Meet FEMS Research and Training grantee Tom Rogiers

28-09-21 cameronw1986

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.

Tom Rogiers: Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK CEN) and Ghent University (U Gent), Microbiology, Mol, Flanders, Belgium

Host supervisor and host laboratory: Dr. Adam J. Williamson, Centre d’Études Nucléaires de Bordeaux-Gradignan (CENBG), Bordeaux, France

Dates: 18 January 2021 to 18 April 2021

FEMS Member Society Membership: Belgian Society for Microbiology


I studied Biochemistry and Biotechnology at KU Leuven which led to a PhD in microbiology at the Belgian Nuclear Research Center (SCK CEN) in collaboration with the Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology (CMET) at UGhent. In my PhD, I was able study the effect of metals and radionuclides on the soil microbial community, microbial uranium resistance mechanisms and, thanks to this grant, applied microbiology. While microbiology is currently my main passion, my interests are much wider with a strong interest in environmental research and fascination for molecular and biochemical systems.

I applied for a FEMS Research and Training grant to be able to use interesting results from fundamental research in an applied setup. As the combination of radioactivity combined with applied microbiology was necessary, the host institution Centre d’Études Nucléaires de Bordeaux-Gradignang (CENBG) provided the perfect surroundings to allow this to happen. Furthermore, a scientific stay abroad helped me to develop myself as a young and ambitious scientist and could provide new job opportunities within my field of interest.

As a final year PhD student, I wanted to widen the perspectives of the results that I previously achieved. This grant allowed me to visit the lab that could help me in this regard by applying the fundamental knowledge to develop new bioremediation technologies. Even though the COVID-19 situation made things extra complicated, interesting results were achieved which can now serve as a foundation for future research. 

This grant gave me the opportunity to obtain research experience abroad, allowed me to network with new people within the same field of interest and allowed me to develop myself as a young ambitious scientist. Furthermore, it gave the opportunity to learn about applied microbiology which led to interesting future perspectives of previously acquired fundamental knowledge. I am therefore very grateful that FEMS gave me this opportunity to develop my skills in applied microbiology and as a scientist in general.

I already knew about FEMS before applying as I am a member of the Belgian Society for Microbiology (BSM) which is also part of FEMS. Furthermore, I attended the FEMS 2019 congress in Glasgow and the World Microbe Forum in 2021.

As a final year PhD student, I am currently looking towards new research opportunities to further develop myself and my career. The FEMS congresses provide a great environment for networking and finding interesting future career opportunities. The FEMS Research and Training grant also provided an excellent opportunity to have a research experience abroad which can result in future collaboration or post-doc opportunities.’’

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