Dr. Karyna Rosario

Dr. Karyna Rosario earned her B.S. in Industrial Microbiology at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayag├╝ez Campus and her M.S. in Soil, Water, and Environmental Science at the University of Arizona. Dr. Rosario then completed her Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography with an emphasis on environmental virology at the University of South Florida (USF).  Dr. Rosario continues to do research as research associate at the Genomics Laboratory at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science where she completed her Ph.D. and postdoc.  Throughout her career Dr. Rosario has employed metagenomic approaches to describe viral diversity in different environments and organisms.  Notable work includes the incorporation of viral metagenomics into virus surveillance efforts (both clinical and water quality control programs) to enhance traditional virus detection methods, the identification of a novel bioindicator (Pepper mild mottle virus) that may improve health risk assessments associated with viral pathogens in different environments impacted by wastewater contamination, the discovery of circular single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) viruses in invertebrates, the use of top insect predators to investigate the diversity of ssDNA viruses circulating in insect populations, and the use of insect vectors to expand the known diversity and biogeographical range of plant viral pathogens.  Her current research focuses on investigating novel ssDNA viruses in insects and fungi and their evolutionary relationships to vertebrate and plant ssDNA viruses.  In addition to her own research, Dr. Rosario oversees undergraduate and graduate student projects in the lab and enjoys participating in outreach activities to teach the general public and K-12 students about environmental microbiology. 

Bulk analyses of viral genomes (i.e., viral metagenomics) present in different environmental samples have revealed the ubiquitous and diverse nature of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) viruses that encode a conserved replication initiator protein (Rep) in the marine environment. However, few studies have isolated ssDNA viruses directly from organisms.  Although eukaryotic circular Rep-encoding ssDNA (CRESS-DNA) viruses include animal and plant pathogens of economic importance, this type of viruses has only been recently detected in invertebrates.  The present study [Front. Microbiol. 6:696. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00696 (2015)] contributes to efforts exploring the diversity of eukaryotic circular Rep-encoding ssDNA (CRESS-DNA) in the marine environment by surveying CRESS-DNA viruses in various marine invertebrate species.  Twenty-seven novel and highly divergent CRESS-DNA genomes were recovered from 21 invertebrate species, including species for which viruses have not been previously reported.  Approximately one third of the marine invertebrate associated viruses identified here formed a distinct clade of CRESS-DNA viruses that may represent a novel family.  In addition, putative structural proteins encoded within CRESS-DNA viral genomes where investigated for the presence of predicted intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs).  The IDR analysis revealed conserved patterns of disorder that may be used to complement similarity-based searches to identify divergent structural proteins within novel genomes. Overall, this study expands our knowledge of CRESS-DNA viruses associated with invertebrates and explores a new tool to evaluate divergent structural proteins encoded by these viruses.