Postdoc, Pseudomonas and Postcards

Tuesday 12 Jun 18

Contact

Lorena Fernandez-Cabezon
Postdoc
DTU Biosustain
+45 93 51 35 29

Contact

Anders Østerby Mønsted
Communications Officer
DTU Biosustain
+45 93 51 89 81
H.C. Ørsted fellow Lorena Fernandez-Cabezon will contribute to CfB's mission of developing novel and robust bacterial cell factories for the sustainable production of chemicals.

In November 2017, Lorena Fernandez-Cabezon started as a Postdoc at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, DTU, as one out of 22 new H.C. Ørsted fellows joining the university.

A remarkable accomplishment since no fewer than 188 applicants applied for the grant and only the most promising researchers in their respective fields were selected.

The Spanish Postdoc has become a part of the Systems Environmental Microbiology group led by Pablo Ivan Nikel. Her goal is to contribute to the group and the Center’s mission of developing novel and robust bacterial cell factories for the sustainable production of chemicals.

“We would like to overcome the limitations of metabolic engineering by building novel, synthetic metabolisms for the synthesis of new-to-nature products. This could, for example, be helpful in the production of aromatic compounds that are used for many applications in the chemical industry to synthesise polymers,” says Lorena Fernandez-Cabezon.

She is particularly focused on using the bacterium Pseudomonas putida (P. putida) as a microbial cell platform. P. putida is a non-pathogenic soil bacterium with a particular metabolism that makes it ‘a great host’ for sustainable biotechnological applications.

"We would like to overcome the limitations of metabolic engineering by building novel, synthetic metabolisms for the synthesis of new-to-nature products"
Lorena Fernandez-Cabezon, Postdoc

“Aromatic compounds in cells are quite toxic and P. putida is able to degrade these compounds. This bacterium is also really robust, so if we are able to control the strains we will be able to produce at a higher density than E. coli because the toxicity is lower,” emphasises Lorena Fernandez-Cabezon.

A world leader in biotechnology

The H.C. Ørsted fellow is not only excited about pseudomonas but also to be a part of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, DTU. She considers the Center as a world leader in biotechnology.

“I have so many great possibilities to develop my research here. I enjoy being part of a group with research projects that has a clear relevance for the industry. The whole vision of developing the next generation of cell factories really attracts me,” she says.

Lorena had several options to work in academia or in the industry in Spain, but the opportunities to develop professionally and personally were not the same as in Denmark.

“At the moment, I am in a transition stage of my career. When you start as a Postdoc you have new responsibilities and you need to acquire new abilities and skills, so it is important for me to be in a place where I learn and become smarter every day. Working in science also provides me with the opportunity of exploring new places and learn about different cultures, which means a lot,” she explains.

While the Spaniard definitely misses the weather, the food and her family in her homeland, she will for now focus all her attention towards her research and becoming better known with the Danish culture. 

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http://www.biosustain.dtu.dk/english/nyhedsbase/nyhed?id=B48FA80E-1AE3-48B2-8F7D-F46AB8A948A1
22 JUNE 2018