Meet invited speaker Dr. Kusum Dhakar

28-10-20 Carianne Buurmeijer

We are pleased to introduce Dr. Kusum Dhakar, Post Doctoral Researcher, Newe Ya’ar, Agricultural Research Organization, Israel, one of the speakers at the FEMS Online Conference on Microbiology 2020

Session 8: FEMS session and short presentations by grantees, 31 October, 2020 · 16:30 – 17:50
Presentation: Modelling of microbial communities to promote atrazine degradation in crop soils|
Topic: Systems Biology and Ecology
Institute: Agricultural Research Organization, Israel

portrait of Dr. Kusum Dhakar, ARO, Israel
Dr. Kusum Dhakar, ARO, Israel
What is happening in the world around us that your current area of research is providing an answer to?

I am a microbial ecologist and currently working on the improvement of bio stimulation strategies by incorporating computational biology. The extensive use of chemicals in all sectors can be seen easily around us. In particular, we can see a heavy load of agrochemicals to improve the agricultural yields. These agrochemicals are polluting the entire environment and emerged as severe pollution. So we are making effort to reduce this pollution by combining advanced methods to the existing traditional practices. Basically my work is focused on manipulating the degrading activities of the indigenous microbes through stimulus (supplement/nutrient). And computational biology is helping us to find out the promising stimulus through microbial community modeling. Here, metabolic models of the identified indigenous degraders are constructed and their performance is predicted for degradation under the different conditions (in the presence of bio stimulants). Then these predictions are validated in-situ. Here modeling allow us to identify the promising bio stimulants and eliminate the need of hit and trial process. This approach help us not only in saving time and cost but it also make the bio stimulation process more effective.
So, this work would help us in the cleaning of soil with a very less investment.”

What attracted you to this area? 

The increasing pollution is deteriorating environment consistently. Being a microbiologist I can see that my knowledge can contribute significantly to solve this problem at some extent. Apart from this, my approach is very eco-friendly, it doesn’t include any genetic manipulation or recombinants.”

Has your research affected your personal choices and if so, how?

My personal choice is to contribute something significant for a better environment. So I am doing it.”

If time, money and space were no issue, what research would you like to do?

If such option is provided to me, I would like to work on the energy production from the natural wastes through microbial activities with a cost effective approach.”

Speaking of hurdles: what hurdle might deter you from achieving your professional goals?

My personal opinion is, hurdles are everywhere, don’t think about the hurdles (its common) but look about the approach to overcome (which is rare).

My message to everyone:

Be rare: Think novel, Live nobel.

The FEMS Online Conference on Microbiology is planned to be small to medium sized, happening in alternate years to the Congress of European Microbiologists and organized in close collaboration with a local microbiology society. Here, intercontinental, European, regional, and local scientists, from all stages in their career and from all demographical backgrounds, can participate in a high-profile conference. This year, it is based on an intense collaboration with the Serbian Society for Microbiology and boasts a variety of regional speakers. Our commitment at FEMS is to help support microbiologists do their work, promote the best in microbiology research and knowledge to the world, and bring microbiologists together to share that knowledge. This event supports that commitment: giving high value for money at a low registration fee it opens possibilities for networking and exchanging knowledge and experiences to all.



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