Meet FEMS Microbiology Letters Poster Prize Winner Grete Raba

We send our congratulations to Grete Raba, who won one of the Poster Prizes at MiFFI, sponsored by FEMS Microbiology Letters.

The 2nd International Conference of Microbial Food and Feed Ingredients (MiFFI) took place in Copenhagen, Denmark between the 16-18 November 2021. The FEMS team was present at this meeting and was able to congratulate Grete in person and ask her some questions relating to her reserach and future goals.

Read our interview with Grete about her research below:

 

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

I am currently finishing my doctoral studies at Tallinn University of Technology, in Estonia, where I also did my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. I have been working at the university’s biotechnology lab for the past nine years, focusing on anaerobic fermentation and microbiota research. During my PhD project I have worked part-time with the Mucin Biology Groups at Gothenburg University, Sweden.”

 

Could you describe the research your poster covered?

The poster I presented at MiFFI 2021 covers a series of in vitro experiments where we studied the modulatory potential of various dietary fibres and mucins on the intestinal micriobiota. Our results confirm that high-specificity dietary fibres increase the diversity of colonic microbiota. The more diverse the consortium, the larger the pool of bacterial enzymes that can be utilised for conversion of food components into health-promoting compounds. We compared commercially available gastric mucin and in-house produced colonic mucin and showed how the differences in their glycosylation patterns reflect on the fermentation dynamics and bacterial composition. We combined metaproteomic and metabolomic approaches to describe the substrate degradation mechanisms. The species proteome-level analysis allowed us to identify novel polysaccharide utilisation loci. Together, these results provide novel insight for designing diets that support the health of the gastrointestinal tract.”

Grete Raba next to her poster

 

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

I hope to continue unravelling the complex dynamics between microbiota, intestinal epithelium, food components and their relations to human health. The rapid changes in human diet and lifestyle have brought upon novel diseases. I see a great potential in systematic microbiota studies and developing specific diets as unique, non-invasive ways to promote our health and to take better care of our bodies.”

In this video Grete also gave a short summary of her poster.

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