Aleksandra Usenik

PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY

As a postdoctoral fellow in the Structural biology group lead by Prof. Dušan Turk I have been mainly involved in structural biology studies of recombinantly expressed cell wall proteins (CWPs) from Clostridioides difficile. The crystal structures of multi-domain Cwp8 and Cwp6 from C. difficile revealed the cell wall binding type 2 (CWB2) module (Usenik et al., 2017) that is shared among 29 CWPs of C. difficile 630 and represents one of the two evolutionary conserved surface layer (S-layer)-anchoring modules in Gram-positive bacteria. The aim of our studies is to gain structural insight into the CWPs to understand the functions of these proteins acting either alone or as a part of the surface (S-) layer assembly. Since no atomic resolution models of S-layers from pathogenic bacteria, such as C. difficile, have been determined so far, we hope our studies will significantly improve the knowledge in this field of research. I have also participated in structural and biochemical characterization of the system responsible for the export of CWPs and proteins involved in biosynthesis of the secondary polysaccharides that mediate anchoring of the CWPs to the cell wall.

CORE QUALIFICATIONS

molecular biology (molecular cloning and mutagenesis), protein expression, protein purification, protein crystallization, biochemical characterization of proteins

EXPERIENCE

2018 – NOW POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER/ RESEARCH ASSISTANT, Jožef Stefan Institute

2013-2018 PhD STUDENT/ASSISTANT with BA, Jožef Stefan Institute

Membership: Slovenian Biochemical Society

EDUCATION

2013-2018
Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School

PhD; Structural and biochemical characterization of autolysins from Staphylococcus aureus Mu50

2008-2013
Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

BA in Biochemistry; Preparation and use of recombinant aminopeptidase C from Lactococcus lactis ssp. cremoris to increase the crystallizability of proteins