Dr Almudena V. Merchan

Margarita Salas Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Almudena V. Merchan is a food microbiologist from Spain, currently doing her Postdoc at Lawley Lab with a Margarita Salas Fellowship from the National Government of Spain.


At Lawley Lab, Almudena is focussing her research in the gut microbiome from infants and adults, where some of the early-life species that colonise the gut at birth remain during all life stages. She is using bioinformatician tools to understand the adaptations that make possible this colonisation, the differences between the early-life and adult versions and their complex evolution within the host around the world.



She received her degree in Food Science and Technology in 2014 and MPh in Biotechnology and Food Safety in 2015. In 2021, she achieved her PhD in Food Science at the University of Extremadura.

As a trained molecular microbiologist, she developed a project during her PhD, where she studied the microbiome of traditional soft cheeses made in Extremadura (Spain), produced with raw sheep milk and without the addition of any culture to control the ripening. Her findings, using multi-omics tools, had been an important discover to the local industry, due to the selection of a complex of microorganisms, involved in the texture and flavor development during the ripening, being Hafnia alvei/paralvei, C. jadinii, Kluyveromyces spp. and Pichia kudriavzevii, the species with high impact in these parameters. Also, she found out a high number of yeasts with probiotic properties that could be used in a mixed culture to produce cheeses with functional properties. Another aim of her PhD was focused on a microbial selection to prevent the appearance of pathogens like Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli, and other microorganisms that alter the appearance of this cheese rind, such as Yarrowia lipolytica and moulds.

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