Prof. Dr. Cynthia Sharma
Research Center for Infectious Diseases (ZINF)
University of Würzburg
Josef-Schneider-Str. 2 / Bau D15
RNA Biology, Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Infection Biology, Deep Sequencing, Bioinformatics Analysis
Campylobacter jejuni has become the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in humans. Because Campylobacter lacks many classical virulence factors (type III or type VI secretion systems), it has been suggested that its metabolic capabilities and motility determine its virulence. The group of Cynthia Sharma together with the group of Marco Metzger study host-pathogen interactions in Campylobacter infections using engineered human 3D in vitro models. In a joint IZKF project they have obtained proof-of-principle that Campylobacter infects a previously developed small intestine model, and have successfully set-up methods to track the CFU count of the bacteria and monitor the disruption of tight junctions. In this project they want to transfer these technologies to advanced tissue models. The small intestine model will be improved by introducing mucus-producing cell lines to better reflect the 3D environment in vivo. These partners will monitor transcriptome changes of host and pathogen using RNA-seq methods and analyse selected Campylobacter mutants in the new infection models.