Dr Alexandra Tikhomirova
Chronic forms of respiratory diseases including chronic otitis media (COM) have been attributed to the formation of a bacterial biofilm, often as a polymicrobial infection. Commonly, the pathogens identified in these chronic diseases are the bacterial species Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Moraxella catarrhalis. There is very little known about the molecular interactions between these species that enable cohabitation and their transit to the middle ear or the lungs, their persistence in this multispecies environment or the nature of their multispecies biofilm. Knowledge of these molecular factors is essential to identifying potential pathogenic strains and subsequently targets for the development of novel therapies.
This project aims to characterize the transcriptome of the bacterial communities isolated from the nasopharynx and the middle ear in children with chronic otitis media, and the nasopharynx of children without otitis media symptoms, in order to identify the molecular factors involved in health and disease processes. In addition, the transcriptome of single-dual and triple-species communities harbouring H. influenzae, S. pneumoniae and M. catarrhalis will be characterized, both during growth in standard batch culture conditions, and after prolonged growth in a continuous growth flow cell system, as would occur during chronic disease progression.