Cardiff University Seminar with Jan Michiels, 25th March 2021

This talk in the Cardiff University School of Medicine Science seminar series is from Professor Jan Michiels, the Director of the Centre of Microbial & Plant Genetics, KU Leuven.
The focus of the Michiels lab is to uncover the basic molecular principles of bacterial persistence and how bacteria enter or exit this state. Understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms may help to develop new therapeutic approaches to combat pathogenic bacteria. From an evolutionary point of view, the Michiels lab explores how bacterial populations adapt persistence characteristics by genetic mutations during fluctuating antibiotic regimens. In this context, they also examine the link between persistence and the evolution of genetic antibiotic resistance. They focus on the model bacterium E. coli and several pathogenic species including the ESKAPE pathogens.
He will give the Cardiff University School of Medicine Science Seminar on Thursday 25 March 1pm UK time/8am EAST/2pm CET. The attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions after the talk. Zoom link will be sent closer to date.
Evolution, ecology and mechanisms of persistence in E. coli and the relation with antibiotic resistance.
Persister cells constitute a small fraction of phenotypic variants, present within every bacterial population, that are genetically identical to their kin. They are transiently antibiotic-tolerant and can, after drug removal, switch back to the normal state and give rise to a new, susceptible population identical to the original one. Although persisters arise spontaneously in a population, the majority of the persister cells is induced in response to different stresses, such as nutrient deprivation. Persisters pose a threat to public health, as they are held responsible for the recalcitrance of several chronic infections, and they form a pool from which resistant mutants emerge, thereby aggravating the current problem of antibiotic resistance. As a consequence, there has been a tremendous increase in attention for persistence research over the past years, leading to important novel insights. In this presentation, I will summarize our published and unpublished contributions to the understanding of evolution of persistence to cyclic treatments of antibiotics leading to increased persistence levels and antibiotic resistance. Furthermore, a mechanistic model contributing to our understanding of persister formation, awakening and physiology will be discussed.


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