Justinas Babinskas is a PhD student at Life Sciences Center, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania. The subject of his PhD thesis is the synthesis and investigation of novel substrates for high-throughput screening of biocatalytic systems. He was awarded with the grant for STSM at the Department of Biology (Faculty of Science) in University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Host was Lada Lukič Bilela from Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During the stay, Justinas has worked on validation of protocol for the new laccase substrate – Ferbamine. It entailed initial experiments with in-house samples (4 bacterial isolates, 15 cave samples) from 2021 m. speleological expedition (Picture 1) which helped to validate the Ferbamine protocol. During STSM expedition (Picture 2) 41 new samples (bacterial biofilm, moonmilk, decaying wood, subterranean fungi, animal feces, bat guano, cave soil, sediment, speleothem, and unidentified samples) were collected from 7 locations, tested in the laboratory and further was brought to Vilnius University for investigations (Picture 3).
“This STSM was a once in lifetime experience, which helped to form an unexpected collaboration between the groups and to explore available protocols, tools, and infrastructure. The visit has acquired new knowledge, skills for investigation of cave ecosystems and handling of biofilms, moonmilk and plethora of other types of samples. Obtained results will greatly contribute to my PhD thesis topic and will be a subject for upcoming collaborations with team from Sarajevo University.” – said Justinas after his visit.