Rational optimization of bacteria, a seminar of Ilaria Massaiu

Metabolic engineering is defined as the directed modulation of metabolic pathways, using methods of recombinant DNA technology, for the purpose of overproducing high-value compounds, such as pharmaceutical products, food additives and fuels. Given the increasing need of more sustainable processes for the production of value-added chemicals and materials from renewable resources, metabolic engineering became a powerful tool for the development of highly efficient microbial cell factories. The main innovation introduced from metabolic engineering, compared to traditional trial-and-error approaches, is the use of predictive modelling methods to study the behaviour of cellular metabolism and to guide the rational strain design.
The constraint-based approach, based on a limited number of readily available parameters, is currently the best methodology used in this research field. However, the integration of additional biological information in the model, e.g., genome-scale transcriptomic or proteomic profiles, has been recently proposed as an attempt to improve prediction accuracy.
The rational optimization of Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis bacteria is the goal of the project proposed from the Synthetic Biology working group of Pavia University and financed by Fondazione Cariplo. In particular, this project is focused on the conversion of two industrial bio-wastes, cheese whey, whit a high lactose concentration, and by-products of biodiesel production, whit a high crude glycerol concentration, to obtain biofuel and
a relevant biopolymer.
Ilaria Massaiu is a postdoctoral researcher of the Bioinformatics, Mathematical Modelling and Synthetic Biology Lab at the University of Pavia.
She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering (2011) at the University of Cagliari and her Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering (2014) at the University of Pavia. In 2017 she obtained the PhD in Bioengineering and Bioinformatics at the University of Pavia.
Currently, she is responsible of the metabolic optimization of Bacillus subtilis, through in-silico and in-vivo tools, which is agoal of the "Conversion of industrial biowaste into biofuels and bioproducts through synthetic biology" project, financed by Fondazione Cariplo.
CRS4 (Pula) room D130, 3rd December 2018 at 11:30 am. Info: massimo@crs4.it


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