One of the great things about the MSCA scholarships is the opportunity to spend several months in a partner institution within your network. This student exchange called a secondment helps us deepen the structure of our thesis by taking on new approaches and methodologies and by using different technologies available at the partner institution. On occasion, it can also provide first hand experience of the working environment in another sector, let’s say university vs. company.

One of the secondments scheduled for my project is at the National Centre of Biotechnology in Madrid, called the CNB-CSIS. During this secondment I will be testing whether selected extracts have an influence on the virulence of Listeria monocytogenes. In order to investigate this effect, I will be infecting eukaryotic cells from the choriocarcinoma cell line JEG-3 with L. monocytogenes in the presence of the exctracts at sub-inhibitory concentrations. I will be looking at whether the presence of the specific extract has an effect on the entry and multiplication of Listeria monocytogenes in the eukaryotic cells. Should this effect be observed, this extract would be appointed to have an antivirulence effect. While traditional antibiotics work by killing bacteria or inhibiting their growth, antivirulence drugs disarm rather then kill bacterial pathogens. This offers a new class of superior therapeutics with the additional advantages of being ‘evolution-proof’ considering the development of resistances and pathogen specific.