Home » Featured Articles » Interview: From the past to the future…

Interview: From the past to the future…

This is the fourth interview with the PhD students of the Metagenomics projects in a series of 8 background articles. Keep following this website for the next interview in this series.


Interview with Doris van Bergeijk, PhD student of the project ‘The effect of host-microbe interactions on the secondary metabolism of actinomycetes’ at Leiden University (Institute of Biology Leiden).

‘My interest in antibiotic research started during a microbiology course in the second year of my bachelor. We had to test bacteria from the sewage against different antibiotics and I was shocked by their multi-drug resistance. To me it was clear that we were in need of new antibiotics (or alternatives) and I am very excited that I am now working on a project that will hopefully contribute to the discovery of new antibiotics.’

‘Actinomycetes are filamentous bacteria that are well known for their antibiotic production. Sequencing has shown that the genomes of actinomycetes contain a wealth of undiscovered biosynthetic gene clusters and this discovery has spiked research into this direction. Signals from the host/environment of these bacteria might influence the expression of these clusters. I aim to find host-specific signals, for example stress hormones, that can influence the antibiotic production with the ultimate goal to use actinomycetes to control microbial infections.’

‘So far, I have discovered that certain signaling molecules indeed influence the antibiotic production of actinomycetes. I now aim to identify the biosynthetic gene clusters that respond to these hormones and the corresponding metabolites. Additionally, I have had the unique opportunity to isolate and sequence actinomycetes from mammoth stool. This data, together with the metagenomics data of the gut microbiome of the mammoth, allows us to study bacteria from the past and analyse the biosynthetic gene clusters that are present. Hopefully this can give us insight in the way these genes have developed over time and what role actinomycetes can play in the protection of higher organisms.’

PhD project: The effect of host-microbe interactions on the secondary metabolism of actinomycetes.

More News

Masterclass Globally prepared for future outbreaks of ‘Disease X’

Leading scientists Jeremy Farrar, Marion Koopmans, and Ron Fouchier will take you into the world of new infectious diseases outbreaks and show you how we can prepare for these outbreaks.

More

Why do people who live near goat farms have a higher chance of developing pneumonia?

People who live in the vicinity of a goat farm have a higher chance of developing pneumonia. That was demonstrated by the study “Livestock farming and the health of neighbouring residents (VGO)”, which was carried out in Oost-Brabant and Noord-Limburg. The possible causes of this are still not known. On behalf of the Ministry of...

More

NCOH participates in the EU-funded project One Health European Joint Programme (One Health EJP)

NCOH Partners are involved in a recently-granted One Health European Joint Programme, which started last January. In the One Health EJP, 39 partners from 19 EU member states are gathered to create a sustainable European One Health framework by integration and alignment of medical, veterinary and food institutes through joint programming of research agendas matching...

More

COMBACTE – 5 YEARS IN

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing problem worldwide, and with few new drugs making it to the market, there is an urgent need for new medicines to treat resistant infections. The COMBACTE (COMBatting AntimiCrobial resisTance in Europe) project aims to give antibiotic drug development a much-needed boost by pioneering new ways of designing and implementing...

More