People

John W.A. Rossen, PhD, MSc

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Prof. dr. John W.A. Rossen is a Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands where he currently leads the Personalized Microbiology Research Group which focuses on implementing metagenomics and metatranscriptomics in the clinical setting.

He also serves as Head of the Molecular Unit. Under his leadership the group has successfully utilized next generation sequencing to detect and characterize pathogens, reveal new antibiotic resistance mechanisms, prevent infection and improve risk assessment, and to develop novel targeted diagnostic tests. In his 30 years in molecular virology and molecular microbiology, Dr. Rossen has published more than 155 peer reviewed studies. He currently serves as the secretary of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) study group for genomic and molecular diagnostics (ESGMD) and Board Member of the Dutch Society of Medical Microbiology.

Natacha Couto, PhD, MSc, DVM

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Dr. Natacha Couto is a Researcher at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands where she currently develops work in the groups of Prof. dr. John W. A. Rossen (Personalized Microbiology) and Prof. dr. Alex W. Friedrich  (Genomics for Infection Prevention).

Her PhD research focused on the pathogenesis of bacterial infections, by determining the mechanisms involved in infection, and on the dissemination of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Her PhD results were pioneering in the field of vaccine development against S. pseudintermedius infection in dogs and also on characterizing the molecular mechanisms involved in antimicrobial resistance in animals, humans and the environment (One Health). At the UMCG, she has been involved in the optimization (both wetlab and elab) of shotgun metagenomics, transcriptomics and long-read sequencing. Recently, she has been developing her own research line, which involves understanding the missense polymorphisms that occur during S. aureus colonization and their role for infection.

Personally, she is a very motivated and curious person. Her hobbies include reading, listening to music, going to the movies and, most important, spending time with friends and family. She has several favourite books including The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann and The City and the Mountains by Eça de Queiroz. Her favourite music genres are punk, ska and reggae and her favourite movie is Inception by Christopher Nolan.

Silvia García Cobos, PhD

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Silvia García Cobos started her scientific career working on Medical Microbiology and Public Health. She worked for seven years in the National Microbiology Centre, Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII), Spain, where she did her PhD. The doctoral thesis was focused on the molecular epidemiology and antibiotic resistance mechanisms of Haemophilus influenzae clinical isolates. Silvia also collaborated in studies aimed to characterize and monitor the emergence of antibiotic resistant pathogens, mainly enterobacteria.

Currently, she is a Senior Researcher in the Medical Microbiology and Infection Prevention Department in the UMCG, The Netherlands. She is participating in national and international as well as cross-border networks focusing on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and infection prevention, not only aiming at patient safety but also to investigate the dynamics and transmission of antibiotic resistant bacteria through different sources and origins: human, animal and environmental (One-Health approach). As a member of the Genomics for Infection Prevention (Prof. Alex W Friedrich) and Personalized Microbiology (Prof. John WA Rossen) research groups, she is working on the implementation of high-throughput sequencing technologies in clinical microbiology and in the investigation of AMR and infectious diseases. In addition, she is carrying out research on the characterization of a healthy human gut resistome, virulome and microbiome using a large populating based-cohort, Lifelines programme. She is very much interested in human microbiome studies with the integration of “omic” technologies, to improve our understanding of the human microbiota and how it can either cause or prevent infections and to develop more effective prevention strategies and treatments of those infections.

She is a passionate (micro)biologist with other multiple interests who does believe Science and Society should walk together. She loves sports, especially outdoor and surrounded by nature, reading, live-music, travelling with friends and now also painting!

Erley Lizarazo, MSc, PhD student

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Erley Lizarazo is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Medical Microbiology of the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). He currently works in the groups of MD. PhD. Adriana Tami (EPITROP) and Prof. dr. John W. A. Rossen (Personalized Microbiology). He received his bachelor from the University of Carabobo (Venezuela). Back in his country he started to enjoy the lab work when he was studying the ribosomal activity of Trypanosoma cruzi looking for therapeutic targets. Later he change his focus to neglected tropical diseases specifically dengue disease. In 2015 Erley was awarded with the Abel Tasman Talent program from the University of Groningen and moved to the Netherlands to develop his PhD project that focus in the molecular epidemiology and evolution of arboviruses from Venezuela. In our lab he applied Next Generation Sequencing to study various RNA viruses. When Erley is not in the lab he enjoyed good music, books and movies.

Ana Carolina da Cruz Campos, Msc, PhD student

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Ana C. Campos is a PhD student at Medical Microbiology and Infection prevention, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherland, in the group of Prof. dr. John W. A. Rossen (Personalized Microbiology)  since 2016. She has been working in a  project about urinary tract infections focusing in the use of molecular techniques such as WGS to monitor the evolution and spread of urinary pathogens in collaboration with Brazilian hospitals. She was previously working  in the use of metallic ions as biocides against bacterial biofilms and its clinical application.  Personally, she loves her work and hope to make a significant collaboration to medical science. She love read, her favorite book was Les Misérables, she loves all kinds of dancing and old music.

Mirjam Kooistra-Smid, PhD

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Mirjam Kooistra-Smid is working in the field of medical microbiology since 1986. She completed in 2009 her PhD project titled Molecular epidemiology of Staphylococcus aureusnasal carriage and colonization in a burn wound centre. Currently, Mirjam holds the positions of Medical Molecular Microbiologist at Certe Medical Microbiology and Senior Researcher at the Department of Medical Microbiology and Infection Prevention, UMCG; she is member of the research groups Personalized Microbiology (Prof. dr. John WA Rossen) and Genomics for Infection Prevention (Prof. Alex W Friedrich).

The last years her research has been focused on the development and implementation of an easy-to-use, culture-free diagnostic method based on 16S-23S rDNA next generation sequencing to improve (1) the resolution of bacterial species identification and (2) the detection and identification of bacterial species in complex clinical samples. This method is able to identify (multiple) bacterial species in samples that previously would have remained culture and PCR negative. This approach will aid in the effective treatment of infections and will prevent unnecessary use of antibiotics thus consequently preventing the induction of antimicrobial resistance. Furthermore, her research is centred on the development and implementation of diagnostic algorithms combining molecular and conventional methods for improving (1) the detection and isolation of enteric pathogens and (2) the risk assessment of STEC and EHEC infections for patients and public health.

Personally, she is a motivator and a real go-getter with an enthusiastic and an optimistic attitude to life.

She is married and a proud mom of three. Her favorite hobbies are listening to music, reading and travelling.