Navjot Kaur

Doctoral candidate at Université catholique de Louvain

About me

I graduated with a BSc-MSc Dual Degree (2023) from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali, Punjab, India. I obtained a major degree in Biological Sciences, and a minor degree in Chemical Sciences. I did my master’s thesis in a microbiology lab, to study the role of a small RNA in the regulation of Sugar acid metabolism in Escherichia coli. I am interested in studying about ‘the microbes’, their regulatory systems and their interactions with other organisms.

I did a summer internship in a ‘bacterial genetics and physiology’ lab at IISER Mohali, where I had hands-on-experience of various techniques of molecular biology. In 2022, I did another summer internship at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, India, where I worked in a ‘Caenorhabditis elegans lab’. My project aimed to understand the volatile profile of C. elegans microbiome members. I also did another project at IISc focused on understanding the swarming motility in Pseudomonas aeruginosa mutants in different growth conditions.

I am delighted to join the lab of Prof. Jean-François Collet as a PhD student at Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium as an MSCA fellow in the BREAKthrough consortium. I am looking forward to understanding the molecular mechanisms which maintain the integrity of bacterial cell envelope and how bacteria respond to different stress conditions. I am interested in identifying the inhibitors of protein machineries that help maintain the outer membrane in order to make Gram-negative bacteria sensitive to new antibiotics.

About my project
DC03: Identification of new OM destabilisers by targeting RcsF-Bam and the crosslinking of Lpp to the PG

Antimicrobial resistance, which is caused by multi-drug-resistant bacterial pathogens is a global health emergency. Gram-negative bacteria notably hinder effective treatment because of their impermeable outer membrane (OM).  This project aims to investigate the interaction between lipoproteins and the beta-barrel Assembly Machinery (BAM) using various in vivo and in vitro approaches. These approaches include site-specific photocrosslinking, pulldowns, protein purification and microfluidics. One objective of the BREAKthrough project is to destabilise the OM to make Gram-negative bacteria sensitive to new antibiotics. In this context, the potential of poorly characterized peptidoglycan transpeptidases as drug targets will be explored.