University of Groningen
Molecular Cell Biology
Supervisor: Prof. dr. I.J. van der Klei
I come to the Netherlands from a small country, Slovenia, where I took my first baby steps on the road to become a researcher. At first, I wanted to become a teacher, but after my bachelor’s, I changed my career path and enrolled in master studies of Molecular and Functional biology at Biotechnical faculty in Ljubljana.
My first “yeast experience” was during my master project under the mentorship of Professor Uroš Petrovič, where I worked with the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae peroxisome membrane protein Pex11. At that time, yeast and peroxisomes became my research ground area. I found peroxisomes interesting due to their yet unraveled connections to the yeasts’ whole metabolism and membrane contact sites are one of the areas that need to be explored to fill in some blind spots.
Project Title: Peroxisome-vacuole membrane contact sites in yeast
For cell survival, all processes that take place inside the cell need to be coordinated and in balance. To achieve this, eukaryotic cells have cell organelles, where functionally specialized processes take place. Cell organelles do not operate in isolation but communicate and interact extensively with their environment. We discovered that essential for these processes are also membrane contact sites, where membranes of two organelles are tether together. My PhD project focuses on peroxisome-vacuole membrane contact sites in yeast. These contacts have only recently been described and named VAPCONS. We will perform several experiments to identify novel yeast peroxisome membrane contact site proteins and gain insights into the formation and function of peroxisome–vacuole membrane contact sites.
Yeasts are one of the most fascinating organisms to work with! Brewery and winery are just two of the “yeasts worlds”, others are related to eukaryotic biology and cell metabolism, the last one being one of my scientific interests. Metabolite fluxes can also be seen through the membrane contact sites. Finding representing proteins of the membrane contact sites is just the first step to understanding how to connect them to cell metabolism, and luckily, I am the part of it.
In my free time, I like to play Duolingo, watch various educational and entertaining videos, go horseback riding, hang out with friends and do hikes with my dog. I am interested in the topic of environmentalism, veganism and zero waste living.
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