potentially therapeutic tapeworm Hymenolepis diminuta (Cestoda: Cyclophyllidea). Parasitology International 71: 121–125.
DOI: 10.1016/j.parint.2019.04.009
Scholz T., Choudhury A., Uhrová L., Brabec J. (2019) The Proteocephalus species-aggregate in freshwater centrarchid and percid fishes of the Nearctic region (North America) Journal of Parasitology 105: 798–812.
DOI: 10.1645/19-89
Scholz T., Kuchta R., Brabec J. (2019) Broad tapeworms (Diphyllobothriidae), parasites of wildlife and humans: Recent progress and future challenges International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife 9: 359–369.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijppaw.2019.02.001
Brabec J., Scholz T., Štefka J. (2018) Development of polymorphic microsatellites for the invasive Asian fish tapeworm Schyzocotyle acheilognathi Parasitology International 67: 341-343.
DOI: 10.1016/j.parint.2018.01.007
Hernandez Orts J., Scholz T., Brabec J., Kuzmina T., Kuchta R. (2018) Does the number of genital organs matter? Case of the seal tapeworm Diphyllobothrium (syn. Diplogonoporus) tetrapterus (Cestoda: Diphyllobothriidea) Canadian Journal of Zoology 96: 193-204.
DOI: 10.1139/cjz-2017-0013
Scholz T., Tavakol S., Uhrová L., Brabec J., Přikrylová I., Mašová Š., Šimková A., Halajian A., Luus-Powell W. (2018) An annotated list and molecular data on larvae of gryporhynchid tapeworms (Cestoda: Cyclophyllidea) from freshwater fishes in Africa Systematic parasitology 95: 567–590.
DOI: 10.1007/s11230-018-9796-y
Waeschenbach A., Brabec J., Scholz T., Littlewood D., Kuchta R. (2017) The catholic taste of broad tapeworms – multiple routes to human infection International Journal for Parasitology 47: 831-843.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2017.06.004
Young C., Miller M.A., Kuchta R., Brabec J., Newsome S.D., Dailey M. (2017) First Report of an Adult Tapeworm (Cestoda: Diphyllobothriidea) in a Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) Journal of Wildlife Diseases 53: 934-937.
DOI: 10.7589/2017-01-020
Brabec J., Kuchta R., Scholz T., Littlewood D. (2016) Paralogues of nuclear ribosomal genes conceal phylogenetic signal within the invasive Asian fish tapeworm lineage: evidence from next generation sequencing data International Journal for Parasitology 46: 555-562.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2016.03.009
Briscoe A., Bray R., Brabec J., Littlewood D. (2016) The mitochondrial genome and ribosomal operon of Brachycladium goliath (Digenea: Brachycladiidae) recovered from a stranded minke whale Parasitology International 65: 271-275.
DOI: 10.1016/j.parint.2016.02.004
Oros M., Brabec J., Kuchta R., Choudhury A., Scholz T. (2016) A synoptic review of Promonobothrium Mackiewicz, 1968 (Cestoda: Caryophyllidea), parasites of suckers (Catostomidae) in North America, with description of two new species Folia Parasitologica 63: 008.
DOI: 10.14411/fp.2016.008

Documents to download:
Oros et al. 2016 FP (pdf)
Brabec J., Kostadinova A., Scholz T., Littlewood D. (2015) Complete mitochondrial genomes and nuclear ribosomal RNA operons of two species of Diplostomum (Platyhelminthes: Trematoda): a molecular resource for taxonomy and molecular epidemiology of important fish pathogens Parasites & Vectors 8: 336.
DOI: 10.1186/s13071-015-0949-4
Brabec J., Waeschenbach A., Scholz T., Littlewood D., Kuchta R. (2015) Molecular phylogeny of the Bothriocephalidea (Cestoda): molecular data challenge morphological classification International Journal for Parasitology 45: 761-771.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2015.05.006
Hernandez Orts J., Scholz T., Brabec J., Kuzmina T., Kuchta R. (2015) High morphological plasticity and global geographical distribution ofthe Pacific broad tapeworm Adenocephalus pacificus (syn.Diphyllobothrium pacificum): Molecular and morphological survey Acta Tropica 149: 168-178.
DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.05.017

More publications

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