June 18 2018
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