About this team
The System Immunology and Microbiology (SIM) research team is part of the Center for Life Sciences and is within the subject of Biology. The team is led by Professor Jana Jass.
The research team investigates the mechanisms behind the cellular responses to pharmaceutical contamination in the environment and the potential use of probiotic Lactobacillus species to modulate these responses. We use a systems biology approach to map these interactions to obtain a more complete understanding of how bacterial and human cells respond to each other and their environment.
The various projects investigated by the SIM research team fall into two primary areas:
- The biological effects of persistent exposure to environmental contamination on bacteria, C. elegans (nematode) and human cells.
Persistent exposure to environmental contaminants at sub-lethal levels can affect different organisms in various ways. Pharmaceutical substances and metals can provide selective pressure on bacteria to increase the occurrence of antibiotic resistance. These pharmaceuticals and organic substances can also induce inflammation and cancer in animal cells. The nematode, C. elegans, provides a whole animal model for environmental exposures. These effects together provide valuable information for risk assessment.
- Characterization of probiotic lactobacilli in modulating infection and inflammation.
We also investigate the antibacterial (antivirulence) and immune modulatory effects of probiotic lactobacilli to provide potential new strategies for treatment of infections and inflammatory diseases. We hope to identify and characterize the bioactive substances/processes in order to develop new therapeutics.