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ESR 4 - LEOVIGILDO-REY ALABAN

Principal investigator: Vincent Thomas

Host institution: BIOASTER

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Assessment of secreted metabolome in Candida albicans

In a country where science is a minority and technological innovation is in its infancy, I decided to pursue a career in this field. I have obtained a graduate degree in aquaculture with a focus on C/N (Carbon/Nitrogen) ratio balance in heterotrophic microbial systems (Biofloc technology based aquaculture), under a Philippine government funded scholarship. My involvement with the academia and industry eventually enabled me to qualify for an Erasmus Mundus Scholarship. In September this year (2019) I earned a Joint Master’s Degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society (JMD ACES). For this degree, I did my internship on the investigation of fungal halogenated metabolism in a marine fungus – Penicillium canescens – at the Mer, Molecules, Sante Laboratoire of the Universite de Nantes (France). My worked aimed at discovering novel metabolites (natural product discovery) and involved metabolome profiling using untargeted metabolomics approaches as well as purification of a halogenated secondary metabolite produced by this strain.

My internship exposed me to the emerging field of OMICS technology. The field offers unparalleled technologies to investigate biomolecules and their interaction. Thus, I endeavored to gain more knowledge in this field. Currently, I am enrolled as a PhD student at the Université de Paris Descartes, under a Marie Slodowska Curie Action – Innovative Training Network Scholarship. For this PhD, I am working on the assessment of secreted metabolome in C. albicans at the OMICS Hub of Bioaster Lyon (France). The PhD project aims to leverage advances in OMICS approaches, particularly Metabolomics, to develop novel predictive tools for the management of fungal infections, identify biomarkers with diagnostic potential and increase knowledge of pathogenicity acquisition mechanisms in C. albicans.

Completion of the PhD will enable me to develop the capacity to undertake scientific investigations using OMICS approaches. With the knowledge I have gained, I hope to focus my research within the themes of one health framework (host/pathogen interaction, pathogen virulence assessment and disease biomarkers identification) as well as in natural product discovery. Further, the PhD engagement provides an opportunity not only to acquire scientific training but also to equip the researchers with the capability to build a successful career in science. These unique features of the PhD training empowers me to gain confidence as I confront the realities of science work in a developing country context, particularly in my home country – the Philippines.