Infectious diseases are gaining more attention, both due to antibiotic resistance and climate change. Bacteria that can cause disease are called pathogenic bacteria.
Bacteria defend themselves against their enemies by using different mechanisms. There are remarkable similarities between the functions of bacteria that can withstand the degradation of their enemies in nature, and the functions pathogenic bacteria use to resist the degradation of human immune cells. An exciting theory is that there is an evolutionary link between the ecosystem where the bacteria live and the development of their pathogenicity. There are uncertainties as to how this connection can be associated with human infection.
My project in this area focuses on identifying ecological drivers that lead to the development of pathogenic bacteria. Since the living conditions for the organisms in the ecosystem recently has changed, the focus will be on investigating how bacteria adapt to changes such as temperature and nutrient availability. The research is relevant for proper aquatic management, as well as for predicting and preventing sudden outbreaks.