Project Title
Reconstruction of polymicrobial interactions in infections: the case of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans cross talk in ventilator-associated pneumonia
Project Type
Internacional / Private
Funding Body
Funding Program
ESCMID Research Grants 2014
  • CEB: 5 000,00
  • Total: 20 000,00
School of Computer Engineering, University of Vigo (Spain), Centre of Biological Engineering, University of Minho (Portugal), Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Ghent University (Belgium), Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto (Portugal)
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Principal Investigator

Team Members - CEB


Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is one of the most frequent hospital-acquired infections occurring in mechanically ventilated patients, with 20–70% crude mortality and 10–40% estimated attributable mortality.The principal determinant of VAP development is the presence of the endotracheal tube, which enables the leakage of contaminated oropharyngeal secretions down to the lungs, and is vulnerable to colonisation by biofilm producing bacteria. The emergence and dissemination of antibiotic resistance traits in causal agents of this infection and the co-infection by multiple agents reduce treatment options, and are often associated with clinical deterioration and death. Novel research on VAP therapeutics is looking into quorum-sensing (QS) systems, i.e.drugs targeting the diffusible signals responsible for the expression of virulence and resistance genes. Yet, species cross-talk in co-infection, also dependent on QS molecules, is still poorly studied. The main focus of this exploratory project is to produce the first ever reconstruction of the regulatory network modulating polymicrobial biofilms in infection. The proof of concept will address the reconstruction of the bacterial fungal cross-talk between Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans in VAP infections. As such, it will bring a relevant contribution to the study of interspecies and inter-domain interactions in respiratory infections, as it will enable: 1) gene expression profiling of two of its most common and pervasive pathogens; 2) understanding the role of QS signalling in interspecies communication; and, 3) in silico simulation of interspecies QS cross-talk.