“Science is a collective phenomenon,” said Vima Leloir Prize winner.

Doctor of Chemistry Diana Capdevila, Conicet Researcher at the Foundation Leloir Institute (FIL)He won the fourth edition of Vima-Leloir Competition For his research into the action of certain bacterial proteins, how they allow them to escape antibiotics, their applications in environmental pollution sensors, and how “good” bacteria function in the body’s defence.

To gain recognition, Capdevila – who leads a group of seven scientists in… FIL Physical Chemistry Laboratory for Infectious Diseases which she heads – will receive $15,000 to continue her investigations.

“Current lines of research in the laboratory relate to certain bacterial proteins that are essential for their adaptation to the environment in which they exist,” Capdevila explained to Telam.

“On the one hand, we are asking very basic biophysical questions about how these proteins work that can give us answers about how bacteria respond to stress situations; on the other hand, we have more biomedical questions because we have discovered many of these new proteins that are important for them to adapt,” he said. Cells with conditions in which there is a lot of sulfur.”

The researcher explained that there is a large percentage of sulfur in the intestine, which is produced by bacteria that do not cause diseases from the food we eat. This generates “odor” chemical compounds in the intestines that can serve as protection against pathogenic bacteria, those that cause diseases.

“All bacteria can produce these smelly compounds. Some produce them to resist antibiotics. But when they are produced by the bacteria in our gut, the microbiota, they help us defend ourselves from bacteria that want to infect us.” It is to explain. .

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The researcher pointed out that in addition to investigating how these bacterial proteins work (biophysical approach) and what their impact is on health (biomedical approach), the laboratory also has a “biotechnological line that includes studying the use of these proteins as biosensors to monitor, for example, to measure pollution.” Water, new diagnostic methods and new technologies.

Tailam C

received in University of Buenos Aires (UBA)Capdevila traveled to the United States in 2015 to conduct postdoctoral studies at Indiana University, where he was awarded a Pew Latin America Fellowship in Biomedical Sciences; He returned to the country in 2019, after winning an open competition that sought to integrate new laboratory heads into FIL.

In addition to the collaboration against SARS-Cov-2, he has received many awards for his work in the laboratory during these few years, such as the L’Oréal-UNESCO National Prize “Women in Science” In the scholarship category; he Ben Barris Award Provided by eLife, a non-profit organization founded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the United States, the Max Planck Society in Germany, and the Wellcome Trust in the United Kingdom; Franco Argentine Medal of Innovation in the Junior Category from the Institut Franco-Argentine (IFA); A special mention in the previous edition of the Fima Leloir Prize.

He said: “This new award comes at a time of great uncertainty in Argentina, especially in the scientific and technological field, and there are people and institutions betting on young scientists in our country, which is of great value.”

“In this context, receiving the award is an enormous responsibility and a commitment that I take on to continue doing science in Argentina, something that is very different from doing in other places, because despite its complexity, it is very stimulating because it has a huge impact,” he added. “The country is different from what it would be like if all of us young people decided to go study science somewhere else.”

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In this sense, the chemist emphasized that “science is a collective phenomenon carried out not only by scientists, but also by communicators, teachers, and public and private institutions, and we will need everyone in order to overcome the difficulties of the future.” “Years.”

CyTA-Leloir noted that the Fima Leloir Prize, promoted by Josefina Leloir, niece and granddaughter of the 1970 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was first established in 2017 in order to encourage young scientists dedicated to basic research in science. Biomedicine, biology or physiology.

The agency explained: “Through it, we seek to honor those who are distinguished by their scientific production, the importance of their contributions and the future perspective of leading a research project.”

This year, in addition to the Diana Capdevila Award, doctors Matías Capella, from the Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology of Litoral (IAL) in Santa Fe, received a special mention; and Luis Ibarra, from the Institute of Environmental Biotechnology and Health, Conset, and Universidade Nacional de Río Cuarto, Córdoba.

Past, present and future

“Pathogenic bacteria face different types of stress when colonizing the human host. In my laboratory we are interested in understanding how the evolution of bacteria allows them to survive despite these adverse conditions or even in the presence of antibiotics.” Successful bacteria are able to obtain and synthesize compounds that provide her with protection.”

Capdevila described at the beginning of the project that he presented to the Fima Leloir Prize jury, composed of four well-known external researchers and one from FIL.

According to the expert, for a decade it has been thought that hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and oxidized forms of sulfur (called reactive sulfur species, or RSS) play an essential role as antioxidants capable of enhancing bacterial resistance to antibiotics and other forms of oxidative stress.

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“Our work over the past five years has laid the foundation for the mechanisms that bacteria use to accumulate RSS and maintain beneficial concentrations. In the next three years, we intend to study how these RSS regulate pathogenic and commensal bacteria, those that live in the human gut,” Capdevila concluded. “This is one of the main lines of basic research in my lab, which has implications for both biomedical and environmental sensor questions and is relevant to our research to provide answers to society’s various requirements.”

Myrtle Frost

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