The intestinal microbiome consists of trillions of beneficial bacteria, which live in synergy with their human hosts. It has only recently been discovered that such microorganisms enormously impact our health in ways that had been completely unanticipated. One aspect that is poorly understood is how bacteria can successfully colonize this very specialized intestinal environment in the first place, a process that starts shortly after birth. Among the first species to colonise are members of the Bacteroides genus, which remain in the intestine throughout life.
With the help of this bacterium as a model organism, my main interests are to understand how the bacterium sense its environment and what structures it uses to remain stable in the intestines.
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