Mondays in Microbiolgy

Theme: Hologenomics

 

Date: 3 October 2022
Time: 15.00-16.30

Chair person: Professor at University of Copenhagen, Michael Poulsen

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Hologenomics in health – our ancient microbial associates
by Sandra Breum Andersen,
Associate Professor at the Section for Hologenomics, GLOBE Institute, University og Copenhagen

Hologenomic insights into ecological and evolutionary relationships between animals and microorganisms
By Antton Alberdi Estibartitz
Associate Professor at the Section for Hologenomics, GLOBE Institute, University og Copenhagen

Applied Hologenomics to boost animal welfare in the food production sector
By Morten Tønsberg Limborg
Associate Professor at the Section for Hologenomics, GLOBE Institute, University og Copenhagen

 


Sandra Breum Andersen
Associate Professor at the Center for Evolutionary Hologenomics, University of Copenhagen

I am an evolutionary biologist, and have worked on a range of different host-microbe systems, from corals and zombie ants, to cystic fibrosis infections and now stomach bugs. My research is at the intersection of evolutionary and clinical microbiology, in the emerging field of Evolutionary Medicine. With a hologenomic approach, my research aims to understand the effects of microbial social interactions within, and among microbial species, and between microbes and their hosts. The ultimate goal is the ability to predict and manipulate microbial effects on host fitness.


Hologenomics in health – our ancient microbial associates

The human microbiome affects our health, and changes in composition due to modern life styles are implicated in a wide range of diseases. Yet despite extensive sequencing efforts focused on particularly our gut microbiome we are still far from being able to identify what a healthy microbiome looks like, and what components induce disease. A hologenomic approach may contribute to solving this. I will present work from my group focused on Helicobacter pylori, an ancient inhabitant of the human stomach. In an evolutionary medicine framework we explore how the bacteria affect host health; by interacting with each other, the distal gut microbiome and the host. We work with mouse and organoid models, and by screening clinical samples.


Antton Alberdi Estibartitz
Associate Professor at Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen

I am a molecular evolutionary ecologist interested in understanding how interactions between life forms (mainly animals and bacteria) affect ecological, evolutionary and applied processes. I use multi-omics to jointly analyse functional attributes of animal genomes and associated microbial metagenomes, to try to disentangle the complex interactions between them and understand the relevance of such an interplay for bacteria, animals and ecosystems.


Hologenomic insights into ecological and evolutionary relationships between animals and microorganisms

Animals and microorganisms associated with them have continuously interacted since ancestral times. Patterns such as co-phylogeny or phylosymbiosis between animals and microbes observed across multiple taxa and environments intuitively suggest that such an interplay has been relevant for both types of life forms. However, how animal-microbiota relationships have shaped ecological features and evolutionary trajectories of both animals and microbes is still far from being resolved. In my talk, I will give an overview of the diverse approaches we are currently using to tackle this issue, ranging from worldwide characterisation of paired animal genomic and microbial metagenomic data through the Earth Hologenome Initiative aimed at identifying global hologenomic patterns, to in vitro research on gut-on-a-chip models to study the detailed interactions between animal intestinal tissues and microorganisms.


Morten Tønsberg Limborg
Associate Professor at the Section for Hologenomics, University of Copenhagen

My research program is deeply rooted within the application of population genomics for the study of population structure and local adaptation processes. Over the past 5 years I have worked with colleagues - including Antton & Sandra - towards establishing the new field of Applied Hologenomics in the health and food Sciences. Here I embrace novel metagenomic tools to better integrate data on host-microbiota interactions to further our evolutionary understanding of host - microbe coevolution and with an eye towards applied life sciences
 

Applied Hologenomics to boost animal welfare in the food production sector

I will provide a broad overview of the work we do in the Applied Hologenomics group at the Center for Evolutionary Hologenomics. We study the molecular interactions between the microbiome domain and their respective host organisms using multi omics methods. Our research is particularly focused on mapping key hologenomic functions of relevance to animal performance and developing more intelligent ways to boost sustainability and welfare in animal food systems by optimising microbiome functions. We approach these applied challenges by having our research with one leg planted in basic evolutionary biology, where we use the holobiont concept to study how evolution has shaped animal-microbiota interactions to understand how multicellular host organisms depend on functions provided by their associated microbiome. Simultaneously, our other leg is rooted in the applied life sciences where we continuously explore how our results can be translated into actual solutions for growing better and healthier animals; in this talk I will provide concrete examples from the latter perspective.