Winner: Evan Chrisler, BS, Graduate Research Assistant, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Co-Culture Champion

Gut Microbiome Interactions: Insights for Optimal Probiotic Use

Evan is studying bacterial interactions in the gastrointestinal community, focusing on Lactobacillus community members in the laboratory of Dr. Vanessa Leone. His primary goal is to understand how gut communities form in relation to each other and in response to daily body rhythms. He will use Cerillo’s Co-Culture Duet System to research how these interactions are influenced by factors like circadian rhythms, offering guidance on when and how to use probiotics for better gut health.

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How he will use Cerillo's Co-Culture Research Platform

We will utilize a co-culture system to determine the bacterial interactions present in the gastrointestinal community and how these interactions generate a gastrointestinal niche for certain community members. The bacterial interactions we have particular interest in is with Lactobacillaceae strains. Lactobacillaceae is a key member of the gastrointestinal community and interacts with many host factors. Through some of our research, we have identified strain to strain differences that benefit in the entire community. These are proteolytic genes that break down AMPs in the gut.

Our primary objective of this research is to determine how gastrointestinal communities develop with relation to each other and circadian host factors for the benefit of probiotic development. Currently, our key metrics are quantification through strain specific qPCR, metabolite usage through HPLC, and growth characterization through the Biolog system. We would like to utilize this platform over 48 hours to mimic what we have seen in vivo for our AMP proteolysis. The outcomes we hope to achieve would be determination of proteolytic differences between strains, beneficial and detrimental interactions, and community development. I believe our experiments would benefit the co-culture system due to the necessity to look at these interactions anaerobically, in multiple different medias, and with additional compound supplementation during co-culture growth. We have already used the stratus through cerillo and would love to continuously support cerillo with testing their new products.

To summarize, we know very little about how strain to strain interactions impact the gastrointestinal community and how these interactions are controlled by host factors, like those attributed to circadian rhythms in the gut. Utilizing co-culturing techniques, we can help to determine why our gastrointestinal communities are shaped like they are through strain-strain and host-strain interactions. Circadian rhythms impact gastrointestinal function and the communities present, by looking specifically at these interactions, we can determine when probiotics should be taken, how they should be taken, and what types.

I believe Cerillo’s co-culture system would address the massive problem of adversity towards doing co-culture experiments. Often individuals shy away from looking at these interactions due to the inaccessibility of large scale culture projects (many tubes, medias, strains, etc.). Additionally, I believe the system can help determine the unseen interactions present when we introduce new “probiotic” or pathogenic organisms into a host system.