Dr. David Peris, postdoctoral researcher and principal investigator in the Department of Biosciences at the University of Oslo (UiO), senior researcher in the Department of Health at the Valencian International University (VIU) and member of the Spanske Forskere I Norge (SFNO.IENO), was awarded a Doctor Excel.lència (CIDEGENT) project from Generalitat Valenciana (Spain) GenT Plan, that will get answers about speciation mechanisms in eukaryotic microbes.

This 4 year project, “Saccharomyces as a genus model to study the speciation mechanisms” will begin in July 30, 2022 and will involve the hiring of a technician and a PhD student

Peris’ research — which focuses on the mechanisms of speciation and adaptation of fungi to wild and industrial environments — seeks to clarify the mode and tempo of formation of new yeast species in wild environments. Through the genomic and phenotypic characterization of a large collection of Saccharomyces lineages, we might unravel the mechanisms that facilitates the diversification and the formation of a new species. In addition, we also seek for interesting industrial traits on yeasts to generate new industrial strains for applications in the food chain.

Peris currently is advising two Ph.D. students at the UiO, and describes his work in the overlap area of wet lab (bench work: microbial manipulation and cultures, phenotype characterization, molecular techniques) and dry  lab (bioinformatics: genomics and other omics using python and R). He will set a new lab at the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA) – CSIC with their Systems Biology in Yeast of Biotechnological Interest (SBYBI) colleagues. The new group in Spain, together with the new born Oslo group, and Valencian International University (VIU) will be part of the FunGIA lab ????♻️ (Fungal Genomics and Industrial Applications, @FungiaLab) / Twitter).

Dr. Peris earned his Biology/Biochemistry bachelor’s degrees and Ph.D. in Biotechnology at University of Valencia in 2005/2007 and 2012, respectively. Then, he became a postdoctoral fellow at University of Wisconsin-Madison (2012-2017), IATA-CSIC under his project Mitogression (Marie Sklodowska Curie postdoctoral fellow 2017-2019) and UiO (2019-2021) and now he will have a great opportunity to go back to IATA-CSIC. Nowadays, he is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oslo, working in the Speciomics project leaded by Dr. Inger Skrede.

In this new adventure, Peris intends to build an interdisciplinary and international team of microbiologists, evolutionary and synthetic biologists, bioinformaticians and mathematical modelers able to develop the techniques and tools to understand speciation/domestication mechanisms and learn from it to select and generate new yeasts that can contribute with healthy and valuable-compound products or maintain food derivatives products as longer as possible in the food system.

This project is funded by Generalitat Valenciana GenT plan. The Program for the support of talented researchers (GenT Plan) was born in 2017 as a determined commitment of the Consell for the recovery, attraction and consolidation of talent in the Valencian research, development and innovation system. Its main purpose is the achievement of a new growth model that gravitates on excellence, knowledge, technology and the productive sectors to face the economic and social challenges of the future.

The aim of this plan is to attract, retain and consolidate the career of researchers of international excellence in all areas of knowledge so that they can develop their R & D & I projects in public universities and research centers of the Valencian Community. Its specific objectives are: (1) raising the level of excellence of the Valencian R & D & i system, (2) increasing the international presence of Valencian research activity and attracting European funds to support research in the frontiers of knowledge and (3) the retention in the Valencian R + D + i system of young researchers with international projection, supporting the initiation and development of their research projects.