Dr Rémi Zallot, FHEA
Research Associate at the Manchester Insitute of Biotechnology (MIB), a research institute of the The University of Manchester.
Manchester Institute of Biotechnology
John Garside Building
Manchester M1 7DN
I am a biologist applying comparative genomics, a form of bioinformatics, to propose a physiological function for yet to be characterized microbial genes. Following hypothesis generation, an experimental phase using techniques from the fields of microbiology, genetics, biochemistry and physiology is applied, aiming to reach functional validation for genes of interest. My work is at the intersection of various disciplines. Ultimately, I aim to increase fundamental knowledge about gene functions, focusing primarily on health improvement.
Initial training and previous work
I am a biologist by training. My initial curriculum took place at Université de Bordeaux, France. I obtained a Licence in Biology, with a specialisation in Biochemistry, a Master’s in Plant Biology and Biotechnology. Working at the Laboratoire de Biogenèse Membranaire, I earned a Doctorate degree in Plant Biology, my thesis titled “Identification and characterization of a lipase expressed during Arabidopsis thaliana reserves hydrolysis”.
I then joined the Microbiology and Cell Science Department at the University of Florida, USA, attracted by what is described as “the comparative genomics approach”. It is used to generate hypotheses regarding the function of genes. The comparative genomics approach relies on the examination of various association evidence between genes, and between genes and biological processes, to locate those uncharacterized genes in a functional context. I applied this approach to functionally characterize genes involved in B vitamin metabolism and tRNA modification metabolism, in plants and microbes.
This experience made me want to expand my skills on the bioinformatics side, and I joined the Enzyme Function Initiative team located at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB), at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Together, we increased the capabilities offered by the Enzyme Function Initiative webtools and provided multiple training workshops to biologists to describe how the tools can be used for hypothesis generation. In addition, experimental work focused on characterizing genes from the gut microbiome.
Looking forward to coming back to the European continent, I was successful with an application for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, supported by the European Commission and its Horizon 2020 program. The deCrYPtion action (ID 839116), “Decrypting Mycobacterium cytochrome P450 (CYP) physiological functions by testing hypotheses emitted from large-scale comparative genomics analysis” took place at Swansea University Medical School, in Wales, United Kingdom.
While at Swansea University, I enrolled into the offered Teaching in Higher Education Postgraduate Certification programme, leading to me becoming a Fellow of the Higher Academy Education (FHEA).