During my studies in molecular and industrial biotechnology, I developed a keen interest in antibiotic production and producing organisms.
My current PhD project is part of the Marie Curie Initial Training Network TRAIN-ASAP (Training and Research Aimed at Novel Antibacterial Solutions in Animals and People) funded under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission (www.train-asap.eu). The aim of this ITN is to find new antibacterial solutions against resistant bacteria. In particular my project focuses on the use of metagenomics to explore the culturable and unculturable fraction of bacterial population present in different type of soils for novel antibiotic gene clusters. Two of the main antibiotic biosynthetic systems characterized by the presence of genes for non-ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) and/or polyketide synthase (PKS) were the main targets of soil metagenomic libraries screening. The biosynthetic potential of different soil environments was also studied using a targeted amplicon sequencing approach in order to identify possible interesting hotspots for antibiotic production to be further exploited.