Gipsi Lima Mendez

Microbiology, Bioinformatics and Microbial Ecology

Investigating the complex interactions between mobile genetic elements and their microbial hosts at ecological and molecular levels to gain insights into their respective evolution.

Prof. Gipsi Lima Mendez PhD

UNamur, Department of biology, Research Unit in Biology of Microorganisms (URBM)

Member of the Namur Research Pole in Infectiology (NaRePI)

Research portal UNamur  |  ORCID  |  ResearchGate  |

Expertise and research interests

Prof. Gipsi Lima Mendez is a computational biologist, which focuses on interactions between mobile genetic elements and bacteria.

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is the process by which organisms acquire genetic material from a non-parental organism and has a crucial role in shaping the evolution and ecology of prokaryotes. Mobile genetic elements (MGE) mediate conjugation and transduction, both major mechanisms of HGT. MGE genetic architecture consists on arrays of genetic modules often shared between different types of MGEs, suggesting that recombination drives the emergence of new types of MGEs.

My group seeks to develop a an integrative computational framework combining multi-omics and network analyses to investigate the complex interactions between MGEs and their microbial hosts at ecological and molecular levels.

Group members

PhD students: Diana Bittremieux, Antoine Druart, Rémy Dugauquier and Célyne Roomans

Master student: Laura Pelzer

Research projects

  • ONGOING Modeling interactions between bacteria and mobile genetic elements within the human intestinal microbiome through the exploitation of ecomolecular networks. Ongoing PhD thesis by Antoine Druart.
  • ONGOING Bacteria-phage interactions in the human gut. Ongoing PhD thesis by Diana Bittremieux.
  • ONGOING Development of ADAM, a computational tool for prediction of bacterial defenses against phages and other mobile genetic elements. Ongoing PhD thesis by Rémy Dugauquier. 
  • ONGOING Experimental validation of in silico predicted bacterial defense mechanisms. Ongoing master thesis by Laura Pelzer.

Selected publications

Latka A, Aertsen A, Boeckaerts D, Blasdel B, Ceyssens PJ, Garcia-Pino A, Gillis A, Lavigne R, Lima-Mendez G, Matthijnssens J, Onsea J, Peeters E, Pirnay JP, Thiry D, Vandenheuvel D, Van Mechelen E, Venneman J, Verbeken G, Wagemans J, Briers Y. Foundation of the Belgian Society for Viruses of Microbes and Meeting Report of Its Inaugural Symposium. Viruses. 2023 May 22;15(5):1213.

Lima-Mendez G, Oliveira Alvarenga D, Ross K, Hallet B, Van Melderen L, Varani AM, Chandler M. Toxin-Antitoxin Gene Pairs Found in Tn3 Family Transposons Appear To Be an Integral Part of the Transposition Module. mBio. 2020 Mar 31;11(2):e00452-20.