Transcriptional recording sentinel cells as living diagnostics of the human gastrointestinal tract

Principal Investigator
Dr. Jakob Zimmermann, Gastroenterology and Mucosal Immunology Research Group, Department for Biomedical Research, University of Bern. For more information, please visit the website.

Sentinel bacteria are incubated with intestinal contents of stoma patients ex vivo. Their adaptation is analysed by next-generation sequencing to identify differences between the gut environment in Crohn’s disease patients versus healthy controls. (Figure made with BioRender)

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disorder that may affect any segment of the intestinal tract. Diagnosis and treatment could be improved through biomarkers from affected areas but these are poorly accessible. As intestinal bacteria react quickly to environmental changes, they may be used as sentinels reporting on the intestinal milieu. For this, specialized sentinel bacteria have been engineered that report on changes in the gut environment. In this pilot project, we aim to lay the foundation for using sentinel bacteria as a novel precision medicine approach in Crohn’s disease diagnosis.