Display Accessibility Tools

Accessibility Tools


Highlight Links

Change Contrast

Increase Text Size

Increase Letter Spacing

Dyslexia Friendly Font

Increase Cursor Size

Share this story

Tina Dominguez-Martin awarded prestigious Marie Curie Fellowship

Maria Agustina (Tina) Dominguez-Martin, a post-doc in the Kerfeld lab, has earned the prestigious Marie Curie Global Fellowship. The award provides up to $300,000 over 3 years to support her research on marine cyanobacterial photoprotection.

Marie Curie Fellowships, awarded by the European Union, support the best and most promising researchers at all stages of their careers, regardless of age or nationality. Tina was among over 1,300 winners out of a pool of over 9,000 applicants.

“I feel extremely happy about this award. It is very competitive and well-known worldwide,” Tina says. “It also helps awardees establish new career paths, and I will use this opportunity to pursue an academic career.”

Her project, PHOTO-CY-APPs, will focus on how two species of marine expand iconcyanobacteria protect themselves from damaging, excessive exposure to light. The cyanobacteria in question, marine Synechococcus and Crocosphaera watsonii, are some of most abundant photosynthetic organisms on the planet. They photoprotect primarily through the expand iconOrange Carotenoid Protein (OCP).

“We think expand iconphotoprotection could be a key reason why marine cyanobacteria are so abundant and successful. After all, they constantly manage high levels of light exposure in the open ocean,” Tina says.

“I aim to characterize the OCP and its evolutionary precursors in the two important species of marine cyanobacteria,” Tina adds. “We think their proteins have particular features that will help us understand how photoprotection works in the ocean. We suspect their pigment content may differ from that in their freshwater counterparts.”

Tina’s research will span the Kerfeld lab in the US and Jose Manuel Garcia-Fernandez’s lab in Spain. The project also falls under the Kerfeld lab’s wider goal to engineer synthetic OCP for agriculture, biotechnology, and health applications.

“I would like to thank Cheryl Kerfeld for her continuous mentoring and as I pursue my scientific career. I wouldn’t have gotten this fellowship without her help and that of the lab in Spain. I feel so thankful for this opportunity.”

Cheryl Kerfeld, Tina’s mentor at the PRL says, “Tina has chosen an important research question, that will lead to new fundamental understanding of how organisms respond to light and that has novel biotechnological applications. The Marie Curie Fellowship is a great investment in the career of talented young scientist.”

Before joining the Kerfeld lab, Tina obtained her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Cordoba, Spain. Her thesis was on nitrogen metabolism in the most abundant and smallest marine cyanobacteria.

The fellowship is named after Marie SkÅ‚odowska Curie, a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize; the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris; and the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.


Top Stories

Plant "ER": Advanced genomics illuminate new mechanisms for stress mitigation Plant "ER": Advanced genomics illuminate new mechanisms for stress mitigation

As our planet’s climate continues to be unpredictable, understanding how plants respond to adverse environmental conditions becomes essential. Improving crop productivity will be vital to feed the nine billion people estimated to be alive in 2050.

2022 Anton Lang Memorial Award winners announced 2022 Anton Lang Memorial Award winners announced

Grad student Philip Engelgau and postdoc Peipei Wang have been awarded the 2022 Anton Lang Memorial Award at a ceremony which took place on Monday, April 25, 2022. This year’s lecture was given by Professor Emeritus Govindjee from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Building 'nanofactories' to help make medicines and more [LINK] Building 'nanofactories' to help make medicines and more [LINK]

Spartan research in the lab of Cheryl Kerfeld could lead to efficient, low-cost chemical reactions for valuable products with help from teensy compartments made by bacteria.