Eve Beauchemin

McGill University
Ph.D. candidate

Supervisor: Corinne Maurice
Start: 2018-09-04
End: 2023-05-31


Characterization of the replicating and mucus-degrading gut bacteria in a mouse model of colitis
The bacteria that live in our guts are essential for our health. These microbes help us digest food, train our immune system, and prevent disease-causing bacteria from invading and making us sick. Though these bacteria are usually helpful, many studies have shown that there are different types of bacteria in healthy people and those with intestinal disease. However, it is still unclear how the gut bacterial population changes when someone develops intestinal disease, and how this may impact the severity of the disease. It is thus the goal of this project to answer this question by studying two aspects of bacterial activity as intestinal disease develops. Since we cannot know beforehand who will develop intestinal disease, we will use a mouse model that simulates this condition. We will look at two main bacterial activities as the mice develop intestinal disease. The first aspect we will study is bacterial replication. Changes in which bacteria are replicating, and how quickly they are growing, can influence how the whole gut bacterial community changes during disease. The second aspect we will study is the bacterial breakdown of intestinal mucus, which lines and protects the intestines from bacterial invasion. People with intestinal disease usually have thinner mucus layers, which let bacteria invade into the tissue, causing more inflammation. We want to see which gut bacteria are responsible for breaking down this mucus during disease, and if the increased release of nutrients from the mucus could contribute to more bacteria replicating during disease. This knowledge will help medical researchers develop therapies for intestinal disease which target its underlying causes, rather than only treating the symptoms.


Gut microbiota, DNA replication, Bacterial community, bacterial physiology, Mucus degradation, Colitis