Congratulations to the Spring 2024 CompMicroLab grads! 🎓🥳🎉

Four CompMicroLab students successfully defended their Master’s/undergrad projects this month!

Marlene presented her project, Discovering novel bacteriocins produced by Streptococcus mutans via genome mining approaches, in which she mined all publicly available S. mutans genomes for biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs). We’ll miss Marlene, as she’s moving to Heidelberg, Germany to work on a new project; however, we’re excited to follow up on her results in the lab! 🦷🧪🧬

Laura presented her project, When cows fly: tracking the geographic spread of broad- and narrow-host range Salmonella enterica serotypes using whole-genome sequencing (WGS). Laura tracked the evolution and spread of Salmonella Newport, a broad-host range serotype commonly isolated from cattle and human clinical cases, and Salmonella Dublin, a narrow-host range serotype commonly isolated from cattle, which, on rare occasions, causes severe salmonellosis in humans. We’re excited to follow up on Laura’s results, but we’re even more excited that she’ll be doing another project with us next fall! 🤗🐄✈️

Florian presented his project, Machine learning approaches for novel bacterial virulence factor discovery, in which he trained a context-aware genomic sequence segmentation model to identify novel exotoxin-encoding genes in bacterial genomes. Recently, Florian mined over 80k prokaryotic genomes for putative novel exotoxin-encoding genes, and we hope to validate some of his predictions in the lab! And luckily for us, Florian will continue to be part of the group, as he will be doing his next project with our close collaborators, the HenLab @ UmU! 🦠🔬🧬

Finally, Niklas presented his project, Genomic surveillance of Enterococcus faecalis in South Africa, in which he used WGS data to track the geographic spread of E. faecalis, both in South Africa, and around the globe. After finishing his E. faecalis project, we’re excited to be collaborating with Niklas on some new projects related to BGC mining and discovery! ⛏️🧰🦠