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After I finished my degree in Agricultural biotechnology at Agricultural University of Athens, I moved to Sweden to continue my studies with a Masters of Molecular and Genetic Plant Science. During a course in my first Masters year I realized that I want to learn more about sequencing technologies and bioinformatics. What place better than the Ettema-lab?
Spironucleous salmonicida is an emerging fish pathogen commonly found in the intestinal tract of salmon that often causes severe systemic infections with gross pathological symptoms and high mortality rates. This unicellular parasite is a member of the Metamonada group within the larger eukaryotic supergroup Excavata. Spironucleus lacks canonical aerobic respiration pathways, and yet is able to survive in environments of varying oxygen concentrations. During my thesis project I performed RNAseq and differential expression analysis for investigating the gene expression regulation under two different oxidative stress conditions. I identified more than 1500 genes that were significantly differentially expressed in the two stress conditions. Most of the genes that were previously predicted to participate in the oxidative stress pathway were found significantly up-regulated in both stress conditions giving better insight in the parasite’s oxidative response. By studying the antioxidant defense mechanism, I have gleamed valuable insight into the evolution and lifestyle of this pathogen.