Title of the project: Micro-technologies to study bacterial quorum sensing in a microbiome gut-on-chip.
Supervisors and Host instititudion: Dr. Mar Álvarez and Prof. Rosa Villa at the Institute of Microelectroncs of Barcelona (IMB-CNM-CSIC)
As a living community bacteria interact with each other when exposed to the external microenvironment in a process called quorum sensing. Based on cell-to-cell sensing mechanisms, bacterial communities such as the intestinal flora shape their collective behaviours. The gut microbiota is a complex group of commensal bacteria that reside in the human intestine involved in both healthy and pathological conditions. By combining microfluidics and cell co-culture, organ-on-chips have become a promising alternative to recreate tissue models in vitro. In the case of intestinal models, gut-on-chips have succesfully recapitulated key functions of epithelial barriers and other cellular compartments. The main goal of my project is to develop a new organ-on-chip model that enables the study of host-microbiome interactions an the characterization of bacterial quorum sensing communication employing novel microtecnologies.
Born in Spain, I completed my undergraduate studies in France, at the engineering school Grenoble INP, where I was able to specialize in biomedical engineering. During these years, I decided to orientate my professional career towards research roles where I could contribute to relevant breakthroughs in the medical field. My internships in both academic institutions and industry provided me with a wider view on different working environments. They also allowed me to improve my soft skills in scientific communication, critical thinking and efficient time management. As short-term goals in my career, I would like to develop new innovative ways to study intestinal tissues in vitro. In the long term, I would be interested in acquiring a strong background in the biomedical and microfabrication field, and in further improving my engineering skills, especially in programming. Moreover, working in an industrial company would be interesting for me to apply my knowledge in real-world applications with potential benefits for public health and patients.