Development of an in vitro culturing and screening platform for the selection of bacterial consortia based on functional complementarity to the target bacterium with the goal of treating or preventing bacterial infection.

15 January 2024 → 14 January 2027
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Analysis of next-generation sequence data
    • Gastro-enterology
    • Bacteriology
    • Microbiome
  • Engineering and technology
    • Environmental microorganism biotechnology
Colonization resistance gastro-intestinal bacterial infections in vitro culturing and screening
Project description

Everyone that ever had food poisoning knows it means a few days near the toilet or in bed. Not a major problem when you are young, healthy and living in a country with good sanitation. However, often life threatening in case of infants and elderly, people with underlying conditions, or in developing countries. Current treatment options are limited to antibiotics, with the associated problem of antibiotic resistance. Treatment with bacterial consortia is a promising alternative, avoiding the problem of antibiotic resistance, and opening up possibilities for personalized and preventative treatment. Currently, the selection of such consortia resides to only two strategies, 1. combining several safe-to-use probiotic strains or 2. by analysing the success of highly risky fecal material transfer trials. Both approaches have their problems, which could be solved by re-envisioning the base of selection to colonization resistance and/or functional complementarity with the target bacterium. There is currently no generalized in vitro screening method for microbial consortia with the goal of treating or preventing gastro-intestinal infections based on the concept of colonization resistance or functional complementarity. I here propose to set up such a screening platform for one specific bacterium, namely Campylobacter jejuni serving as a proof of concept and representing a use-case with significant potential societal impact.