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Growing the team and research amplitude in 2021: A year in review

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to look back at the previous year and see what it was like, what achievements have been reached, what challenges have been overcome and how we will use them to step up next year.

2021 was a great leap for our team. The year started with the launch of our beautiful website. After months of work, we were ready to show everyone the new website, that is faster, easier to navigate and more user friendly.

Some team members reached out to new horizons, but the office chairs did not remain empty. With new projects came new team members. Jeļena Ziemele joined our group with the post-doc project "Decision Support Tool for Decarbonisation Assessment of District Heating Systems". In the project, Jelena develops a decision support tool for identifying the decarbonisation level of a municipal district heating system and its development scenarios to assess the transition path towards the 4th generation district heating system.

Soon after Jelena, Dr. Anna Stikāne joined our team and started her post-doc project “Sustainable valorisation of fermentation waste by microbial metabolic modelling and extension of fermentation cascades (Fer2Fer)”. In the project, Anna applies her understanding of molecular processes and bioeconomy to develop a methodology and examples for valorisation and cascading of bioproduction side-streams.

In the second half of 2021, we were joined by a constraint-based stoichiometric modelling expert Dr. Ehsan Motamedian from Tehran, Iran. His expertise in the reconstruction of genome-scale metabolic networks and the development of algorithms and tools to analyze the networks opens new fields of knowledge and ideas. In addition to new doctors, curios young and aspiring students joined our team too: Matīss Ričards Baumanis, Jānis Edmunds Daugavietis, Reinis Muižnieks, Līva Kristiāna Lukaša, Matīss Bojārs.

Our team continues to study and improve their knowledge. Kristaps Bērziņš, who obtained Master’s degree last year, and Raimonda Soloha started their PhD studies. We wish them patience and success in their studies. This will also be a new experience for Elīna Dāce who will be a supervisor of Raimonda’s PhD thesis. Meanwhile, other members of the group improved their knowledge through courses and mobility. There has been 4 mobilities last year. Elīna Dāce had mobility at the Università degli Studi di Padova, the Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture, and Forestry (Italy) and LUT University (Finland) and Jeļena Ziemele had virtual mobility at the Lithuanian Energy Institute, Laboratory of Energy systems research (Lithuania).

We continue to take our opportunities to create new partnerships and collaborations and last year we made some new connections here in Latvia and abroad. Our team members continued to work on six already existing projects and started 3 new projects. We published 8 new scientific publications and participated in several conferences.

We are very proud and inspired to continue our work on a novel Sustainable Metabolic Engineering concept that was defined last year, as well as move into the research direction of sustainability transitions. There are always other new ideas sparking to be developed and we are ready for this year to bring us to new horizons!


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