Vesna GrujcicPostdoctoral researcher
I’m aquatic microbial ecologist with great passion for eukaryotic microbes. I obtained my PhD at University of South Bohemia, Czechia where I studied interactions between bacteria and heterotrophic flagellates in freshwaters. Important outcome of my PhD was discovering that the most abundant bacterivores in freshwater were flagellates from the phylum of Cryptophyta. This phylum was previously considered mainly photosynthetic. It is during my PhD, where I spent hours observing vast diversity of shapes and sizes that could be present in one single cell, that I fell in love with those smallest microbes.
After finishing my PhD, I moved to Stockholm, to KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Scilifelab to do a postdoc in Anders Andersson group. There I worked on developing a method that combines imaging and single cell transcriptomics of eukaryotic microbial plankton. Combining gene expression and morphology could give us more insight into the ecological roles that certain plankton plays in the environment. During that time, I worked closely with researchers from biotechnology and biomedice and I learned a lot about single cell sequencing methods.
Currently, I’m doing my second postdoc in Rachel Foster group at DEEP where I’m studying symbiosis between diatoms and cyanobacteria. My research focuses more on the host (diatoms) and I’m trying to answer questions: why cyanobacteria enter partnerships with diatoms and which particular nutrients are diatoms giving to them? In order to answer that I’m trying to culture symbiosis and to apply different methods such as single cell sequencing, chemical microscopy and Raman spectroscopy. These symbioses thrive in nutrient poor environments such as Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Thus, in this project we are closely collaborating with prof. Ilana Berman Frank from Haifa University, Israel where we go for sampling.