Team Biographies

Dr Alan Goddard, Aston University

Alan Goddard obtained his BSc and PhD from the University of Warwick and then undertook two postdoctoral positions at the University of Oxford before taking up academic positions at the University of Lincoln and then at Aston University. His research has always focussed on lipid membranes and their integral proteins, including receptors, transporters and enzymes. His recent research has focussed on the modulation of membranes to enhance biotechnological processes. He is the Project Coordinator for MeMBrane as well as being the Programme Coordinator for the H2020 MSCA COFUND MemTrain Programme.

Prof Corinne Spickett, Aston University

Corinne Spickett is currently a Professor at Aston University, following a move from the University of Strathclyde in January 2011. Her first degree was in biochemistry at Oxford University and she has a D.Phil. (Oxon) on the application of NMR to study yeast bioenergetics in vivo. After further postdoctoral work using NMR to investigate stress responses in plants and glutathione metabolism in pre-eclamptic toxaemia, she became a Glaxo-Jack Research Lecturer in the Department of Immunology at the University of Strathclyde. Since then, she has been working on the analysis of phospholipid oxidation by electrospray mass spectrometry and the biological effects of oxidized lipids, especially relating to atherosclerosis and inflammation, and has published extensively in this field. She has also applied her expertise in analysis of phospholipids to lipidomic studies of LDL in chronic kidney disease and yeast membrane changes. More recently, she expanded her research to include lipidomics as well as ox-lipidomics, analysis of protein oxidation and formation of lipoxidation products during inflammation. Prof Spickett is currently on the Council of the Society for Free Radical Research Europe and a member of the Steering Committee of the International HNE-Club. She is the Coordinator of the H-2020 Innovative Training Network “MASTRPLAN” on MASS spectrometry TRaining network for Protein Lipid adduct Analysis.

Prof Roslyn Bill, Aston University

Roslyn is Professor of Biotechnology. Her research team characterizes and engineers yeast cells to make recombinant membrane proteins, (especially aquaporins, G protein-coupled receptors and tetraspanins) for biochemical, biophysical and structural analysis. Roslyn has a particular interest in AQP protein chemistry, which she has worked on for 20 years. She discovered the novel pathway whereby a hypotonic stimulus directly induces intracellular calcium elevations through transient receptor potential channels, which trigger AQP relocalization. Her team has published a series of articles describing this regulatory mechanism for human AQPs1, 3, 4 and 5. Roslyn also uses yeast to make a range of soluble proteins, such as enzymes, for biotechnological applications. Examples include the conversion of glucose from waste products into high-value platform chemicals such as malic acid.

Dr Sarah Routledge, Aston University

Sarah Routledge received both her degree and PhD from Aston University. She then completed postdoctoral positions at Aston and at the University of Cambridge where she studied G protein-coupled receptor conformational changes and signalling bias. She is now working to identify the changes to microbial membrane protein and lipid compositions which allow them adapt to product toxicity and production stresses.

Dr Joyce Bennett, Aston University

Joyce has a background in Biology with a PhD from the University of York. She has since moved into the area of Project Management, gaining a PRINCE2 qualification while managing drug discovery projects at Genmab BV in Utrecht. Joyce coordinated product development projects for six years at the consultancy firm Sagentia in Cambridge before moving back to York to become the project manager of the DETOX Project, a 5 year research project lead by Gavin Thomas with close links to MeMBrane. Joyce will project manage MeMBrane alongside the DETOX project.

Monse Roman, Aston University

Monse Roman obtained her BSc from the Autonomous University of Queretaro in Mexico, and MRes from the University of York. She worked as a molecular biology technician at GBL and as a junior scientist in Mexico before starting her PhD at Aston University. Her PhD research is focussed on the creation of Clostridial strains that are more resistant to product toxicity through membrane modifications in order to improved bioprocesses.

Prof Gavin Thomas, University of York

Gavin is a microbiologist based at the University of York since 2002 and has worked for over a decade on bacterial transport systems. His research, primarily funded by the BBSRC, has revealed fundamental information about an important class of bacterial transporters called TRAP transporters, particular in the context of their function in human pathogens, but more recently for biotechnology and bioenergy through work with Green Biologics and Unilever. He is the Principle Investigator of the DETOX project, which initiated the building of DETOXbase, a resource that will be further developed to store and analyse MeMBrane data. Gavin brings his extensive knowledge of bacterial physiology, metabolic modelling, membrane transporters and ‘omics analysis to MeMBrane.

Dr Vicki Springthorpe, University of York

Vicki completed her PhD in Computational Biology at the University of York in 2014. Her broad academic interests stem from participation in a wide range of modelling and bioinformatics projects; including microbial genetics, eukaryote phylogeny and plant ecology. Vicki also has experience of software and web development, and since joining the DETOX project in 2016 has created the website, database and software tools associated with DETOXbase. Vicki is developing DETOXbase to add the functionality required for MeMBrane to use the software to interpret our ‘omics data.

Prof Siewert J. Marrink, University of Groningen

Siewert J. Marrink received his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1994 from the University of Groningen. His academic career continued with postdoc positions at the Max Planck Institute of Tuebingen and the Australian National University. Since 2005, he has been full professor, heading a research group in Molecular Dynamics at the University of Groningen. He also acts as director of the Berendsen Center for Multiscale Modeling at the same university. His main research interest is on multiscale modeling of (bio)molecular processes, with a focus on unraveling the lateral organization principles of cell membranes. He is the main developer of the popular coarse-grained Martini force field and associated tools. He has published more than 200 papers, holds an ERC Advanced grant, and has an H-index of 82.

Dr Josef Melcr, University of Groningen

Josef Melcr obtained his BSc, MSc and PhD from the Charles University in Prague. The scientific research for his PhD was made at the Institute of organic chemistry and biochemistry of the Czech academy of sciences. After his PhD he has undertaken postdoctoral position at the University of Groningen. The focus of his scientific research is modelling biological membranes. His recent research has contributed to the accurate modelling of lipid membranes at physiological conditions. He joins the MeMBrane team to perform in silico simulation of the stresses on the lipid membrane and to evaluate how alterations to the lipid composition may alleviate their effects.

Dr Stephan Noack, Forschungszentrum Jülich

Stephan Noack obtained his PhD in Bioprocess Engineering from the University of Siegen (Germany). After a postdoc time in the Institute of Biotechnology 2 at Forschungszentrum Jülich (Germany) and a stay as visiting scientist at Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (Denmark) he established his own working group “Quantitative Microbial Phenotyping” at IBG-1: Biotechnology, Forschungszentrum Jülich (Germany). His research focuses on microbial strain and process optimization using quantitative omics technologies and high-throughput experimentation. In recent years, the focus has been on the biological conversion of lignocellulosic raw materials for biorefinery applications. Currently, he coordinates the ERA-NET project XyloCut and the FocusLab HyImPAct for microbial production of chemicals from renewable feedstock.

Dr Jan Marienhagen, Forschungszentrum Jülich

Jan Marienhagen obtained his doctoral degree from the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf in 2007 (Metabolic Engineering and Structural Biology) and held a postdoctoral position at the Jacobs University Bremen and RWTH Aachen University from 2008 until 2010 (Protein Engineering). Since 2011, he leads the “Synthetic Cell Factories” Group at the IBG-1: Biotechnology, Forschungszentrum Jülich and was appointed as Professor for “Synthetic Cell Factories” at the RWTH Aachen University in 2019. His research focuses on Metabolic Engineering of microorganisms for applied purposes and development of biosensor-based high-throughput screenings for strain development.

Andrea Grego, Forschungszentrum Jülich

Andrea Grego studied Biology at RWTH Aachen University, with focus on Microbiology and Genetics – developing towards bioprocess engineering. Before starting her PhD, she was laboratory head in a local biotechnology start-up company, inventing laboratory devices for the analysis of shake-flask fermentations. And she worked on the research and development of fermentation processes in a Belgian company. She is a PhD student in the MeMBrane project, located at the Forschungszentrum Jülich in the group of Stephan Noack. The group aims at developing quantitative methods for proteomics, metabolomics and fluxomics. Research interests focus strongly on miniaturization and automation for accelerated bioprocess development and strain characterization. Her main tasks in the project include phenotyping of bacterial strains and up scaling of industrial processes.

Prof Amparo Quero, IATA, CSIC

Amparo Querol is Full Research Professor of the Higher Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). She works in the Food Biotechnology Department at Agrochemistry and Food Research Institute (IATA, CSIC). She was Vice Director (1999-2004) and Director (2011-2015) of the IATA-CSIC; member of the Food Science and Technology Commission of CSIC (2004-2008), Coordinator of the Food Science and Technology Commission of the ANEP (2009-2012); Member of the CSIC President Science Advisor Commission (2009-2013); President of the Mycology group of the Spanish Microbiology Society (2009-2013). She is a member of the Scientific Committee Yeast QPS of the “European Food Safety Authority” since 2006, and a member of the International Commission on Yeasts-IUMS since 2005.

The focus of the research is the study of Saccharomyces yeasts of biotechnological interest. Her group is interested in understanding the mechanisms involved in adaptation that have shaped the yeast genome, conferring properties of biotechnological interest. Different ‘omic as well as evolutionary analysis are used to understand the mechanisms of adaptation of yeasts of industrial interest to environmental and nutritional changes. This research is applicable to the selection and breeding of new strains of yeasts of interest in industrial fermentations (wine, beer, cider, bioethanol, etc.) by different techniques such as adaptive evolution, hybridization, or the development of GMOs.

Dr José M. Guillamón, IATA, CSIC

José M. Guillamón obtained his BsC and PhD from the University of Valencia and then undertook two postdoctoral positions at the University of Utrecht (The Netherlands) and the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa). He got a permanent position as Assistant Professor of the department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the University Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona (Spain; 1994-2007) and, later on, he obtained a position of Research Professor at the “Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos (IATA-CSIC)” (2007 to date). Dr. Guillamón’s lab combines techniques of phenotypic and genotypic analysis to understand the biology of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae during fermentative processes of industrial interest (wine, beer, cider, etc.). Dierent "omic" approaches are used to understand the adaptation mechanisms to environmental and nutritional changes (temperature, availability of nitrogen and vitamins, etc). A global objective of his laboratory is to be able to relate the genomic characteristics of the different yeast strains with the phenotypic characteristics of industrial interest. This knowledge of the molecular bases responsible for the phenotypic characteristics of the yeast strains allow them to carry out genetic modifications directed to improve the fermentative processes. This genetic improvement can be carried out by different techniques such as adaptive evolution, hybridization, or the development of GMOs.

Dr Eladio Barrio, IATA, CSIC

Eladio Barrio is Associate Professor of Genetics at the University of Valencia (UV), Spain. He got his PhD in Biology in 1992 at the University of Valencia. For two years (1993-1994), he was postdoctoral researcher at Francisco J. Ayala's lab, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, USA. During his doctoral and postdoctoral periods, his research interests were in the areas of Molecular Systematics and Evolution of Drosophila.

Between 1995 and 2013, his research was developed at the Evolutionary Genetics group, "Cavanilles" Institute for Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia. Durante this period, his research interest focused on RNA virus experimental evolution and the role of the GroEL-GroES chaperonin in the bacterial endosymbiosis.

In 2013, Dr. Barrio moved to the Dept. of Biotechnology, Inst. of Agrochemistry and Food Technology, CSIC, through an agreement by which different UV professors are hosted at the IATA-CSIC to develop collaborative research in Food Research and Biotechnology. Since then, Dr. Barrio's research interests are focused in Yeast Genetics, Genomics and Biotechnology.

María Lairón Peris, IATA, CSIC

María Lairón Peris is a PhD student in the ‘Systems Biology in Yeast of Biotechnological Interest’ SBYBI research group at IATA. She obtained her Biotechnology degree and a Master in Bioinformatics in the University of Valencia. Her research focuses in the study and improvement of Saccharomyces genus yeasts to solve new challenges in the wine industry. The selection and genetic improvement of interesting yeasts which produce higher glycerol content, lower ethanol and fruiter aroma compounds in final wine, as well as a high ethanol tolerance is inside her field of study. For this purpose she obtained interspecies hybrids between different strains, carried out daptive laboratory evolutions under ethanol stress and carried out laboratory fermentations with the candidate yeasts. She has knowledge in sequencing and analyzing yeast genomes, as well as in performing transcriptomic analysis under different conditions.

Dr Mustafa Turker, Pakmaya

Mustafa Turker received his BSc Degree in Chemical Engineering from Selcuk University (Turkey), and PhD degree in Biochemical Engineering from University of Manchester (UK). He joined Pakmaya, a Yeast Company and now is serving as Director of R&D and Environment. His principal research and industrial interests focus on fermentation technology mainly on yeast and bacterial fermentations including organic acids as well as environmental biotechnology. He is also part time lecturing on fermentation technology and bioseparations at Technical University of Istanbul.

Niels de Beus, Nova Institute

Niels de Beus has an M.Sc. in biotechnology after studying at Wageningen University and graduating in 2015. From 2015, he has been working in the sustainability department of nova-Institut in Germany, Cologne. His main tasks include performing sustainability assessments such as Life Cycle Assessments, system analysis and develop new assessment methods.

Dr Alexandros Chatgilialoglu, Remembrane

Alexandros Chatgilialoglu received a BSc and a MSc in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and a PhD in Experimental Pathology at the University of Bologna, Italy. He gained international experience at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada and in Silicon Valley, California, USA, where he was awarded the Certificate in Technology Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University through a Fulbright fellowship. He experienced the start-up life launch and operations at Lipinutragen S.r.l., a spin-off company of the National Research Council of Bologna, and at SiteOne Therapeutics Inc., a Stanford-based pharmaceutical company. He obtained his Master in Business Administration at Bologna Business School in 2015. In 2010 he co-founded Remembrane, where he is currently CEO and head of Business Development.

Dr Javier Alonso del Real, IATA, CSIC

Javier obtained his degree and MSc in Industrial and Food Biotechnology at the university Pablo de Olavide in Seville, Spain. He continued its education as a graduate intern in the Austrian Center of Industrial Biotechnology (Graz, Austria). He completed his PhD in the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology in Valencia (Spain), where he studied the interactions among the Saccharomyces species in wine fermentation. He joins MeMBrane team to perform experiments relative to yeast resistance to different stresses both in the web lab to look into fitness and other physiological effects and in silico to study the transcriptomics response.