Mindaugas Pauzuolis     email
Institute for Molecular Infection Biology

Supervisor:
Dr. Sina Bartfeld (Würzburg)
Promotion Committee:
Dr. Sina Bartfeld (Würzburg)
Dr. Antoine-Emmanuel Saliba (Würzburg)
Prof. Dr. Redmond Smyth (Würzburg)
PD Dr. Vera Kozjak-Pavlovic (Würzburg)

Studying human pathogens using organoid systems

Most of the research focused on the interactions between pathogens and host have used immortalized cell lines as they provided readily supply and easy maintenance. However, these cell lines were isolated from various human cancers and in some cases, their molecular biology greatly differs from healthy host tissue. The application of organoids derived from tissue-resident adult stem cells provides infection research with ample supply of material that is closely identical to human tissue. These organoids self-organize in 3D structures and give rise to different types of cell present in the tissue of origin.

In my PhD project, I aim to better understand the differentiation of cells from organoids and how this differentiation of the host cell affects infection. As model infection, I will first study Helicobacter pylori. This bacterium has been categorized by WHO as a class I carcinogen and it has been associated with gastric cancer and variety of pathological gastric conditions. While it is well known that the bacterium can attach to host cells, it is still unclear, whether a special target cell exists and what the effect of infection would be on this putative target cell. I aim to use cellular differentiation in organoids to define and characterize the target cell for H. pylori. At a later stage, I also plan to investigate the role of host cell differentiation for a second model infection, namely enteric virus infections.