Carla Maneira da Silva

Carla Maneira da Silva

Engineering therapeutic microbes against pathogenic fungi

The human microbiota makes up for a multitude of microorganisms that collectively perform an essential role in the immunologic, hormonal, and metabolic homeostasis of their host. In the majority of the healthy human population, the opportunistic pathogen Candida albicans is a commensal of mucosal surfaces and a regular member of the microbiota. However, imbalances of the microbiome ("dysbiosis") can lead to severe C. albicans systemic infections with inflated mortality rates, known as candidemia. While systemic anti-candida prophylaxis can lead to resistant strains and are therefore threatening, the use of probiotic microorganisms to treat dysbiosis is a reasonable approach, however, of limited success. Thus, this project aims to engineer probiotic yeast to exert advanced beneficial activities in the host and its microbiota. Such "autonomous microbial physicians" would perform diagnostic tasks (e.g. reporting infections in the gut) as well as directed therapeutic actions (e .g. drug production and delivery in situ). The engineered strain will firstly be evaluated in vitro and should be later subjected to in-vivo models of the mammalian gut (e.g. mice).


Gerald Lackner


Ilse Jacobsen

Start of PhD

April 1, 2021

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