Esteban Martinez Garcia

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Centro Nacional de Biotecnología
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Esteban Martínez García obtained his Ph.D. at Universidad Complutense in Madrid in 2001, where he worked on stationary phase in bacteria. After that, he moved to the US for postdoctoral positions, first, in Roberto Kolter’s lab at the Harvard Medical School working on comparative genomics of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and then at Kevin Foster’s lab at Harvard University working on the social interactions of P. aeruginosa.

In 2008, he returned to Spain, where he is currently in Victor de Lorenzo’s lab at Centro Nacional de Biotecnología in Madrid. His work is focused on developing standard genetic tools and in the modification of the adhesive properties of Pseudomonas putida, to re-programme its stickiness, with the final aim of engineering artificial communities.

Wed July 10 | 2:00 - 4:00 | Parallel Session
ABSTRACT: Syn Bio standards for engineering complex phenotypes in environmental bacteria

The prokaryotic world is the largest reservoir of enzymatic activities in the Biosphere, but the vast majority of this treasure trove has not yet been exploited. To overcome this state of affairs new conceptual and material tools, as well as understanding of a large number of fundamental biological processes (e. g. metabolism) are required. Key aspects include optimization of a limited number of genomic and biochemical chasses compatible with environmental applications, standardization of methods of physical assembly of DNA constructs, development of genetic tools for deployment and stable maintenance of the implanted traits and adjustment of the engineered property to the genetic and biochemical background of the host. In this context, we have developed a large number of molecular tools for designing strains of the soil bacterium Pseudomonas putida aimed at biosensing and / or biodegradation of recalcitrant chemicals that are environmental pollutants. This multi-tiered effort involves [i] editing and streamlining of the existing genome for deletion of non-desirable segments (eg prophages) and enhancement of beneficial functions (eg stress tolerance), [ii] adoption of the so called Standard European Vector Architecture (SEVA) format for analysis, construction and deployment of genetic constructs in Gram-negative bacteria other than E. coli and [iii] development of fusion partners for targeting expression of given proteins to various cell compartments. The value of such standards (as well as their shortcomings) will be exemplified in our efforts to engineer P. putida strains for various applied purposes.