Weird and wonderful microbes
23 May 2023
Brussels Beer Project
Rue Antoine Dansaert 188, 1000 Bruxelles
They love to live in dark and humid places, thrive where no one does the dishes and they smell quite badly. We are not talking about your last roommates but about microorganisms, specifically yeasts and bacteria! They might not be the most pleasant things mother nature created, but our two speakers found them fascinating and they will do their best to explain you why you should think the same.
Beyond beer and bread, the amazing world of yeast as model organisms
Yeast is mostly known for its capacity to make beer and bread. But did you know it is also a fantastic model organism for studying the basic functioning of our cells? After all, we share half of our genes with this micro-organism and many biological processes were first studied in yeast before they were observed in human cells.
This talk will focus on transporters: proteins that allow molecules to cross biological membranes. How they function and how they are regulated remain unclear and with a little help from yeast, we may get some answers
Unfolding the chromosome of a predator
Renske van Raaphorst
Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus is a very weird bacterium: it eats other bacteria, it does this while it is sitting inside its prey, and, when it’s done, it divides into a whole bunch of new bacteria in one go. It cannot reproduce, but it swims as fast as 160 body lengths per second: this bacterium is the cheetah of the micro-world. I investigate how its chromosome is involved in its peculiar life style. The chromosome carries the genes that dictate what a microbe can do, but are these genes actually read? The way the chromosome is folded might be the cue for this bug to switch from a fast swimmer to a growing, munching bacterium – and back.