Thesis subject

Investigation of sponge microbiota as a reservoir for antibiotic resistance

Sponges often contain diverse microbial communities, co-existing with the sponge in a symbiotic relationship. Sponge-associated micro-organisms are known for their capacity to produce a variety of secondary metabolites, which also include antimicrobial substances. The production of these antimicrobial substances, or antibiotics, makes for sponge bacteria to be interesting in the study of antibiotic resistance.

Important research questions are “Can sponge-associated bacteria serve as a reservoir for (novel) resistance determinants that can potentially be accessed by human pathogens?” and “What can we learn about the evolution and transfer of resistance genes based on their genomic context?.


To study these questions we intend to perform functional metagenomics (Moore et al., 2011) using DNA isolated from Mediterranean sponges. The aim is to investigate if sponges carry bacteria that contain resistance genes against clinically relevant antibiotics.



-       Cultivation of bacteria

-       Resistance profiling

-       Transformation

-       DNA cloning and restriction

-       PCR amplification

-       Sequencing and annotation


More information

Project for 6 months for students interested in Antibiotic Resistance


Supervisor: Dennis Versluis

Contact info:

Tel: 0317 - 483486

Laboratory of Microbiology

Microbiology building, room 0020

Duration: 4-6.5 months

Credits: 39 (max.)


Moore, A.M., Munck, C., Sommer, M.O., and Dantas, G. (2011) Functional metagenomic investigations of the human intestinal microbiota. Front Microbiol 2: 188.</L>