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Projects. Life and Earth Sciences

Using genetic engineering to obtain strains of Clostridium cellulolyticum and Rhodobacter capsulatus that overproduce hydrogen 

Lead Resercher: 
Alberto Sola Landa 

Research Centre: 
Instituto de Biotecnología de León (INBIOTEC).

Synopsis:
Alberto SolaThe micro-organisms capable of producing hydrogen naturally include Clostridium cellulolyticum and Rhodobacter capsulatus. The first is able to degrade cellulose by what is known as dark fermentation. As in all fermentative paths, the same amount of hydrogen is not always released, so the aim is to block the main genes on the alternative routes, while increasing the number of copies of key genes in the production. On the other hand, R. capsulatus releases hydrogen in conditions of light and lack of oxygen due to the activity of the nitrogenase enzyme. The goal is to eliminate the genes that down-regulate its activity as well as those consuming hydrogen. In addition, joint fermentations will be performed with both bacteria to further increase production.

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Alberto Sola Landa

Dr. Alberto Sola Landa graduated in Biological Science from the University of Navarre in 1994. He later received his Ph.D. from the same university, doing his thesis at the Department of Microbiology, in the group of Dr. Ramón Díaz García under the supervision of Dr. Ignacio López-Goñi, with a grant from the Ramón Areces Foundation (1997-1999). His research involved the characterisation and manipulation of a system of two components associated with virulence in the pathogenic bacterium Brucella abortus, resulting in five publications and a national patent, as well as the Special Doctorate Prize. In 2000, he joined the Institute of Biotechnology of León (INBIOTEC) as a postdoctoral researcher under the supervision of Dr. Juan Francisco Martín Martín and he currently holds a permanent position there as a staff researcher with several doctoral thesis candidates in his charge. Since then, his work has focused primarily on the study of phosphate control of secondary metabolite production in different species of the Streptomyces genus, with lead author publications in high impact journals such as PNAS, Nucleic Acids Research, and Molecular Microbiology. Overall, he has participated in 11 research projects, co-authoring 15 articles in books and scientific journals, and presented more than 30 papers at national and international conferences. The funding of this project means the creation of his own line of research within the centre.


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