DP_AEM student
Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences (IBB)
Doctoral Program in Biotechnology and Biosciences (Técnico)
Prof. Isabel Sá-Correia

Phd Thesis

Engineering Saccharomyces cerevisiae robustness for bioconversion of pectin-containing agro-industrial side-streams

The presence of toxic compounds in pectin-rich plant biomass hydrolysates, particularly in combination with the operating conditions in industry such as high weak acid concentration, low pH and high temperature represents a major challenge for the fitness of the production strain. While toxic inhibitors in lignocellulosic biomass have been studied intensively, little information is available for pectin-rich biomass. This thesis work is specifically dedicated to increase yeast's robustness towards multiple relevant stresses. For this, we will search, at a genome-wide scale, for genes possibly conferring maximum tolerance to multiple stress factors, examine in depth the biological function of a number of relevant candidate tolerance genes/proteins and pathways, in particular multidrug resistance (MDR) transporters, stress-related transcriptional factors and ergosterol homeostasis, search in collections of natural and industrial S. cerevisiae strains for strains exhibiting unusual multi-stress tolerance and further improve multi-stress tolerance of strains developed in the project using reverse engineering based on the knowledge gained, as well as by evolutionary engineering.

Publication and Meetings

Martins, L.C., Monteiro, C.C., Semedo, P.M. et al. Valorisation of pectin-rich agro-industrial residues by yeasts: potential and challenges. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 1046527–6547 (2020).

Pedro T Monteiro, Jorge Oliveira, Pedro Pais, Miguel Antunes, Margarida Palma, Mafalda Cavalheiro, Mónica Galocha, Cláudia P Godinho, Luís C Martins, Nuno Bourbon, Marta N Mota, Ricardo A Ribeiro, Romeu Viana, Isabel Sá-Correia, Miguel C Teixeira, YEASTRACT+: a portal for cross-species comparative genomics of transcription regulation in yeasts, Nucleic Acids Research, Volume 48, Issue D1, 08 January 2020, Pages D642–D649

2nd Joint Workshop of the PhD Programs in Applied and Environmental Microbiology (DP_AEM) and Molecular and Environmental Biology (PDBMA), Braga, Portugal 25-29 September 2017

• 3rd Joint BIOTECnico and AEM PhD Programs Workshop, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisboa, Portugal, 11-12 June 2018

• 7th Workshop of the doctoral program in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Braga, Portugal, 24-27 September 2018

Microbiotec’19 Congress-“Isolation and potential of non-conventional yeasts for the production of added-value compounds from pectin-rich residues, in particular sugar beet pulp”- University of Coimbra, December 2019 (Oral presentation)

7th Conference on Physiology of Yeasts and Filamentous Fungi, University of Milano-Bicocca "Saccharomyces cerevisiae genes required for growth in the presence of multiple stresses of relevance in lignocellulosic bioethanol production, June 2019 (Flash Talk and Poster presentation)

Microbiotec 17- Congress of Microbiology and Biotechnology (7th – 9th December 2017) (poster presentation – “Genome-wide identification of Saccharomyces cerevisiae genes involved in the modulation of tolerance to the conjugated effect of ethanol and acetic acid at low pH and high temperature”) 

International Microorganism Day 2020 ("24 hours of microbiology" webinars; FEMS and SPM organitzation),17th September (oral presentation)

International Microorganism Day 2019 - Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal,17th September (scientific activity and oral presentation)

International Microorganism Day 2018 - Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal,17th September - FEMS yound career scientist grant (scientific activity and oral presentation)


Communication Skills (course level 1), by Dr. Ana Salgado, 30 September 2016, Braga


Communication Skills (course level 2), by Dr. Ana Salgado, 28 September 2017, Braga 


Soft skills course project (“ Sketch your PhD”; presented in 2nd Joint Workshop of the PhD Programs DP_AEM e PDBMA)