Dr. K. (Karin) Strijbis

Dr. K. (Karin) Strijbis

Associate Professor
infection biology
+31 30 253 4755

"How do we live with trillions of intestinal bacteria without getting sick? The answer lies in defense mechanisms of the mucus layer"


Impact of bacteria-mucin interactions at mucosal surfaces

Commensal and pathogenic bacteria interact with the host at mucosal surfaces, which are the interface between the host and the outside world. The mucus layer is a complex defense system that consists of secreted mucins, defense proteins and transmembrane mucins. Transmembrane mucins such as MUC1, MUC3, MUC4, MUC13 and MUC17 are expressed on the apical surface of epithelial cells and contain a large glycosylated extracellular domain and a cytoplasmic tail with signaling capacity. Important processes such as immune responses, proliferation and apoptosis, cellular migration, wound healing and epithelial barrier function are regulated by transmembrane mucins. Transmembrane mucins are also highly overexpressed in different adenocarcinomas (e.g. colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer). In my group, we are investigating how commensal and pathogenic bacteria interact with the mucosal surface of the intestine, respiratory tract and vagina. The goal of our research is to uncover the molecular mechanisms of bacteria-mucin interactions and their impact on health and disease.

Focus areas

  • Pathogenic and commensal bacteria (Salmonella enterica, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Prevotella species, Mannheimia haemolytica, Campylobacter jejuni, EHEC, Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, etc)
  • Changes in the mucus layer during inflammatory bowel disease
  • The functions of mucins and bacteria-induced inflammation during carcinogenesis
  • Advanced primary intestinal, respiratory and vaginal infection models

Bacteria-mucin interactions in the intestinal tract