Mette Burmølle says: Like humans, bacteria can be infected by virus. Bacterial viruses are called bacteriophages (phages) and they infect specific bacteria, often resulting in cell death. Bacteria cause many human diseases, which, with the rapidly expanding antibiotic resistance crisis, we are losing the ability to cure. This has severe consequences and calls for alternatives to antibiotics. Phages represent such alternatives, and their therapeutic potential is currently tested and evaluated. However, these tests are commonly conducted in simple model systems with little relevance to the bacterial life in nature and infections. In this project, I will study phage-bacteria interactions in settings resembling the bacterial natural lifestyle, in biofilms. Here, mixed bacterial communities are encased in a protective matrix, which influences phage susceptibility. The results will be foundational for development of efficient strategies using phage therapy as alternatives or supplements to antibiotics.
Mette Burmølle is Associate Professor at the Section of Microbiology, University of Copenhagen