Lactococcus lactis, a bug with a bite.
Jan Kok University of Groningen
Jul 04, 2012
10:30 am to 11:30 am
Title: Lactococcus lactis, a bug with a bite.
Speaker: Jan Kok
Affiliation: Molecular Genetics, University of Groningen, Centre for Life Sciences, Netherlands
Host: Fátima Lopes, Head of Antibiotic Stress and Virulence of Enterococci Laboratory
Lactococcus lactis is an economically very important bacterium: it is used already for millenia in milk fermentations throughout the world. It belongs to a large group of the lactic acid bacteria, which are of great (human) health interest. In-depth molecular genetics and - biology analyses have allowed to understand in great detail how L. lactis functions in dairy fermentations, which genes are important for the organism (and the cheese producer and - consumer alike) and when they are expressed. Interestingly, most of the genetic tools that have been developed for the genetic disection of L. lactis also operate in many other (pathogenic) bacteria such as e.g., Enterococcus faecalis. The know-how on the functioning of L. lactis has led to completely different applications of the oganism, namely in the medical setting. Some of these new developments will also be highlighted in this talk.
Prof. Jan Kok got his PhD in 1987 on developing genetic tools for (then) lactic streptococci (now: lactococci) at the Department of Genetics in Groningen University, where he also did several PD projects. Prof. Jan Kok spent one year in the Scripps Institute in La Jolla, San Diego, California, working on Bacillus subtilis sporulation (1992). He went back to the Department of Genetics in Groningen University on a rather prestegious 5-year grant from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, after which he became assistant professor, associate professor and ultimately full professor at the Department of Molecular Genetics in Groningen.