New group photo
New year, new group photo!
New year, new group photo!
Congratulations to Liselot Dewachter, currently at the Center for Microbiology in Leuven (Belgium), for obtaining a prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie post-doctoral fellowship! Liselot will join our lab from the 1st of April 2019.
After exactly 1 year at the EMBL in the lab of Nassos Typas, Afonso will continue his research in our lab. Afonso is interested in generating mutant libraries using SUDOKO Tn-seq screens and using them to decipher the importance of the pan-genome in several bacteria.
This week we welcome Vincent to our team! Vincent will be working within the framework of a recently approved JPIAMR (Joint Program Initiative on antimicrobial resistance) project called DISRUPT where he will identify targets and mode of action of novel anti-biofilm agents in S. pneumoniae and S. aureus using a combination of high-throughput screens and computational analysis.
Congratulations to Dimitra for passing her mid-thesis exam! Thanks to Yolanda Schaerli and Tim van Opijnen for doing excellent jury work. Cheers!
Previous studies on the competence regulon were performed with microarray technology and limited to an incomplete set of known genes. Using RNA-sequencing, combined with an up-to-date genome annotation, Jelle and Rieza provide an updated overview of competence-regulated genes, encompassing refinement of the regulons of ComE, BlpR and ComX, as well as the stress response CiaR and VraR (LiaR) regulons. Read the preprint on BioRxiv here.
Drugs targeting PBP3 promote chain formation. Cell chains retain, rather than diffuse, the quorum-sensing peptide CSP. Chaining populations feature a longer competence and transformation time window.
Here is the link to the paper
See a general audience write up on our work from the University of Lausanne here (in French) 'Le pneumocoque ou l’art de déjouer les antibiotiques'
And for a nice interview with Jelle (in Dutch and English) 'Hoe antibiotica helpen bij verspreiden van resistentie', click here
Our JPIAMR (Joint Program Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance) proposal entitled DISRUPT was selected for funding! Out of 104 applications, 10 were selected for funding. Read more here: https://www.jpiamr.eu/6th-jpiamr-joint-call-results/
DISRUPT is coordinated by former Veeninglab post-doc Morten Kjos (now associate professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences) and, besides our lab, includes the teams of Nassos Typas and Christophe Merten, both from the EMBL in Heidelberg.
The idea of DISRUPT is to fight antimicrobial resistant infections by high-throughput discovery of biofilm-disrupting agents and mechanisms. The project will start in 2019 and our lab will be funded via the SNF.
Our back2back papers https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gky725 … (
#PneumoBrowse) & https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gky750 … ( #PneumoExpress) made it to the cover @NAR_Open! It's an artistic rendering by @RiezaApr & @JelleSlager of correlated gene expression in S.pneumoniae and a section of the newly assembled genome.
Welcome to Aya, Gilles, Guillaume, Mam Malick and Marina, who are in their 3rd year of biology BSc, doing the 'Experimental Design' course in our lab.
They will be working with Clement the coming weeks to figure out how CcrZ localizes. Good luck!
Interesting new work by the team of Luisa Hiller, with a small contribution by our lab (Arnau), now out in PLoS Pathogens! We show that a small peptide now called BriC, is under competence control and secreted by ComAB and plays an important role in biofilm formation. Pneumococci without BriC also colonize mice less well. Lot's of things still to learn, but again highlighting the importance of competence development for the pneumococcal lifestyle. Read the original paper here, and a news coverage item here.
Olivier will work with Arnau to look in close detail on how competence is regulated. Good luck!
Our paper: Eavesdropping and crosstalk between secreted quorum sensing peptide signals that regulate bacteriocin production in Streptococcus pneumoniae., The ISME Journal, 2018 (DOI: 10.3410/f.733450315.793548634) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41396-018-0178-x, has been recommended in F1000Prime as being of special significance in its field by F1000 Faculty Member Paul Cotter.
You can read it here
Congratulations to Jelle and Rieza, their PneumoBrowse paper entitled 'Deep genome annotation of the opportunistic human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae D39' has been accepted for publication in Nucleic Acids Research! Read all about PneumoBrowse here
After Jasper, now also time to say goodbye to Aya and Guillaume, with PneumoCookies!
Thanks for the work and great time in our lab!
Rieza will defend his thesis entitled: Quantifying the transcriptome of a human pathogen: Exploring transcriptional adaptation of Streptococcus pneumoniae under infection-relevant conditions.
Where? Aula Groningen
When? Friday the 13th of July at 14:30h
Welcome to Aya Iizuka, 2nd year BSc student who is doing a summer internship under the supervision of Xue!
Jeudi 14 juin 2018, 17h15
Amphithéâtre du Biophore | UNIL-Sorge | Lausanne
> Prof. Nicolas Fasel
Vice-Doyen de la Faculté de biologie et de médecine de l’UNIL
> Prof. Jan Roelof van der Meer
Directeur du Département de microbiologie fondamentale
'De la bactérie inoffensive au redoutable pathogène: Approches de biologie synthétique pour décrypter l’infection à pneumocoques'
> Jan-Willem Veening
Professeur ordinaire à la Faculté de biologie et de médecine de l’UNIL
L’entrée est libre. La manifestation sera suivie d’un apéritif.
Morten's team (with a small contribution by us) established a very robust CRISPRi system for Staphylococcus aureus and then using that to show that staph has not 1 but 2 CozE-like proteins. The work shows that CozE proteins mediate control of cell division in S. aureus and S. pneumoniae, likely via interactions with key cell division proteins such as EzrA.The work is now online at Molecular Microbiology (preprinted at BioRxiv first).
We are looking for 2 PhD students to strengthen our team. Apply before the 30th of June. We are looking for creative candidates that have an interest in technology, synthetic biology, genetics, bioinformatics, microscopy, infection biology. Read more about the positions and apply via the official UNIL page here. Feel free to contact Jan-Willem directly for questions.
We are very pleased to present Monica, who will work on several projects, as well as keep smooth sailing of the lab. Another salient detail is that with Monica, we currently have 15 nationalities, a new Veening lab record! 🇳🇱🇧🇪🇨🇴🇫🇷🇬🇷🇮🇳🇮🇩🇮🇹🇯🇵🇳🇿🇨🇭🇺🇸🇵🇹🇪🇸🇨🇳
Today we proudly launch 2 new databases that will tremendously aid researchers working on Streptococcus pneumoniae.
The first database is PneumoBrowse, which allows browsing through the now extremely well annotated D39V genome. The second database is PneumoExpress, which provides detailed gene expression profiles of all genes under 22 infection-relevant conditions.
We anticipate that these resources will aid in functional analysis of the pneumococcal genome, future genome annotation projects, and the acceleration of identifying new vaccine candidates and targets for novel antibiotics.
Discovery of a mechanism by which certain antibiotics, such as aztreonam, can induce competence and HGT in S.pneumoniae. It also shows the versatility of the competence quorum sensing system to integrate different signals. Great job by Arnau and Jelle.
Pre-print here: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2018/03/19/284125
Jasper from Groningen (NL) will be doing a MSc project with Renske and Guillaume will be working with Jun to finish his masters at Louvain (BEL). Good luck!
The lab enjoyed 2 days in the snow, together with the team of Stephan Gruber, in the amazing Les Diablerets, just a 1h drive from Lausanne. Besides skiing, sledging and snowshoeing there were of course many stimulating scientific discussions!
Today the ERC announced this years' consolidator grant winners and our lab is one of them!
Read more about the opportunities here.
Our lab retreat to Budapest was a great succes! Friday was spent doing a SWOT analysis and coming up with a mission statement for the lab. There was also time to visit the beautiful city and try the local cuisine. We also happended to stumble into an amazing pub named Szimpla where the team became creative (see picture).
For some background on the work, see the 'Behind the paper': Synchronizing bacterial sex.
ScienceLinx also did an interview with Sander: How does a bacterium make sense of the world?
Today Pascal Roth started his 'first step' Masters project (3 months) in our lab, testing different CRISPR systems, under the supervision of Dimitra. Good luck!
Lay Summary (in French):
Streptococcus pneumoniae (le pneumocoque) est un agent pathogène opportuniste qui peut causer des maladies graves telles que la septicémie, la méningite et la pneumonie. Il est responsable annuellement de près d'un million de morts. La plupart des antibiotiques utilisés pour traiter les infections à pneumocoque ciblent les enzymes qui fabriquent la paroi cellulaire de la bactérie et de cette manière bloquent la division cellulaire. Les mécanismes qui permettent à la cellule de se diviser exactement par le milieu restent inconnus. L'objectif principal de ce projet est de décrire comment Streptococcus pneumoniae se divise pour produire deux cellules filles de taille identique et de même forme.
Congratulations to Lance for landing and coordinating our first ever DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) contract to use Streptococcus pneumoniae to sequence DNA! Lance will be working together with Anne-Stéphanie to reach the first years' milestones and unlock a second year of funding.
Congratulations to Stefano and Jan-Willem for landing a Novartis Foundation for medical-biological Research grant. The grant is for 60K CHF and will allow us to buy a new Geldoc and a couple of months of salary for Stefano to help unravel a new mechanism for chromosome segregation in Streptococcus pneumoniae.
We use synthetic and systems biology approaches to understand how bacteria replicate and switch from benign to pathogen. Our favorite model organism is Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus). Have a look at our Research page to learn more about our work.
"Pneumococcus is altogether an amazing cell. Tiny in size, simple in structure, frail in make-up, it possesses physiological functions of great variety, performs biochemical feats of extraordinary intricacy and, attacking man, sets up a stormy disease so often fatal that it must be reckoned as one of the foremost causes of human death."
Benjamin White: The Biology of Pneumococcus. The Commonwealth Fund, Oxford University Press, London, 1938.
First post on www.veeninglab.com