Gastrointestinal bacterial pathogens
Campylobacter, Helicobacter and Salmonella
Some of the most common gastrointestinal diseases in humans are caused by Campylobacter and Salmonella. These bacteria usually come to humans from other animals, most often from contaminated food items.
Although rarely causing deaths, the costs to society in terms of lost working days, healthcare costs, reduced productivity and human suffering, is enormous and make these pathogens and important topic to study.
In our research, we look at wild animals’ capability to serve as reservoirs for zoonotic bacteria and strive to get a deeper understanding on how host populations shape population genetics of the pathogen. We focus on wild birds and their carriage of Campylobacter, Salmonella and other bacteria, seeking to shed light on the distribution of bacteria among bird species and the ecology of host adaptations.
We also look at the epidemiological role of protozoan animals as vectors, or transient hosts, for bacteria. In particular, we are mapping the events leading to internalisation of Campylobacter in amoebae. We are currently investigating whether unicellular eucaryotes such as protozoan are important for the epidemiology of campylobacters and other pathogens by protecting bacterial cells from adverse environmental conditions, thereby prolonging their survival outside warm-blooded hosts.