FEMS Microbiology Ecology Poster Prize: Kabiru Nata’ala Muhammad

We send our congratulations to Kabiru Nata’ala Muhammad, who won the Best Poster Award at the 16th Symposium on Bacterial Genetics and Ecology (BAGECO 2023). This award sponsored by our journal FEMS Microbiology Ecology

Read our interview with Kabiru about his research below:


What is your current position, and what was your scientific journey to get there?

I am a fourth-year PhD student at the Department of Environmental Microbiology at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Studies – UFZ under the supervision of Dr. Ulisses Nunes da Rocha and Prof. Dr. Peter Florian Stadler from the University of Leipzig. My research is focused on exploring prokaryotic carbon fixation. I obtained my bachelor’s and master’s degree in microbiology from Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria, where I studied the potential of bio-based waste for biofuel production.


Could you describe the research your poster covered?

My poster presentation at the Bacterial Genetics and Ecology (BAGECO) conference focused on our investigation of bacteriophage’s potential impact on the functional resilience of microbial communities during intermittent starvation. We aimed to identify the viruses that might impact the resilience of the hydrogenotrophic community during starvation and the mechanism they use. Our preliminary result showed more viruses to be integrated as prophages during and after the starvation event. Using machine learning, we predicted one of the recovered bacteriophages to be an essential feature affecting the classification of the samples based on the different phases of the experiment. Further analysis will focus on studying the mechanisms used by the viruses to increase the resilience of the microbial community towards starvation. When completed, We hope our study provides a mechanistic understanding of how bacteriophages can be used as potential tools for controlling bioprocesses.


What do you hope to focus your research on in the future?

In the future, I hope to continue my research in biotechnology for climate change mitigation. More recently, I have been passionate about the possibilities of using viruses to enhance the capabilities and efficiency of prokaryotes for optimized carbon sequestration and ecosystem restoration for a sustainable and resilient future.


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