Developing a H. pylori specific ELISA to support research in Host-microbe interactions at Københavns Universitet

Research group focus:

In the Microbial Evolutionary Medicine Group we operate at the intersection of evolutionary and clinical microbiology, in the developing field of Evolutionary Medicine. We study the effect on our health of host-microbe interactions through in vitro and in vivo experiments, using microscopy, flow cytometry, and bioinformatics. We complement this with screening patient samples for biomarkers to evaluate the translational value of our experimental work.

The star of our work is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which lives in the human stomach. H. pylori is thought to have co-evolved with modern humans, and is renowned for causing stomach ulcers and -cancer. Infection can, however, also protect against other diseases such as asthma and allergies. The outcome may depend on a complex interplay of host and bacterial genetics, age at infection, and interactions with other microbes in the gut. We explore the consequences of infection on host metabolism and parasite susceptibility.

Project description:

In our research we use mice as animal models to investigate H. pylori host interactions. The aim of this project is to develop and optimize an assay to screen if the mice we use in our experiments are infected with H. pylori. The assay is a sandwich ELISA to quantify H. pylori antigen in faecal pellets from mice. In short, the treatment will turn an extract of faecal material from infected mice will turn bright green, in contrast to no colour development from uninfected mice. Since H. pylori reside in the stomach it can readily be detected in DNA extracts from stomach tissue after euthanization. However, since we often subject mice to long experimental protocols after early life H. pylori infections it is highly desirable to develop a non-invasive method to verify successful H. pylori infection before allocating mice to further experimental procedures. This will improve animal welfare as well as save time and research efforts.

You will get hands on experience with sample handling, common lab procedures, and ELISA specifically, a type of assay used for a wide range of tests such as corona screening. Depending of time, and your interests, the project can involve animal work, and additional lab techniques such as quantitative PCR. We are flexible in terms of when the experimental work is executed.

Supervisors /contact:

Sandra Breum Andersen, Associate Professor,

Katrine Bækby Graversen, Postdoc,

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