At my home university, Ghent University in Belgium, I completed the bachelor program in Biochemistry and biotechnology. At the moment I am enrolled in the subsequent master program and I chose to follow microbiology as minor and bioinformatics as my major focus. During my first master year I successfully performed a research project at the Flemish Institute of Biotechnology (VIB) on the detection of single-copy genes in vertebrate genomes in the lab of Prof Dr Van de Peer. This project had a strong evolutionary undertone, which sparked my interest in evolutionary processes. More specifically it dealt with the question why only proteins of conserved processes, such as DNA replication and DNA repair mechanisms, are under such an evolutionary pressure that only one copy is retained, despite local or even whole genome duplication events.
If you take into account my interest in evolution and its mechanisms, next to bioinformatics and microbiology, it is no wonder that when I bumped into this website I felt the immediate urge to ask Prof Thijs Ettema whether I could perform my master thesis in his group here in Uppsala. I joined the Ettema group in February 2015 to do my master thesis via the Erasmus+ program. I am very happy that I am part of such a young and dynamic group doing such exciting science on the border of microbial bioinformatics, ecology and evolution.
During my thesis I will try to do genomic exploration of some interesting low-abundant lineages using metagenomic datasets which could give insight into the prokaryote to eukaryote transition, under the supervision of Dr Katarzyna Zaremba-Niedzwiedzka. In order to achieve this goal I will use different assemblers, multiple binning tools and do functional annotation and characterization on the assembled genomes. This project will conclude with a comparative and phylogenetic analysis.
We are happy to report that Emmelien successfully finished her Master thesis in June 2015. Congrats!