Meet FEMS Research and Training grantee Vasileios Vangalis
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.
Vasileios Vangalis: Department of Genetics & Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Host supervisor and host laboratory: Prof. Dr. Antonio Di Pietro, UCO Fusarium Lab, Department of Genetics, University of Cordoba, Cordoba, Spain
Dates: 3 May 2021 to 6 August 2021
FEMS Member Society Membership: Society of Mikrobiokosmos
I am a Ph.D student in the field of Microbial Molecular Genetics at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), under the supervision of Emeritus Professor Milton A. Typas and I am about to defend my thesis till the end of the year. I have a B.Sc in Biology from the NKUA with a honors’ degree and short after my graduation I started my Ph.D at the same university. I have also visited for more than a year the lab of Prof. Michael Knop at the University of Heidelberg (Germany). There I was trained and extensively worked with the yeasts S. cerevisae and Saccharomycodes ludwigii. I used synthetic biology tools like to engineer proteins and selected domains and study their potential prion-like properties. In this visit I also gained great experience regarding of CRISPR/Cas9 genetic engineering, fluorescence microscopy, and flow cytometry and I became familiar with Next-Generation Sequencing technologies. My current research focuses on the mechanisms and the impact of the parasexual cycle in the evolution and the adaptation of the asexual fungal plant pathogen Verticillium dahliae. During my dissertation we have functionally characterized genes involved in cell communication, cell death, autophagy, heterokaryon incompatibility and meiosis to dissect and unravel the mechanistic process of the parasexual cycle in this fungus. I have developed and extensively used tools for the synthesis of recombinant vectors and genetic engineering of V. dahlia.
During my research visit at the lab of Professor Antonio Di Pietro, at the University of Cordoba (Spain), I tried to investigate possible molecular links between the MAPKs and the TOR signaling pathways to mediate environmental sensing in Verticillium dahliae. For this, I optimized a suitable chemosensing assay and analyzed the responses of gene deletion mutants of crucial components of the MAPKs and TOR signaling pathways.
I applied for the FEMS Research and Training Grant to provide me with funding so I could visit the lab of Professor Antonio Di Pietro and complete the project of environmental sensing in a fungal plant pathogen. With this grant, I wanted to complete the aforementioned project, learn new techniques, and broaden my network. The grant, first of all, helped me to finish this work and publish it soon. During this visit, I have gained new skills and met experts in this field.
I already knew of FEMS before applying for a grant. I have participated in conferences organized by FEMS and I am a member of the Hellenic Scientific Society MIKROBIOKOSMOS, which is a Society Member of FEMS. FEMS can continue to contribute to my career and scientific development by increasing the number of grants available to its members. By posting advertisements for funding opportunities and job alerts from both academia and industry.’’