students

One of the most important ambitions of Cornucopia is to educate young researchers and prepare them for a brilliant career in Biotechnology and EU Food Industry.

 

13 young scientists will get a head start in this new, exiting field of research! Here you find a short description of some of these young scientists and their projects:

 

At Lund University, Sweden:

 

Anna Schifferdecker is originally from Germany and started on 1st June. She has a background in unicellular eukaryote molecular biology. In Lund, Anna will focus on development of molecular genetic tools. This includes transformation, vectors, RNAi, genome sequences, etc., within the Dekkera/Brettanomyces yeasts. The aim is to find genes behind some of the interesting properties of these yeasts. Dekkera/Brettanomyces  have already for centuries been used in beer brewing, and have interesting aroma potential for wine industry but are so far only poorly studied in the laboratory. This project will be in close collaboration with the Milan and Trento group, and perhaps also the Carlsberg partner.

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Nerve Zhou is originally from Zimbabwe/South Africa and joins us on 1st September. His background is in bio-ethanol and fermentation research. Nerve will work on fermentations and design long term selection screening to develop  yeast mutants with improved carbon metabolism (higher or low ethanol production), probiotic properties, increased aromatic background) and will then use molecular tools to find the genes and mutations behind the observed "improvements". This project is in close collaboration with the Milan and Trento partners, and likely also with the Valencia, Leuven and Chr. Hansen group. ‎

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At KU Leuven, Belgium

 

 Dorota Radecka is originally from Poland, she started in early 2011 and her background is in protein biosynthesis. Dorota will work on the Molecular basis of superior stress tolerance in nonconventional yeasts. The aim is to identify genes responsible for various stress tolerance characteristics in nonconventional yeasts (thermotolerance, osmotolerance and acetic acid tolerance), by using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model and an instrument. The genes will then be transferred to industrial yeast strains to improve their characteristics. There is a close collaboration with the CBS group.

 

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Benjamin Offei comes from Ghana with a background in molecular biology. He started in early 2011. Benjamin is working at the VIB department of Molecular Microbiology, KU Leuven, Belgium. He is studying the molecular basis behind the probiotic properties of Saccharomyces boulardii (S. boulardii). S. boulardii has proved itself to be a highly effective biotherapeutic (probiotic) and has been utilized as such for decades in many parts of the world. However, there is not much knowledge at the molecular level about this yeast strain. His project aims at unravelling the molecular processes that make S. boulardii unique as a probiotic yeast. This project will involve yeast molecular genetics techniques such as PCR, cloning, transformation as well as pooled segregant whole genome sequencing. There will be a close collaboration with the Chr. Hansen group.
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At Copenhagen University, Denmark 

 

 Honeylet Ochangco is originally from Philippines and she started on 11th of October.  She has a background in yeast fermentation and apoptosis research.  Honeylet will work on new strains of yeasts with probiotic properties focusing mostly on the yeast Debaryomyces hansenii. Her work will be on in vitro screening for survival (temperature, low pH, bile, gastric juice), cytokine assay, adhesion studies, determination of genes that contribute to the probiotic properties and use of microscopy techniques to study the probiotic properties of yeast. This project is in close collaboration with Chr. Hansen group.

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curriculum vitae 

 

At CBS-KNAW, Netherlands

 

 Raquel Quintilla Mateo is originally from Spain and she started in the CBS-KNAW center on 1st of March. She has a background in molecular biology. Raquel will work on the screening of the CBS collection for interesting traits to industry (ethanol-, osmo-, thermo- and acid-tolerance). She will also focus on the study of hybrids with extreme traits. This project will be in close collaboration with NIZO and the Leuven groups.

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At the Institute of Physiology AS CR, Prague

  

Jana Zemančíková is originally from Slovakia and started on 1st November. She has graduated in biology at the Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra in 2010. In Prague, Jana will focus on development of molecular genetic tools for the osmotolerant non-conventional yeast species and on molecular and physiological characterization of specific transporters involved in the high osmotolerance of these species. This project will be in close collaboration with the Lund, Valencia and Utrecht groups.

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At Carlsberg Laboratory, Denmark

 

Davide Ravasio comes from Italy with a background in yeast biology. He started the 1st of August and he’s working with Prof. Jürgen Wendland at the Department of Yeast Genetics at the Carlsberg Laboratory.

He will work on elucidating and manipulating the molecular determinants that may help in establishing species-specific flavour profiles in yeast. This work will be carried out using the model species pair of A. gossypii and E. cymbalariae. Furthermore, he will develop genetic tools for studying yeast gene expression. This will be done in collaboration with other groups in the Cornucopia consortium.

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curriculum vitae

 

Alicia Gutiérrez Linares comes from Spain. She studied Biology from Universitat de València and Master’s degree in Food Science and Engineering from Universitat Politècnica de València. Her PhD, developed at Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (València), was about nitrogen metabolism in wine commercial yeasts during alcoholic fermentation and the effect on growth, fermentation activity and aroma production. 

She started on December 2012 and she is working with Zoran Gojkovic at the Department of Applied Yeast Research at Carlsberg (Copenhagen). She is working with several non-conventional yeasts with interesting flavours during beer fermentation and their characterization to elucidate what favors the production of certain flavour molecules and what are the differences to normal lager yeast.

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 At CHR. HANSEN, Denmark

 

Ida Mosbech Smith is a native Dane who accepted the position with Chr. Hansen beginning October 1st. She has a background in pharmacy and pharmacology, with a focus on mammalian cell culture. At Chr. Hansen, Ida will focus on identification and characterization of non-conventional yeast strains with probiotic properties by developing and employing cell culture based assays for relevant aspects of the interaction between yeast cells and the lining of the human GI tract. This includes evaluation of yeasts’ ability to adhere to epithelial cells and modulate gut barrier function, in terms of transepithelial resistance as well as tight junction integrity, and to stimulate distinct immune responses in intestinal cell types. The aim is to identify key genes and pathways responsible for probiotic health benefits and develop novel species/strains with enhanced probiotic potential. This project will be in close collaboration with the group at University of Copenhagen and the NIZO partner.

 

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At IATA Valencia, Spain

 

Jiří Stříbný is originally from The Czech Republic and he started on 1st Sepetember. He has a background in biochemistry. Jiří is studying molecular aspects related to aromas and high ethanol production in nonconventional yeasts (S. kudriavzevii, S. bayanus var. uvarum, etc.) relevant for wine industry. This project is in close collaboration with the groups from Utrecht, Lund and Prague.

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 At Milan University 

 

Md Moktaduzzaman is originally from Bangladesh and started in Milan on 1st October. His background is in protein analysis and fermentation. Md will focus on carbon metabolism and stress response in Dekkera/Brettanomyces yeasts and in other non-conventional yeasts coming from the screening for extreme properties. The most promising selected/constructed strains will be tested in laboratory-scale fermentations and all the fermentation characteristics will be determined in detail: substrate utilization, product formation, fermentation rate, flocculation characteristics, etc. Strains potentially interesting at industrial level could be also tested in 20 liter fermenter. This project will be in close collaboration with the Lund and Trento teams and  with the Carlsberg partner.

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At NIZO

 

Amparo Gamero Lluna is originally from Valencia (Spain). She studied ‘Nutrition and Dietetics’ and ‘Food Science and Technology’ at the University of Valencia. She has also a diploma of advanced studies in ‘Oenology’ (University of La Rioja, Spain) and a PhD in ‘Food Science, Technology and Management’ (Politechnical University of Valencia). Her doctoral thesis was about flavor formation during winemaking carried out by different Saccharomyces species and hybrids and was developed in the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology of the Spanish Research Council (IATA-CSIC, Valencia).

 

Since April 2011, she is working as a postdoc at NIZO Food Research (Ede, The Netherlands). Her work within Cornucopia consists in carrying out a screening of a large number of non-conventional yeast species looking for interesting flavours and also possible probiotic properties. This screening will be done in close collaboration with IATA and CBS.

 

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