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Francesca Bottacini receives FEMS-ESMID Award



Many congratulations to Dr Francesca Bottacini who has received a FEMS-ESMID Award.

The FEMS-ESCMID Award is a joint initiative with the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) to foster and recognize outstanding microbiology research carried out by young European researchers. This Award is given each year, with each organization selecting an outstanding candidate from their research grantees. The selected candidate receives an additional €1000 from the other organization to support their research.

Francesca had already received a FEMS Research Grant to support her research on the comparative metagenomics of bifidobacteria within the infant gut microbiota at a host laboratory at the University of Parma, Italy.

This bioinformatics research is being carried out as part of a collaboration between Francesca and Prof. Douwe van Sinderen in APC Microbiome Institute  with Prof. Marco Ventura in the Laboratory of Probiogenomics (University of Parma).  The FEMS grant will also allow her to investigate to what extent the metabolic pathway reconstruction of the infant gut microbiota can predict interactive metabolic behaviour (such as cross-feeding, resource-sharing or nutritional competition) among members of bacterial communities that live in our gastrointestinal tract.

Francesca is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at the APC Microbiome Institute.  Her research activities are focused on fundamental and applied aspects of in silico comparative sequence analyses which, in combination with functional genomics, aims to investigate the beneficial role(s) of bifidobacteria in the gut.

Understanding the interactions between (gut) microbiota and its (human) host will have far-reaching implications for our health and well-being. We are only beginning to appreciate the complexities and activities of the microbiota, and much more research is needed to fully harness the power and benefits of the gut microbiome.  Our extensive, yet still rapidly expanding knowledge of metabolism, physiology and genomics of bifidobacteria combined with the development of an accurate predictive platform will provide support and direction to those methodologies aimed at correcting microbiota imbalances in the gut.