We are very happy to announce our two new FEMS Ambassadors, Prof Nicole Webster (University of Queensland and Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australia) and Prof Vivien Measday (The University of British Columbia, Canada).
Prof Webster has been appointed the FEMS Ambassador for Australia and Prof Measday as Ambassador for Canada. Ambassadors represent FEMS at scientific meetings and among microbiologists, encouraging international connections and collaborations. FEMS Ambassadors share our vision, activities, and opportunities with microbiologists in their own countries. They use their networks, communication skills and enthusiasm to promote FEMS’ activities and encourage collaboration and participation in these activities and connect microbiologists and microbiological societies across the globe.
About Prof Webster
Nicole Webster is a microbial ecologist who holds a joint appointment at the University of Queensland and the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Her work revolves around sponge-microbial symbiosis, how environmental pressures affect symbiosis, and understanding the role of microbial contributions in reef ecosystem health. She leads inter-institutional research projects in the field of ecogenomics.
Her career has centred on studying microbial symbioses in reef species using culture-independent molecular approaches to predict how environmentally induced microbial dysbiosis impacts the health of reef invertebrates.
Her research group at the University of Queensland uses experimental and field based ecological research to explore multiple facets of coral reef microbiology. Metagenomic, metatranscriptomic and advanced imaging approaches are employed to understand reef invertebrates as metaorganisms and translate this research into strategic tools for coral reef management. She was recognized with the Dorothy Hill Award in 2010 and in addition to her research, she is involved in science education and activities to inspire young people into STEM.
About Prof Measday
Vivien Measday is Associate Professor at the Wine Research Centre and her lab works with the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae which is both a model eukaryotic organism and an important industrial organism that produces some of our favourite beverage and food products including wine. The Measday lab has two research programs – one that explores how mobile elements are targeted into a host genome and the second that isolates and characterizes wine yeast from the Okanagan valley wine region of British Columbia, Canada.
The Measday lab uses the genetic and genomic tools available in the S288C lab strain of S. cerevisiae to explore how a mobile element, the Ty1 retrotransposon, is targeted into the genome. The genome and life cycle of the Ty1 retrotransposon resembles that of retroviruses including human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) which is the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The focus of the research is to identify host factors that interact with Ty1 integrase, a conserved protein that is required for insertion of retroviral/retrotransposon DNA into the genome. The Measday lab also partners with wineries in the Okanagan valley to isolate and characterize wine yeast from spontaneous fermentations. The goal of the lab is to identify both Saccharomyces and non-Saccharomyces species indigenous to the Okanagan Valley with enological potential. Her lab uses high-throughput genotyping to create genetic fingerprints of each S. cerevisiae strain that is isolated and whole genome sequencing to get a complete picture of how the genome has adapted to wine fermentation.
Dr. Measday is chairing the 36th International Specialised Symposium on Yeasts (ISSY36) which will be held at UBC-Vancouver, July 12-16, 2022.