I worked in Veening Lab as a joint PhD student of University of Groningen (Netherlands) and Tsinghua University (China) from September, 2015 to January, 2017. During this period, I adopted the CRISPRi system, combined with microscopy, to study the essential genes of our favourite pathogenic bacterial model Streptococcus pneumoniae. Collaborating with other members of the group, we obtained a lot of exciting discoveries. Part of that was published on Molecular Systems Biology as a cover.
After the visiting, I went back to Tsinghua University and finished my PhD thesis in June, 2017. With 6-years accompanying of S. pneumoniae on research journey, we have been intimate partners. I tried to kill it by screening antimicrobial compounds, to control it by studying its regulators, to know it by exploring function of its essential genes. It is too hard to say goodbye to this tiny organism, so I came back to Veening Lab in October, 2017 to continue my research career after three-months leisure time.
Of course, there are more reasons for me to come back. I like the free and encouraging spirit of our pneumo group and the international atmosphere in Switzerland. So far, I am continuing the exploration on S. pneumoniae with CRISPRi technique. Besides the high-throughput functional analysis of essential genes, I will try to test the potential of CRISPRi technique on gene interaction study, identification of antibiotic targets, virulence factors, etc. Contact me if you are also interested in Streptococcus pneumoniae or CRISPRi.