Travel grant for Plant Power fellow – University of Copenhagen

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14 September 2015

Travel grant for Plant Power fellow


PhD fellow Konstantinos Vavitsas has received a travel grant for visiting Assistant Prof. Steinn Guðmundsson, University of Iceland

Konstantinos will visit the Icelandic laboratory from 29/9 to 10/10 2015. During his stay he will work on the project “Use of metabolic modeling for terpenoid production enhancement”.

From the application: "The purpose of this planned short-term scientific mission (STSM) to Guðmundsson’s laboratory is to receive training in the use of the constraint-based reconstruction and analysis (COBRA) approach to predict network properties using existing metabolic models as well as to extend such models, e.g. to include heterologous pathways. At the end of the STSM, I will be able to use the metabolic model to study the effects of introducing a heterologous biosynthetic pathway in the model and to assess the effects it has on the native metabolism of Synechocystis. The knockout analysis, together with the strategies for enhancing terpenoid production will allow the pre-screening of many engineering approaches that would be difficult to test in vivo to such an extent." 

In simpler words, Konstantinos will be trained in the COBRA toolbox, which allows the simulation of a metabolic network in MATLAB and predicts flux balances and growth rates. Then, he will use the existing Synechocystis model to introduce heterologous plant diterpenoid pathways, model the organisms behavior and try to enhance production in silico. As a final step, he will evaluate the results and pick the most promising ones to further characterize in vivo.

The STSM is funded by the EU COST Action ES1408: European Network for Algal Bioproducts (EUALGAE).