Apr. Merel Wauters

Apr. Merel Wauters

Apr. Merel Wauters

Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Microbiology (LPM)
Universiteit Gent
Ottergemsesteenweg 460
B-9000 Gent - Belgium

Tel: 32 - (0) 9 264 80 93

E-mail: Merel.Wauters@ugent.be

list of publications

Merel Wauters graduated as Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Drug Development) at Ghent University in June 2020. She is working as a PhD student in the Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Microbiology since September 2020, and is funded by an Odysseus fellowship from the Fund for Scientific Research-Flanders (FWO) (awarded to Dr. Aurélie Crabbé).

The main focus of her research is to investigate the host immunological response to different bacteria in the cystic fibrosis (CF) lung.

The CF lung microbiome consists of a wide variety of microorganisms, with a high abundance of the Gram-negative rod Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The aptitude to grow in biofilms makes it difficult to eradicate these microbes, as they show enhanced resistance to antimicrobials and to the host immune system. It has been shown that microorganisms found in CF lung escape the immune system and even harness host responses to their advantage. Overstimulation of the host immune system and its ineffectiveness to clear infection, leads to deterioration of lung tissue. This is an important issue to address as respiratory failure, at least partially caused by P. aeruginosa infection, is one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality in CF patients.

For appropriate investigation of the host response to various bacteria, it is important to mimic physiological characteristics of the host tissue. Therefore, a highly differentiated 3D lung tissue model will be used. This approach will improve the translation of in vitro to in vivo results and wil provide insights on the influence of the lung microbiome on the host immune response.