The group of Molecular Microbiology lead by Dr. Miguel A. Alvarez is looking for a full-time highly motivated Erasmus+ student (bachelor, master or PhD) to work at the Dairy Research Institute (IPLA-CSIC, Villaviciosa, Asturias, Spain) (http://www.ipla.csic.es/) for a 6 to 12 months internship. We are flexible on the start date.
One of our research lines is focused in the physiology, genetics and the technological properties of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) that produce gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), and the assessment of their biotechnological potential for the production of functional fermented foods that could provide health benefits to the consumers. LAB are a group of microorganisms that are essential in the food processing industry as they are closely involved in the manufacturing of a wide range of fermented foods (dairy products, fermented meat, fish, and vegetables) and beverages (cider, beer, wine, etc.). The metabolic activity of LAB determine the quality of fermented foods (organoleptic, nutritional and functional characteristics), and also contribute to their preservation. In addition, many BAL strains have acquired special relevance as probiotics as they provide benefits to human health. Some BAL can produce GABA, a bioactive natural compound that possess many pharmacological properties beneficial for human health, e.g. reduction of stress and anxiety, prevention of diabetes and blood-pressure lowering effects. Due to this, the food industry is showing an increasing interest to use GABA-producing LAB for developing functional foods enriched with GABA that improve our health and wellness.
The Erasmus+ student will join the members of the group and will provide them technical support to characterize the physiological, genetic and technological properties of GABA-producing LAB of industrial interest. The applicant must have a scientific background in microbiology, molecular biology or biotechnology; laboratory work experience will be positively evaluated.