Airway and Resistome Microbiology - Markus Hilty

Airway Microbiota research in cystic fibrosis

Airway Microbiota research in cystic fibrosis


A) Background:

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a very severe, genetic disease affecting around 1000 people in Switzerland. The disease occurs most commonly due to the deletion of F508 (i.e. the loss of the amino acid phenylalanine). This results in increased mucus production within the airways and, therefore, frequent bacterial colonisation. A thorough understanding of the dynamics of this bacterial colonisation is crucial in order to optimise clinical decision making.

B) Objectives/hypothesis:   

We aim at characterising the microbiome of the oropharynx (OP) within the first five years of life to better understand the progression of the disease. All participants are enrolled in the Swiss CF Infant Lung development (SCILD) cohort

C) Outline of work:

We aim at investigating the microbiota of the OP of patients with CF and how this is influenced by antibiotics. Microbiota results of the OP will also be compared to the patterns of the nose of the identical individuals and microbial culture results will be co-analyzed for the identification of potential, new pathogens.

D) Relevance of the proposed project:

We expect that the microbiota patterns of the oropharynx (OP) differ significantly as compared to the nose but are personalized and not independent of antibiotic treatments. We further hypothesise that a disordered microbiota pattern of the oropharynx is associated with a worsening of the disease progression. Simultaneous characterization of the nasal and oropharyngeal microbiota will more accurately reveal the relevant bacterial members responsible for the disordering of the respiratory microbiome in children with cystic fibrosis. In conclusion, a more detailed insight into the microbiome will allow establishing a more targeted and personalized treatment recommendation at a very early stage of infection in children with CF.


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