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Dr Cedric Berger

Dr Cedric Berger

Senior Lecturer, Associate Theme Lead for Immunology, Infection and Inflammation

Ysgol y Biowyddorau

Email
bergerc3@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 4829
Campuses
Room W/2.03, Adeilad Syr Martin Evans, Rhodfa'r Amgueddfa, Caerdydd, CF10 3AX
Users
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The team is associated within the Microbiomes, Microbes and Informatics (MMI) group within the Cardiff School of Biosciences. We are studying the interaction between enteric pathogens and their hosts with a specific emphasis on Enterohemorrhagic (EHEC), Enteropathogenic (EPEC) Diffusely adherent Escherichia coli (DAEC) and Edwardsiella spp. Our research covers the biology, immunology and the prevention of enteric diseases.

My team has four thematic area:
1- Understand the epidemiology of diarrheal disease in UK and in countries with low income.
As most the people suffering from diarrhoea are self-medicating and do not report their symptoms to health professional, the true incidence of diarrheal diseases in UK is still poorly understood.

2- Explore the relation with enteric pathogen and the environment.
Diarrheal disease has been associated for long time with contaminated water with the main idea that if we give clean drinking water, the impact of diarrheal disease will decrease in countries with low income. However, this has been proven incorrect. In addition, the frequency of diarrheal disease in countries with high income is still very high with an average of one episode every year in average suggesting that other elements are transmitted the pathogens. The aim is to understand where the pathogens are coming from in the environment and to detect them.

3- Decipher the molecular mechanism of the virulence factor:
We are working on several host-bacterial pathogen systems combining a wide range of techniques and approaches from in vitro cell assays to in vivo models with the aim of understanding the molecular mechanism of bacterial virulence factors and identify their targets in the host. As infection may lead to abnormal responses associated with chronic inflammation (inflammatory bowel diseases) and colonic cancers, we are looking at the mechanism that leading to both conditions.

4- Investigate new way of treatment and prevention to decrease the impact of enteric infection.
The aim of this project is to develop a vaccine that could be used in children to prevent disease development or in animals to alter the colonization of EPEC and EHEC. We also investigation the relation between diarrhoea and zinc supplement.

My group is associated with Cardiff Research into Infection and Parasites in Ecological Systems (CRIPES) and with 
Water Research Institute.

You can also find our publication information on ResearchGate and a verified record of journal reviews on Publons. Please, do not hesitate to follow me on Twitter.

For almost 20 years I have been interested in bacterial infection and methods to prevent them. My PhD project at University Paris Sud at the faculty of Pharmacy in France focused on the interaction between Diffusely adherent Escherichia coli and the human epithelial cells. In 2006, I then moved to Imperial College London and developed my expertise on biomedical microbiology focusing on the human pathogens Enteropathogenic and Enterohemorrhagic E. coli and the mouse-restricted pathogen Citrobacter rodentium. In September 2018, I joined Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, as a Senior Lecturer, to carry on my work on pathogenic bacteria.

Aelodaethau proffesiynol

Member of The Microbiology Society and American Society for Microbiology

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I carry out a range of teaching from year 1 to final year undergraduate, and the supervision of final year and postgraduate MRes project students.

My current teaching includes contributions to:

  • BI1001: Skill for Science - Problem solving in Biology.  
  • BI1003: Organisms and Environment - An introduction to diarrheal diseases
  • BI2332: Concepts of Disease - a practical on outbreaks of infection and lectures on Cholera and Salmonellosis
  • BI3155: Infection biology and epidemiology - lectures on host responses to infection.

Research

We are working on several host-bacterial pathogen systems combining a wide range of techniques and approaches from in-vitro cell assays to in vivo models. The aim of my group is to understand the molecular mechanism of bacterial virulence factors and identify their targets in the host.

Modulation of immune response

Escherichia coli is the major constitute of the aerobic gut microbiota. However, acquisition of virulence determinant by horizontal gene transfer led to the evolution of pathogenic E. coli clones. Pathogenic strains are divided into ExPEC (causing extra intestinal infection) and diarrhoeal E. coli, which are sub-divided into six categories: diffusely adherent (DAEC), entero-toxigenic (ETEC), -aggregative (EAEC), -invasive (EIEC), -pathogenic (EPEC) and -haemorrhagic (EHEC). Although EPEC and EHEC exhibit differences in their host specificity, epidemiology, virulence and disease symptoms, they colonise the gut mucosa of their respective hosts via attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions. A/E lesions are characterised by effacement of the brush border microvilli and intimate bacterial attachment to the enterocyte membrane (Figure 2). The ability to induce A/E lesions and colonize their hosts depend on a type III secretion system (T3SS) that injects effectors into colonic intestinal epithelial cells (IECs). Once injected, the effectors subvert processes involved in innate immune responses, cellular metabolism, and oxygenation of the mucosa. We recently reported that one of these effectors modulates the recruitment of neutrophils during mouse model of EPEC infection (Citrobacter rodentium). We are now focusing on other effectors that may target key signalling pathways that lead to the expression of cytokines.

Disease prevention

Different vaccinations, composed of virulence factors, DNA-based, attenuated bacteria or bacterial ghost against EPEC and EHEC, have been trialled in animals with mixed success. Vaccination against Intimin decreases EPEC colonization in the rabbit model. Vaccination targeting EspA, Tir and Intimin alters EHEC colonization in cattle but did not completely inhibit it. This vaccination was one of the two commercially available against EHEC, EconicheTM, but its production has stopped. The main problems of all these vaccinations is the diversity of the target among EPEC and EHEC suggesting that a single approach will not work.

The aim of this project is to develop a vaccine that could be used in children to prevent disease development or in animals to alter the colonization of EPEC and EHEC using C. rodentium, a mouse specific pathogen, used to study EPEC and EHEC infection in vivo as it shares the same virulence factors.

Current members of the Research Group

Technical staff:

Gareth Thomas working on plant contamination by Listeria

Undergraduate research students:

Meer Dabagh – Final year project student working on plant contamination by Listeria

Megan Hughes – Final year project student working on plant contamination by Listeria

Owen Griffiths – Final year project student working on plant contamination by Listeria

Isabel Ellis – Final year project student working on developping a board game on host - pathogen interaction

Luke Morgan – Final year project student working on developping a board game on host - pathogen interaction

Jacob Woodcock – Final year project student working on developping a board game on host - pathogen interaction

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Teresa Paradell Gil

Research student