Meet Research and Training Grantee Johanna Burtscher
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.
Johanna Burtscher: BOKU, Institute of Food Science, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
Host supervisor and host laboratory: Dr. Sophia Johler, Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Dates: 1 July to 31 October 2020
FEMS Member Society Membership: Austrian Society for Hygiene, Microbiology and Preventive Medicine
When the borders were closed during the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020, I worried that my research stay at the University of Zurich would be cancelled. However, the great support provided by my supervisors at my home and my host university and by the contact persons of FEMS allowed me to carry out my research project as planned.
The main aim of our project was to characterize Bacillus cytotoxicus strains from food sources in order to obtain data for an improved risk assessment. B. cytotoxicus is a member of the B. cereus group and has been associated with severe foodborne illness. So far, only few isolates from food have been characterized with regard to their cytotoxic potential. During my research stay, I received an excellent training in the cell culture lab and got interesting insights into different molecular techniques. Despite some restrictions due to COVID-19, I experienced the time abroad as extremely rewarding as I had the opportunity to get to know inspiring and highly motivated scientists.
The FEMS Research and Training Grant gave me an excellent opportunity to broaden my horizon by connecting to fellow scientists in the field. FEMS plays a vital role in connecting scientists and ideas by providing an international network. Thank you very much for your support!’’