Breaking Science participant: Sergio Arredondo-Alonso

Young UBC member Sergio Arredondo-Alonso will explain his research for a general public in just three minutes. After a training on how to best do this, Sergio will present his pitch to the audience and jury.

Sergio is a Bioinformatics PhD candidate at UMC Utrecht, with a background in microbiology and bioinformatics. “My main research interest is in the field of Microbial Genomics and the interplay between antimicrobial resistance genes and plasmids. In this field, I am particularly interested in the development of new tools to predict plasmid sequences from whole-genome sequencing and the emergence of new long-read based technologies.”

The research project in short

Sergio is already trying to give a short and clear explanation of his research. “Antimicrobial resistance is considered as one of the biggest health problems from this century. The increase of antibiotic resistance around the world narrows the number of effective treatments available against bacterial infections. Antimicrobial resistance can easily be spread among bacterial populations through the exchange of plasmid sequences. In our research group, we use the combination of short-read (Illumina NextSeq/Miseq) and long-read technologies (Oxford Nanopore Technologies) to obtain complete genomes from a major nosocomial pathogen (Enterococcus faecium) and study the role of plasmids in the dissemination of vancomycin resistance and host-adaptation. Information derived from the complete genomes was used to develop a new tool called ‘mlplasmids’ in which we trained a support vector machine to classify short-read sequences as plasmid- or chromosome-derived.”

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Sergio Arredondo Alonso