Research

I’m a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) in Andrew Babbin lab. I’m currently investigating the marine microbial communities spatial assembly and their functional role in shaping the biochemical cycles in the ocean.

Throughout my research experiences I have always been fascinated by the importance of the interplay between the environment and microbial communities. The microbial communities are able to engineer their local environment (for better or worst) but also they are heavily influenced by the environmental gradients that change in space and time. More importantly the abiotic factors influence heavily the local conditions therefore driving the spatial-self organization, productivity and functionality.

My former research work

During my PhD I studied the influence of the environmental factors on the spatial self-organization and interactions in model microbial communities. I used a synthetic model microbial community based on an engineered cross-feeding interaction to study the role of spatial self-organization on the community level property and functionality. During my PhD I was involved in the following research projects:

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  • Metabolic specialization and the causes of diversity in microbial ecosystems. Johnson DR (lead PI). Swiss National Science Foundation. 2014-2017. Felix Goldschmidt, Postdoc, Davide Ciccarese Ph.D student
  • Design and systems biology of functional microbial landscapes (MicroScapesX.ch). van der Meer JR (lead PI), Hatzimanikatis V, Johnson DR, Or D, Que YA. SystemsX.ch program of the Swiss National Science Foundation. 2014-2018. Jan Dolinsek, Postdoc, Davide Ciccarese Ph.D student, Lea Caduff, laboratory technician

Previosly I worked at Jan Roelof van der Meer lab at UNIL as a research assistant.

The map of the sampling site, an area with a
a surface of 700 km square with more than 300
sites.

When I joined Jan Roelof van der Meer lab I was fascinated by the incredible complexities of soil. My research focus was to study the nitrogen cycle in soils using next generation sequencing in the Wester Swiss Alps (picture on the right shows the elevation strata of the sampling site) .

Using bioinformatics approaches we analyzed cDNA samples isolated from more than 300 soil sites in the western Swiss Alps to study the presence and diversity of the nifH and amoA functional gene. The project had the aims to understand the bio-geographical diversity of microbial communities along the environmental gradients using more than 40 environmental variables measured at each samples area. This projects set my background to understand how the abiotic factors contribute significantly to the diversities.