There is a fascinating competition between microbes and humans: they are lucky to have a short generation time, but I hope we are smarter and stay one step ahead
Our research focuses on two main themes:
- Antimicrobial and anthelmintic resistance
- Studies on zoonotic pathogens
We investigate antimicrobial and anthelmintic resistance in field studies using phenotypic and molecular tools (e.g. next generation sequencing of bacteria and parasites and metagenomics of complex matrices). Parallel to the molecular epidemiology, we study mechanisms of development of resistance to antimicrobials. Additionally, we perform research on behavioural aspects of veterinarians, farmers and pet owners regarding the use of antimicrobials as improper use of antimicrobials will lead to the development of antimicrobial resistance.
Based on the knowledge of mechanisms leading to selection and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance and critical behavioural aspects of users of antimicrobials, we develop and implement specific intervention strategies. The aim is to control the emergence of antimicrobial resistance that originates from the animal population. The zoonotic pathogens of interest within our research group are Toxocara spp., Giardia, Campylobacter spp., Staphylococci , Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. Research on these zoonotic pathogens is focused on host-microbe interactions, genetic diversity, identifying risk factors for infection and improvement of diagnostic tools.
Infections caused by resistant bacteria can result in antimicrobial treatment failure and increased health expenditures in livestock, companion animals and humans. Resistant E. coli, Salmonella and other Enterobacteriaceae have been isolated from humans as well as from livestock, animal meat products, companion animals, and vegetables. Read more
Anthelmintic resistance is ubiquitous in parasites of horses and sheep. It also exists to a lesser extent in parasites of other animal species. We study the mechanisms of resistance against certain anthelmintic drugs, prevalence of anthelmintic resistance in the field, and alternative parasite control strategies to circumvent anthelmintic resistance. Read more
As antimicrobial resistance is not an issue limited to country borders, an international approach to halt the emergence of antimicrobial resistance is of utmost importance. Read more
Campylobacter fetus is primary a veterinary pathogen that is occasionally involved in severe human infections. We study the epidemiology of C. fetus subspecies and their virulence. Read more
WHO Collaborating Centre for Campylobacter
The Department Infectious Diseases and Immunology is designated by the World Health Organization as WHO Collaborating Centre (CC) for Reference and Research on Campylobacter. The main objective is to provide technical assistance to enable Member States to control risk and reduce the burden of Campylobacter diseases. Read more