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For Women in Science Prizes Awarded 1

Marjon de Vos

L'Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science Fellow

Project title

Urinary tract infections – through the eco-evolutionary looking glass

Project description

Annually, several hundred million persons (mainly women) suffer from a urinary tract infection. In the case of UTI, it has long gone unnoticed that multiple microbial species may play a role in the development of disease.
Yet, the instant, ecological, interactions between microbes can alter the severity of infections and complicate antibiotic treatments. Additionally, microbial interactions can shape the evolutionary potential of pathogens in the long run. It is my purpose to close this knowledge gap by studying the ecology and evolution of UTIs from an Evolutionary Medicine perspective, in which I aim to overcome the fundamental-clinical divide.
Fundamental knowledge on the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases can increase our understanding of the emergence of pathogens, and promote the development of novel interventions and treatment options, which are crucially needed because of the impending rise of antibiotic resistance.

Key aims of the project: 1) Organize an international Lorentz workshop on Microbial Evolutionary Medicine, with a focus on selective pressures due to social dynamics, from a microbe and host perspective. 2) Think and write: finish three research papers, 3) Think and write: further develop future research vision

Selected publications

De Vos MGJ, de Visser JAGM, Rossen JWA, Zwaan BJ. Polymicrobial infections: ecosystems with special properties. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2018;162:D2224.

De Vos MGJ, Zagorski M, McNally A, Bollenbach T. Interaction networks, ecological stability, and collective antibiotic tolerance in polymicrobial infections. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2017;114(40):10666–10671.

Zandbergen LE, Halverson T, Brons JK, Wolfe AJ, De Vos MGJ. The good and the bad: Ecological interaction measurements between the urinary microbiota and uropathogens. Front Microbiol. 2021;12:1026.