Project Title

Developing a C. elegans Co-infection Model for Assessing Bacterial-Fungal Interactions

Authors' Affiliations

Dylan Foster, Department of Health Sciences, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. Gethein Andrew, Department of Health Sciences, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. Dr. Sean Fox, Department of Health Sciences, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.

Location

Ballroom

Start Date

4-12-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

4-12-2019 2:30 PM

Poster Number

22

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Health Sciences

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Sean Fox

Type

Poster: Competitive

Classification of First Author

Undergraduate Student

Project's Category

Microbiology

Abstract Text

The Candida genus is full of fungi that are subtle parts of the human microbiome, but they can cause complications if they overgrow within the body—specifically the mouth and throat, the genitalia, and the entire body through infection of the bloodstream. Candida species are a rising problem for many across the world, and this can be seen in the recent threat of Candida auris hospitalizing patients and being regularly resistant to anti-fungal medications. Beyond C. auris, Candida albicans is the most common Candida species that humans must combat because it causes the most infections in humans—mostly vaginal yeast infections. C. albicans does have natural competitors that can either inhibit its growth or kill it in general, and the competition that we took advantage of was with the Alcaligenes species. Alcaligenes faecalis and Alcaligenes viscolactis have been shown to at least inhibit C. albicans growth and maybe even kill the fungus. This rate of infection from C. albicans places it at the forefront of Candida research, and we attempted to further this research by utilizing both A. faecalis and A. viscolactis to create a co-infection model for Caenorhabditis elegans—a simple nematode lifeform. It is known that A. faecalis and A. viscolactis do not commonly adversely affect humans, so little research has been done concerning their clinical effects. We were looking to find a possible answer to C. albicans infections beyond antifungal drugs because we know that antibiotic resistance is on the rise. We performed liquid assays to test the survivability of C. elegans nematodes in various bacterial/fungal circumstances. We subjected batches of C. elegans to E. coli OP50 as a control, A. faecalis, A. viscolactis, C. albicans, A. faecalis and C. albicans, and A. viscolactis and C. albicans. This procedure was followed in order to determine the viability of using the Alcaligenes species to either help the C. elegans survive the infection or prevent them from getting infected at all. After following through with the project, we found that there was a noticeable increase in the survivability of C. elegans when subjected to both one of the Alcaligenes species and C. albicans as opposed to the C. albicans alone. The data, although early, shows the possibility of Alcaligenes species being used to combat C. albicans infections in lifeforms.

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Apr 12th, 9:00 AM Apr 12th, 2:30 PM

Developing a C. elegans Co-infection Model for Assessing Bacterial-Fungal Interactions

Ballroom

The Candida genus is full of fungi that are subtle parts of the human microbiome, but they can cause complications if they overgrow within the body—specifically the mouth and throat, the genitalia, and the entire body through infection of the bloodstream. Candida species are a rising problem for many across the world, and this can be seen in the recent threat of Candida auris hospitalizing patients and being regularly resistant to anti-fungal medications. Beyond C. auris, Candida albicans is the most common Candida species that humans must combat because it causes the most infections in humans—mostly vaginal yeast infections. C. albicans does have natural competitors that can either inhibit its growth or kill it in general, and the competition that we took advantage of was with the Alcaligenes species. Alcaligenes faecalis and Alcaligenes viscolactis have been shown to at least inhibit C. albicans growth and maybe even kill the fungus. This rate of infection from C. albicans places it at the forefront of Candida research, and we attempted to further this research by utilizing both A. faecalis and A. viscolactis to create a co-infection model for Caenorhabditis elegans—a simple nematode lifeform. It is known that A. faecalis and A. viscolactis do not commonly adversely affect humans, so little research has been done concerning their clinical effects. We were looking to find a possible answer to C. albicans infections beyond antifungal drugs because we know that antibiotic resistance is on the rise. We performed liquid assays to test the survivability of C. elegans nematodes in various bacterial/fungal circumstances. We subjected batches of C. elegans to E. coli OP50 as a control, A. faecalis, A. viscolactis, C. albicans, A. faecalis and C. albicans, and A. viscolactis and C. albicans. This procedure was followed in order to determine the viability of using the Alcaligenes species to either help the C. elegans survive the infection or prevent them from getting infected at all. After following through with the project, we found that there was a noticeable increase in the survivability of C. elegans when subjected to both one of the Alcaligenes species and C. albicans as opposed to the C. albicans alone. The data, although early, shows the possibility of Alcaligenes species being used to combat C. albicans infections in lifeforms.