The mucosal surfaces of the human stomach and gut are in constant contact with bacteria and viruses. This encompasses the often mutually beneficial relationships with commensals as well as encounters with pathogens. The study of host-microbe interactions is hampered by a lack of suitable model systems: many bacteria or viruses cannot be cultured or existing models do not sufficiently recount the human disease. This project aims at the development of new in vitro models and the subsequent characterization of the host response to three microorganisms: the carcinogenic bacterium Helicobacter pylori, the most common cause for non-bacterial gastroenteritis, Norovirus, and the commensal Small Filamentous Bacteria. A culture system that was recently developed in lab of Dr. Clevers will be used in which adult stem cells give rise to three-dimensional structures (‘organoids’) resembling mature, polarized epithelium of the stomach, small intestine and colon.
Fields of science
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