Meet FEMS Research and Training grantee Sergio Alonso Fernandez
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.
Sergio Alonso Fernandez: University of Oviedo – Functional Biology, Julian Claveria, s/n Oviedo Oviedo Asturias 33003, Spain
Host supervisor and host laboratory: Prof. Dr. Ole Nørregaard Jensen, Protein Research Group, University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Odense, Denmark
Dates: 16 June to 15 October 2021
FEMS Member Society Membership: Spanish Society for Microbiology
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Food Biotechnology from the University of Oviedo (Spain). After two years working in the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO-CSIC) in Gijon (Spain) from 2016 to 2018, I started to collaborate with the Functional Biology Department at the University of Oviedo. Since 2020, I work as a predoctoral researcher in the study of the regulation of secondary metabolism in Streptomyces coelicolor, under the supervision of Dr. Angel Manteca. My current research focuses on the characterization of the regulation of the S. coelicolor development through the study of a Tn5-transposon mutant library and site-directed mutagenesis of potential differentiation regulators. The phenotypic study of these mutants allows us to characterize the regulatory biomolecular mechanisms and expand the knowledge of cryptic pathways in the development of S. coelicolor, which can lead us to find new antimicrobial compounds. During this ongoing research, I have gained extensive experience in mutagenesis techniques, CRISPR-Cas9 genetic engineering and confocal microscopy.
In order to further understand the regulation of the secondary metabolism activation in this organism, I did a three-month stay at the Protein Research Group of Prof. Ole Nørregaard Jensen in the University of Southern Denmark (SDU). This stay has allowed me to study the S. coelicolor phosphoproteome at different biological stages of its life cycle, expanding my knowledge in the field of proteomics and learning about techniques that I had hardly worked with before like chromatography and mass spectrometry.
I applied for a FEMS Research and Training Grant to obtain funding and carry out a three-month stay at the Southern Denmark University (SDU) in Odense (Denmark), completing my development as a PhD student. The trip was challenging due to the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but FEMS allowed me to adapt the trip with great flexibility and understanding, so I would like to thank the organization for the support.
With this grant, I wanted to broaden my knowledge of the subject of my thesis from a slightly different perspective, studying the phosphoproteome of S. coelicolor to better understand cellular processes such as differentiation and cell division.
The FEMS Research and Training Grant allowed me to meet experts in the field of proteomics and gain new skills, thanks to the support of both my supervisor Prof. Dr. Ole Nørregaard Jensen and the group members. In addition, it has allowed me to obtain results that will be published very soon.
The FEMS Research and Training Grant granted by the FEMS has allowed me to expand my ongoing scientific career with a three-months stay in a foreign country, so it would be great if FEMS promoted more scholarships like this for its younger members and developed meetings for young researchers.’’