Meet FEMS Research and Training grantee Neža Orel
Research and Training Grants are meant to assist early career scientists in pursuing research and training at a European host institution in another country than their own country of residence.
Neža Orel: Marine Biology Station Piran, National Institute of Biology, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Host supervisor and host laboratory: Prof. Dr. Gerhard J. Herndl, Microbial Oceanography Lab, Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology, University of Vienna, Austria
Dates: 6 September 2021 to 6 December 2021
FEMS Member Society Membership: Slovenian Microbiological Society
The broad research context of my studies is the impact of anthropogenically induced perturbations on the microbial community dynamics in the coastal marine environment, with a focus on wastewater discharges. I am interested in how these perturbations influence the diversity and function of microbial communities and therefore the biochemical status of the affected environments. Furthermore, wastewater represents also a vector for transmission of allochthonous microorganisms in the marine environment, including potential pathogens. Therefore, I would like to explore their occurrence, survival, and metabolic activity, also based on whole-genome sequencing of selected representatives. In my work, I apply various microbiological analyses to determine bacterial dynamics on a bulk and single-cell level and meta-omics analyses that will give us insights into the taxonomic structure, and function of microbial communities, which is fundamental to understanding the microbial ecology and biochemistry of the impacted marine coastal environments. Currently, I am a PhD student at Marine Biology Station Piran, National Institute of Biology, Slovenia.
In 2021, I was awarded a FEMS Research and Training Grant for a 3-month internship at Microbial Oceanography Unit, Dept. of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology, University of Vienna. The research grant gave me an opportunity to receive hands-on training on the latest bioinformatics tools and approaches used for the analysis of the marine microbial metagenomes directly from one of the world’s pioneers and most renowned research groups in this field. I would like to thank to my host supervisors in Vienna, Prof. Dr. Gerhard J. Herndl and Dr. Eduard Fadeev and to my PhD supervisors Prof. Dr. Valentina Turk and Dr. Tinkara Tinta, for giving me this opportunity. During my visit, I have gained new knowledge that will enhance my research portfolio and will be applied in my research work. In addition, working in the international atmosphere provided great network experience that will be very important for the development of my scientific career.
I already knew about FEMS before applying for the grant, since my PhD supervisor received FEMS training grants in the past. I am also a member of Slovenian Microbiological Society, which is a member of FEMS. I believe that FEMS will continue to support researchers by offering financial resources for activities, such as meeting attendances and conferences.’’