The Bastounis lab in the Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology & Infection Medicine (Cluster of
Excellence “Controlling Microbes to Fight Infections”, CMFI EXC 2124) at the University of
Tübingen is looking to fill one PhD position (E13 TV-L, 65%) as part of a DFG funded project
in collaboration with the Constantinou lab at TU Braunschweig. The earliest starting date for
this position will be on 01.03.2022. The position is funded for a period of three years. The
available position focuses on deciphering host-pathogen interactions using an organotypic
stretching device and biomechanical approaches.
Specific research project
During infection with the food-borne intracellular bacterial pathogen L. monocytogenes, large
infected domains in epithelial cell monolayers are forced to extrude to form 3D mounds due
to the collective and cooperative onslaught triggered by their uninfected neighbors. This mechanical
competition between uninfected and bacterially-infected cells is driven by innate immunity
signals and appears to limit pathogen dissemination through the epithelium (Bastounis
et al, Developmental Cell, 2021). The project seeks to investigate how biochemical and physical cues in
concert orchestrate intracellular bacterial dissemination in epithelial cells in monolayer in a
multifunctional cell stretching platform, that will allow us to mimic peristalsis-like cellular
stretching, similar to what epithelial cells are experiencing in the intestine.
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