New EAM Member: Prof. Iñigo Lasa Uzcudun


At the end of 2019, the European Academy of Microbiology (EAM) elected eleven new members from across different European countries and disciplines.

New EAM Members are:

This month, we spoke with Prof. Iñigo Lasa Uzcudun at Navarrabiomed Biomedical Research Center (Spain) about his research, and the profession of a microbiologist.

What are you currently researching?

  1. The biological relevance of noncontiguous operon organization in bacterial biology
  2. The Two-component sensorial systems (TCS) by using a reductionist approach in which the complex TCS network
  3. How the synthesis of biofilm matrix compounds is regulated

What has been the most unusual or surprising finding in this line of research?

I believe that the most unusual/unexpected finding during my scientific career has been the discovery that a large percentage of a bacterial genome is transcribed from both strands generating overlapping transcripts that are processed by the activity of double stranded RNase III.

What aspect of this research have you most enjoyed?

I love the moment in which after all the necessary steps to modify the bacterial chromosome, you receive the sequencing results to verify the modification and the reading shows that the changes you designed are indeed there. It is like a miracle.

What is in your opinion a scientific development microbiologists should keep an eye on?

Everything related with single cell analysis, we are almost there and it is going to change our current view that a bacterial population is a single unit.  Microbiomes and bacterial genomes are fields that I will consider if I will be looking for a new postdoctoral period.

What information, either related to the science or the professional path of a microbiologist, do you wish you had known at the beginning of your career?

The relevance of choosing the right bacterial model to address biological questions.

About Professor Iñigo Lasa Uzcudun

Prof. Iñigo Lasa Uzcudun

Iñigo Lasa studied biology at the Universidad de Navarra and did his PhD with Prof. J. Berenguer at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. After a postdoctoral stage (1995-1997) in the laboratory of Professor Pascale Cossart at the Institut Pasteur, he was appointed assistant professor of Microbiology at the Universidad Pública de Navarra and started his own laboratory focused on the bacterial biofilm formation process. Since 2008, he is Professor of Microbiology and he currently serves as the director of the Navarrabiomed, a biomedical research center.

The research in Lasa’s lab has been dedicated to decipher basic aspects of bacterial biology important but not exclusive of biofilm lifestyle. His laboratory contributed to the discovery of: (i) a family of proteins (Bap) able to build a proteinaceous biofilm matrix in many different bacteria; (ii) a genome-wide process of overlapping sense/antisense RNA transcription that is processed by the activity of double stranded endoribonuclease, RNase III; and (iii) a new genomic arrangement, known as noncontiguous operon. For his work, Iñigo received the “Jaime Ferran” award by the Spanish Society of Microbiology in 2005 and the Research award on Basic Science from Universidad Publica de Navarra in 2006.

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About the EAM: The European Academy of Microbiology (EAM) is an initiative of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS) aimed at amplifying the impact and visibility of microbiology and microbiologists in Europe. EAM includes leading microbiologists in their own fields and is dedicated to promote excellence in microbiology through targeted programs and activities at the edges of the discipline, and communication to scientists, stakeholders and to the public.

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