Not very long ago I began my PhD here in Galway, a small but great city in the rainy, “sunless” western side of Ireland. Although very different from my very warm and sunny country, Portugal, I quickly got used to the surrounding environment. Well, one cannot be bothered by constant water that falls from the skies.
Shortly after my arrival, I visited the laboratory (Lab) where I am currently working at the National University of Ireland, Galway. There, I had a warm welcome by Dr. Conor O’Byrne, the leader PI of the Bacterial Stress Response Group. The laboratory is great as well as my colleagues. I was eager to begin my work and make a mess with the bacteria’s DNA.
Yep, messing around with the bacteria’s DNA is part of my job as a molecular biologist. Basically, we don’t know everything about the very complex machinery that this microorganisms use to sense the world around them, so we make very precise changes in their DNA, for instance, the deletion of an entire gene. What difference does it make? Every protein that the bacteria produces has a role and, by deleting one or more genes, the bacteria is no longer capable to produce one or more proteins, thus their behavior in specific conditions might change…or not. Discovering and cracking down a bacterial system is no easy task, but this is exactly the fascinating part of my job, in which I have placed my dedication for the past few months, hoping to discover relevant information that may help us to counterattack infectious diseases caused by bacteria.