UNIVERSITAT AUTONOMA DE BARCELONA (UAB)
The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona is one of the major public Universities of Spain (www.uab.cat). The Molecular Microbiology Group (MolMicroG) of this University is a consolidated research group with a trajectory of more than 35 years. Its research is focussed on phage biotechnological uses, the search of bacterial targets for new antimicrobials development and, the investigation of bacterial high-affinity iron uptake systems as targets for immunotherapy. Researchers of the PhagoVet project, led by Dr. M. Llagostera, have a wide experience in bacteriophage molecular studies, with an international patent about Salmonella bacteriophages. In the project, the MolMicroG is in charge of the Work Package 1 for the Optimization of PhagoVet products against Escherichia coli and Salmonella sp.
Montserrat Llagostera, PhD
M. Llagostera has a B.Sc. (1976, UAB), and a Ph.D. (1983, UAB) in Biological Sciences. She was Director of the Biological Laboratory Hoechst Ibérica, S.A., Spain (1976-1981), and Assistant teacher (1981-1986), Auxiliary Associate Professor (1986-1987), Associate Professor (1987-2009) and Professor of Microbiology (2009-until now) of Microbiology at the UAB. She has held some relevant responsibilities at the UAB: Coordinator of the Unit of Microbiology (1992-95, 1996-98, and 2001-03), Coordinator of the doctorate of Biotechnology (1999-2007), Coordinator of the master of Advanced Biotechnology (2006-07), Member of the Biosafety Committee of the UAB (2006- until now), Member of the Governing Council (2007-09), Director of the Department of Genetics and Microbiology (2007-09, and 2013-2015) and Coordinator of the Microbiology degree (2010-2012). Besides she is member of the Directive Board of the Spanish Society of Microbiology and President of the Group “Education and Communication of the Microbiology” of this Society (2010-presently). She is also member of the Spanish Commission for evaluation of Associated Professor (ANECA, Spain) from 2013 until now, and of the Commission for Bioscience Research Evaluation of the Quality Agency of the Catalan University System from 2012 until now (AQU) and president of this Commission from 2015 until now. She is evaluator of national and international agencies for funding projects, and for several international journals from 1990 until now.
She has an experience of 33 years in teaching and research, and she has led and participated in the following lines of research:
i) DNA repair and mutagenesis in bacteria: Identification of DNA binding regions of the LexA regulator in different bacterial phyla, which have enabled trace the possible evolution of this sequence along the Bacteria domain. The study of the mutagenesis mechanisms due to different chemicals, such as quinolones, capable of inducing mutations in bacterial cells and their involvement in the emergence of resistance to antimicrobial agents.
ii) Virulence factors and design of vaccine strains. The study of the systems involved in uptake of divalent cations, such as Fe2+ and Zn2+, in animal pathogens as Pasteurella multocida, Haemophilus parasuis and Streptococcus suis. Based on these studies, construction of bacterial strains which confer protection to infection caused by these pathogens.
Iii) Relationship between the RecA protein and the bacterial swarming. We have shown that this motility is modulated by the interaction between CheW and RecA proteins in the bacterial pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. The possible residues involved in that interaction have been identified. This modulation occurs as a result of changes in the cluster of bacterial chemoreceptors and this occurs in both the swarming and swimming motilities. The phenomenon can be involved in bacterial pathogenesis.
iv) Biotechnological applications of bacteriophages. Search of safe bacteriophages against Salmonella to be used in bacteriophage therapy and in food. Studies about molecular and genomic characterization of bacteriophages, characterization of their biological cycle, determination of their effectiveness in a poultry model, developed by us, and in food have been performed. In addition, the possible emergence of bacterial resistance to bacteriophages in in vitro and in vivo assays has also been done. Finally, methodologies of encapsulation of bacteriophages have been developed to improve their effectiveness. This last work has been performed in collaboration with the NanoUp Supramolecular NanoChemistry & Materials group of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (Spain).
This extensive research work has been conducted within 31 competitive research projects with public funding (14 of them as principal investigator) and 4 competitive EU-funded projects, being the general coordinator of one of them. It has also been part of 4 public national networks and participated in 29 agreements / contracts with private companies, being responsible for 21 of them. The detailed research work is summarized in the publication of 91 manuscripts in scientific journals indexed in JCR principally in the areas of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases, Biotechnology, Applied Microbiology, Veterinary Sciences, and Toxicology. She has supervised 8 PhD in the last 10 years. She is inventor of one patent based on the development of a cocktail of bacteriophages of Salmonella.
M. Pilar Cortés, PhD.
ORCID 0000-0002-5924-0653; ResearcherID E-4390-2010
M. Pilar Cortés has a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences (University of Navarra, Spain), a Master in Microbiology (UAB; Spain) and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences (UAB; Spain). During her predoctoral training, she participated in different research projects in the field of Clinical Microbiology related to: i) the pathogenesis of pulmonary infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa in patients on mechanical ventilation; ii) the development and application of techniques of molecular biology for the epidemiological study of various infectious diseases caused by bacteria and parasites; and iii) the study of the mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria.
Subsequently, since joining to the group of Molecular Microbiology of the UAB at the end of 2001, she has participated in different research projects focussed on:
i) Characterization of the expression of genes and regulon linked to DNA repair systems and mutagenesis caused by different antimicrobials in bacteria
ii) Study of the molecular mechanisms involved in the generation and dissemination of resistance to antibacterial ; iii) Characterization of the iron uptake systems in Streptococcus suis and its use in vaccine design.
iv) Study of the involvement of the SOS repair system in the population movement and chemotaxis of Salmonella spp v) Mechanisms of acquisition of antimicrobial resistance of nosocomial pathogens such as Acinetobacter baumannii.
Moreover, in the last 10 years, she has participated as researcher collaborating in projects aimed at finding innovative tools for the biocontrol of pathogens, such as bacteriophages, and their biotechnological applications in oral phage therapy and biocontrol Salmonella in food. These investigations have resulted in her participation as inventor in one patent based on the development of a cocktail of bacteriophages.
The detailed research work is summarized in the publication of 48 manuscripts in scientific journals indexed in JCR principally in the areas of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases, Biotechnology, Applied Microbiology and, Veterinary Sciences. Moreover, she has participated as researcher collaborator in 8 research projects under public competition, 4 concessions for Consolidated Research Groups by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Spain), and four research networks of public and/or private funding. In addition, she has participated as researcher in 22 research contracts with national and international companies of pharmacy and food sectors. She has supervised 5 PhD in the last 10 years.
Margarita Arboix, PhD
Full Professor of Pharmacology in Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament de Farmacologia, Terapèutica i Toxicologia. Facultat de Veterinària. University Degree: Biological Sciences (UB, 1973), PhD: Biological Sciences (UAB, 1980). Diplomat: Pharmacology (UB, 1979). Diplomat: Veterinary Pharmacology (European College of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology, 1999). Member of the Spanish Committee of Veterinary Drug Evaluation (AEMPS) (1999-2005). Member of the European Committee of Veterinary Medicinal Products (CVMP/EMA) (1999- 2006). Chairmen of the CVMP group of Antimicrobial Resistances (2002-2005). Member of the European Panel FEEDAP (EFSA) (2003-2007). Member of the Scientific Committee of the AESAN (2003-2007). Expert of the Spanish Plan for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation Projects (1998-2016) (ANEP). Member of the Commission for Evaluation of the Professor Accreditation in the Area of Medicine and Health Sciences (Agència per la Qualitat dels Sistema Universitari Català, 2016)(AQU).
Relevant positions: General Director of Agricultural and Farming Resources. Ministry of Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs (2010-2012). Director of Public Health Services in the area of Barcelona Region (2005-2010). Head of Veterinary Medicinal Products Unit, Spanish Agency of Medicinal Products (2000-2005).
Research experience: Kinetics (absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion) and residues of medicinal products in food animals. Toxicokinetics, developmental toxicity and embryo-toxic effects of different chemical products and metabolites. Studies of maximum residue levels and withdrawal periods. PK/PD studies with antimicrobial drugs in farming animals. Most of the research experience has focused on food-producing animals and the clinical use of medicines for their most frequent pathologies. Basic experience in antimicrobial drugs studies in food animals
Risk Assessment: Dossiers of Medicinal products and feed additives (kinetic and safety part assessment): safety evaluation for the human consumer (toxicology, MRL and Withdrawal Periods); environmental risk assessment; kinetic studies on livestock target species and experimental animals (Expertise in CVMP, CODEM-VET and FEEDAP). Dossiers in relation with other products used in food production (additives, preservatives, colorants) (Participation in Scientific Committee of Spanish Food Safety Agency).
Management: Risk assessment, risk management and risk communication and information with particular attention to the specific control programmes of the quality/safety of the production and handling of food and feed. During this period, I have taken over management of outbreaks in humans with different origins (food-borne, environmental, A influenza, the last European/ German E. coli) and animal diseases that may or may not be zoonoses (salmonellosis, bluetongue, avian influenza, dioxins in the feed). I have also assumed the management of the feed part of the “Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed” in Spain.