Thesis subject

Microbiome memory: How resilient is the gut microbiome during lifetime and across generations?

The microbiota and its host form a complex dynamic system, which crucially impacts host health and fitness, development and even behavior. The microbiome can be remarkably resistant to perturbation, which poses a key challenge for medical treatments that aim to improve host health through modulation of the microbiome.

We study this microbiome resilience in C. elegans worms, a minimal, highly tractable model system that allows for tight control of the host-microbe interactions. With this project, we are exploring to what extent the microbiome is stable not only during the lifetime of the host but also across generations. 

You will establish protocols to measure and control the gut microbiota of C. elegans in the lab. Further, you will perform 16S rRNA-gene sequencing and qPCR to characterize the resilience of the microbiome composition. This project is embedded within a larger endeavor to understand the effect of the microbiome on worm behavior.   

Examiner: Prof. Dr. Ir. Johan L. van Leeuwen
Supervisors: Steffen Werner (EZO)
Alex Bossers (WBVR)
Jos Boekhorst (HMI)
Contact: Steffen Werner (via contact form)
Begin date: 20/05/2021 (variable)
End date: 31/12/2021 (variable)
Credits: 24 - 30 ECTS MSc (variable)
For: MSc Biology / Animal Sciences / Molecular Life Sciences
Requirements: Students pursuing BSc/MSc degree in Biology, Molecular Life Sciences, Animal Sciences or related discipline. Previous experience with molecular methods is preferred. Follow the course Developmental Biology of Animals (EZO-30306).
Used skills: Handling of C. elegans worms, microbiology techniques, 16S rRNA gene sequencing, qPCR.