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Microbiome mediation of intestinal pathogen virulence through dietary aromatic compound metabolism

The human intestine routinely encounters threatening bacteria that cause disease and death. These bacteria use strategies known as virulence mechanisms to infect and interfere with the normal function of cells, leading to disease. Recent studies have shown that these virulence mechanisms may be affected by signals coming from the very large community of microbes that inhabit the gut (the gut microbiome). Previous studies have shown that small compounds produced by non-harmful bacterial strains from the gut microbiome, collectively known as microbiome-produced small aromatic metabolites (MPSAM), can reduce the virulence of salmonella.

The goal of this project is to expand from these findings to investigate how MPSAM and other similar compounds alter virulence mechanisms of harmful bacteria. The project also seeks to determine how the intestinal cells and immune cells respond to MPSAM and identify gut microbiome species that can limit these bacterial infections through the production of these compounds. Results from this research will expand our knowledge on how bacterial metabolites affect infectious agents, with great potential to identify small compounds and bacterial species that will reduce infectious disease.

This project was selected for funding through the fifth research competition of the Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program. This initiative is a partnership between IDRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Israel Science Foundation, and the Azrieli Foundation.

Project ID
Project Status
36 months
IDRC Officer
Fabiano Santos
Total Funding
CA$ 670,200.00
Middle East
Global Health
Canada-Israel Health Research Program
Institution Country
Project Leader
Marie-Claire Mendez
The Governors of The University of Calgary