The normal resident bacteria in the gut protect the host from infection with pathogens (“colonization resistance”). This is important for human health, as enteric pathogens are significant causes of morbidity and mortality, and modern antibiotic use and poor diet have increasingly compromised our gut microbiota. Although the phenomenon of colonization resistance has been known for decades, it is still unclear which of the many proposed mechanisms are most important in vivo, and which symbiotic bacteria are key to protection. By using an unbiased fractionation approach and in vitro screening, along with isolation of selected symbiotic bacteria, I hope to identify key molecules and species involved in this protection.
Sponsored by the Host Microbiome Initiative