Apr. Eva Vandeplassche

Apr. Eva Vandeplassche

Apr. Eva Vandeplassche

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

Tel: 32 - (0) 9 264 80 93
Fax: 32 - (0) 9 264 81 95

E-mail: Eva.Vandeplassche@ugent.be

Eva Vandeplassche graduated as Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Pharmaceutical Care) at Ghent University in June 2014. She is working as a PhD student in the Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Microbiology since October 2014, and is funded by an Odysseus fellowship from the Fund for Scientific Research – Flanders (FWO) (awarded to Dr. Aurélie Crabbé).

The overall aim of her research is to understand how host-associated microbial communities can affect the efficacy of antimicrobial agents.

The focus will be on the respiratory system where biofilm forming species often cause chronic infections, especially in cystic fibrosis (CF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) patients. The ability to grow in biofilms enhances bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents and thus complicates treatment of these infections. In CF lungs, the Gram-negative rod Pseudomonas aeruginosa is frequently present. This opportunistic pathogen is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in CF patients. However, P. aeruginosa does not reside alone in the CF lung environment. Indeed, the CF lung microbiome consists of a wide variety of bacterial and fungal microorganisms.

It has been shown that different members of the microbiome can contribute to the virulence of pathogens like P. aeruginosa. On the other hand, interspecies interactions may also reduce virulence of these pathogens. When examining antimicrobial drug efficacy it is therefore becoming increasingly important to take on a polymicrobial perspective, since reciprocal interactions between members of the CF microbial community may have a significant effect on the outcome of various treatments.

We will be using highly differentiated lung tissue models to mimic physiological characteristics of the host tissue, and incorporate multiple members of the lung microbial community to improve translation of in vitro to in vivo results with regard to antimicrobial agent efficacy. Our approach will bring the host and different species of the CF microbiome together and will provide insights on how their interactions may influence drug efficacy.