Assistant Professor Klas I Udekwu
PhD in Microbiology
|Research fields: Infection biology Novel tools
Research Interests and accomplishments
Based in the Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center, we employ macro-, and microfluidic based approaches to study antimicrobial pharmacodynamics and resistance development as well as mixed microbial consortia interactions with focus centering on two broadly defined topics, intermicrobial and host : bacteria interactions in infection and development. The essential role of bacteria in vertebrate neurological development as well as immunity is only now becoming clear. As such we are highly interested in mutualism and competition between microbes in vertebrate hosts in a number of different settings. Up until recently, the sequencing and identification of species in ecological settings has done little more than gene-cataloguing. To take this further, we are on the forefront of functional studies exploring the community-level interactions crucial for both population structure and a hypothetical ‘healthy host microbiome’ state.
Designing microcosms for studies of cooperativity in polymicrobial communities relevant to infection
The high resolution study of interacting species of bacteria is facilitated by fluorescence microscopy of mixed communities. Using fluorescence modules, we can ‘tag’ different species of bacteria and monitor changes in each specie’s population levels in relation to one another. In collaboration with the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrated Biosystems Research and Education (VIIBRE), we are designing, simulating mathematically and testing microfluidic devices for functional studies of interacting microbes. Our primary questions of study are the rates of population replacement, succession and invasion of established communities by pathogenic species.
Rational design of antibiotics and treatment regimen to inhibit selection for genetic resistance and suppress the effects of physiological or non-inherited resistance.
To combat the arisal and maintenance of antibiotic resistance in a failing ‘war on resistance’, two promising options available are improved treatment regimen and tailor-made antibiotics. Combining mathematical modeling of antimicrobial pharmacodynamics with in vitro experiments, we try to predict both better treatment regimen as well as consider the development of antibiotic resistance in treated populations. We are engaged in several collaborative efforts with focus on antibiotic targetting as well as improving the pharmacokinetics of primarily off-patent antibiotics.