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Dolma Michellod

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PhD Student

Abteilung Symbiose

MPI für Marine Mikrobiologie
Celsiusstr. 1
D-28359 Bremen




+49 421 2028-9080

Dolma Michellod

Main Re­search In­terests

My research focus on a shallow water symbioses formed by gutless annelids and chemoautotrophic bacteria and their most unusual sterol profile and sterol synthesis ability. I also aim to describe the chemical landscape of deep-sea mussels living in close association with chemoautotrophic bacteria and determine the identity, distribution and potential functions of a metabolite group specific to association between deep-sea mussels and methane oxidizing symbionts.

My main research project focus on the unusual presence of sitosterol, a plant sterol, in shallow water gutless oligochaetes. The gutless oligochaetes sterol profile is dominated by a plant sterol and not as other animals by cholesterol. A combination of isotopic and omics analyses revealed unique sterol synthesis ability. Using heterologous gene expression and enzyme assay I investigate the activity of the key enzyme  involved in this unusual phytosterol biosynthetic pathway.

I use LC-MS/MS, molecular networking and MS2LDA analysis to study the lipid diversity and the impact the association with intracellular bacteria can have on the lipid composition of symbiotic and non-symbiotic mussel tissue. I combined those tools with metabolite imaging to characterize the structure, distribution and diversity of a specialized group of metabolites only present in the symbiotic organ and specific to methane oxidizers and deep-sea mussels association described for the first time by Geier et al. 2020.

The unusual sterol profile of gutless oligochaetes
Seagrass and Oalvius illustration by Alina Esken
Chemical landscape of deep-sea mussel
Mussel illustration by Alina Esken
Mussel Bed
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