This is the fourth interview with the PhD students of the Metagenomics projects in a series of 8 background articles. Keep following this website for the next interview in this series.
Interview with Doris van Bergeijk, PhD student of the project ‘The effect of host-microbe interactions on the secondary metabolism of actinomycetes’ at Leiden University (Institute of Biology Leiden).
‘My interest in antibiotic research started during a microbiology course in the second year of my bachelor. We had to test bacteria from the sewage against different antibiotics and I was shocked by their multi-drug resistance. To me it was clear that we were in need of new antibiotics (or alternatives) and I am very excited that I am now working on a project that will hopefully contribute to the discovery of new antibiotics.’
‘Actinomycetes are filamentous bacteria that are well known for their antibiotic production. Sequencing has shown that the genomes of actinomycetes contain a wealth of undiscovered biosynthetic gene clusters and this discovery has spiked research into this direction. Signals from the host/environment of these bacteria might influence the expression of these clusters. I aim to find host-specific signals, for example stress hormones, that can influence the antibiotic production with the ultimate goal to use actinomycetes to control microbial infections.’
‘So far, I have discovered that certain signaling molecules indeed influence the antibiotic production of actinomycetes. I now aim to identify the biosynthetic gene clusters that respond to these hormones and the corresponding metabolites. Additionally, I have had the unique opportunity to isolate and sequence actinomycetes from mammoth stool. This data, together with the metagenomics data of the gut microbiome of the mammoth, allows us to study bacteria from the past and analyse the biosynthetic gene clusters that are present. Hopefully this can give us insight in the way these genes have developed over time and what role actinomycetes can play in the protection of higher organisms.’
The second edition of the NCOH Magazine has been published at the Annual Scientific Meeting at Radboudumc 17 may. Here is your chance to look at the digital version.
Will we be able to respond adequately when an unknown virus with pandemic potential emerges? The recent outbreak of MERS in the Middle East was an interesting testcase. Martine van Roode and Carolina dos Santos Ribeiro analysed the factors that hampered, or enabled, the flow of information, in Qatar and the wider Arabian peninsula.
Erasmus MC professor Marion Koopmans, head of the Viroscience department at Erasmus MC and scientific director of the NCOH, has been chosen by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) as a new member.
Young NCOH is the network for PhD students and post-docs from the NCOH research groups. Aim of the network is sharing knowledge and expertise in One Health related disciplines, which can lead to new collaborations in research. The kick off of the network takes place at the Annual Scientific Meeting, 17 May 2019 (ASM2019).