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About me

My research focuses on bacterial physiology, signaling and biofilms, both from fundamental and applied standpoints. I also investigate strategies interfering with bacterial colonization of biotic/abiotic surfaces and infection-related phenotypes. I have a keen interest in genome sequence analysis, including but not limited to antibiotic resistance determinants and their horizontal dissemination.

Research description

Biofilm physiology

My research primarily focuses on the association between respiration phenomena and bacterial colonization of biotic and abiotic substrata, including biofilm formation. I try to unravel the physiological and signalling mechanisms linking these two a priori unrelated processes.

In the emerging pathogen Shewanella algae, my research has shown a deep, strain-specific integration between respiration of alternative electron acceptors and biofilm formation.  Recently, I have expanded this respiration-biofilm tandem interplay to other bacterial models (uropathogenic Escherichia coli), where I have been able to find associations with implications in infectivity. I currently explore the specific roles of respiratory nitrate utilization in enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli inside and outside the human host while continuing digging into S. algae complex signal transduction mechanisms involved in biofilm formation, in particular c-di-GMP.

Genomics

New times bring new technologies, and whole genome sequencing has revolutionized many ‘gold standards’ in classic microbiology. I am interested in gaining a deeper understanding on S. algae diversity and evolution through genome sequence analysis to correlate genomic diversity with different phenotypes, including antibiotic resistance determinants and their transmission to Enterobacteria.

Alternative treatments

Antibiotic resistance and bacterial biofilm formation are two major challenges in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infectious diseases. Therapies targeting key physiological processes involved in biofilm formation, infectivity and persistence, rather than killing the pathogen, are likely to become the way of treating bacterial infections in the coming years. Development of such alternative therapies is also under my sphere of interests.

Teaching portfolio

-Co- supervision of 2 B.Sc. theses: University of La Laguna (1), Karolinska Instituet (1).

-Examiner of two B.Sc. thesis in Medicine (Karolinska Institutet, 2018).

-Teaching assistant at the bacteriology laboratory, B. Sc. Biomedicine and B. Sc. Medicine, (Karolinska Institutet, 2017-2019).

-Seminar teacher and lecturer in B.Sc. and Ph.D courses (Karolinska Instituet, 2017-2018).

-Teaching and Learning in Higher Education course (5 weeks, spring 2019).

Education

2016 - PhD, Biomedical Sciences. University of La Laguna (Spain).

2012 - MSc Biotechnology. University of La Laguna (Spain).

2011 - MSc Oceanography. University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain).

2008 - BSc + MSc Industrial Engineering, esp. Chemistry. University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain).

Academic honours, awards and prizes

Selected postdoctoral grants:

2018 Lars Hiertas Minne Stiftelse.

2018 Hans Dahlbergs Stiftelse.

2018 Karolinska Instituet Research Foundation Grant: FS-2018:0007.

2016 FEMS Research grant: RG-2015-0084.

Commissions of trust:

2019 Curator for the Shewanella spp. MLST database available at PubMLST https://pubmlst.org/shewanella/ 

2017 Guest Editor for the journal Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, special issue on ‘Recent advances in anti-biofilm strategies’.

 

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