Alberto Torcello

University of Warwick


Revealing the secrets of the ‘known unknown’ genes in marine bacteria


Prof. David Scanlan & Dr. Yin Chen

PhD Summary

Marine ecosystem is full of different types of microorganisms. Recently, the genome of many species has been sequenced, but we know so little about how and why they express part of their genome. The main goal of this project is to bring light to those questions by setting a framework of what we know already and try to elucidate potential genes that might be related to them in marine cyanobacteria.

What inspires you?

Since I was very young, about 6 years old, my interest in the world around me inspired me. My main goal was to try to understand how it works in such a perfect flow, like a whole living thing, sustaining itself and changing when it was necessary.

Previous Activity

Before going into my PhD, I was part of the University of Cordoba (Spain) where I finished my BSc in Biochemistry. Then I moved to the Basque Country, where I enrolled in the UPV/EHU where I specialised thanks to the MSc “Environmental Toxicology and Contamination”. After that, I started to work back in my first University as a technician in the group of Jesus Diez-Dapena and Jose Manuel Garcia-Fernandez, who introduce me in the beautiful world of Cyanobacteria and environmental microbiology, which is the main topic of my PhD.

Why did you choose Docotoral Research?

During my BSc I had the opportunity of be part of the department of Biochemistry and Molecular biology, where I took responsibilities as a junior researcher, keeping deep contact with others PhD and post-doctoral students. Not only that, but also I had the chance to support my Professors during their demonstrations, and to be honest, then it was when I decided I wanted to be a part of the Academia in the future.

Why did you choose a CENTA Studentship?

When I heard about this project, I did my research to understand what a CENTA studentship was about. It was then I realised that CENTA could mean a great opportunity: its training programme was one of the best and complete I had ever seen at the moment, so I thought that would be the perfect opportunity to obtain all the skills a proper PhD candidate requires.

What are your future plans

From the very beginning of my scientific career I wanted to reach my potential in Academia, so CENTA studentship will definitely to be a Professor, thanks to the skills and training they offer. In the next years I would like to continue obtaining training and develop myself as a researcher, hence I might be enrolling in a post-doctoral fellowship so I could continue growing as a scientist.