Genetics of Host-Microbe Interactions

Genetics of Host-Microbe Interactions

Microbes, both pathogenic and beneficial, have strong impact on the host physiology. Using Drosophila melanogaster as a model, we aim to understand the mechanisms of how the host discriminates and responds to different microbial challenges. We are also investigating the mechanisms of how pathogens cause disease and how perturbations of beneficial microbial communities (dysbiosis) impacts the health of the host.

Drosophila immunity

Insects are equipped with efficient mechanisms for detecting and neutralizing microbial infection. We use the power of Drosophila genetics and genomics to decipher conserved mechanisms of innate immune responses. We are particularly interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of the host immune responses to co-infections. Our ultimate goal is to discover ways to manipulate the immune system in a way that would allow efficient immune responses to co-infections.

Pathogen responses to host immunity

Pathogens rely on a plethora of mechanisms to subvert the host defences. Using genomics and reverse genetics, we investigate how pathogens respond to host immune defences and what virulence factors they require to infect the host.

Effect of microbiota on host physiology

The complexity of mammalian microbiota in the major obstacle limiting the studies of microbial factors affecting the host physiology. We utilize Drosophila with its simple microbiota and short lifespan as an accessible model to discover microbial factors modulating host aging and immunity. Specifically, we aim at identifying individual microbial factors/metabolites modulating host aging and immunity and to reveal their molecular mechanism of action. From the host side, we seek to find the host factors that regulate intestinal bacterial communities and maintain intestinal homeostasis.

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