CASUS Institute Seminar, Maciej Wernecki PhD candidate, research and teaching assistant, University of Wrocław, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Department of Microbiology

Abstract of the talk//Understanding how microbial infections work is a crucial aspect of immunology and microbiology, especially in the post-antibiotic era. While immune response processes are highly complex and therefore cannot be studied exclusively through in vitro experiments, animal experiments are often considered a viable alternative to gain insight into these mechanisms. However, our aim is to minimise the use of animals for ethical and economic reasons.

An intermediate solution is to use invertebrates as model organisms because their immune mechanisms are closely related to what we call innate immunity in vertebrates. In controlled laboratory experiments, we can infect organisms such as Galleria mellonella larvae and study the resulting processes. The simplest method is to monitor survival rates over time. This allows us to compare the ability of the microorganisms to overcome the host’s defences and whether a drug applied to larvae can reduce infection mortality.

Our current efforts are focused on improving this visual assessment method by integrating time-lapse imaging into these experiments and using convolutional neural network algorithms to analyse our data sets. This will allow us to describe the progression of infection using factors such as the motility of the organisms. Our aim is to develop a protocol that will yield significantly more data than traditional experiments and ultimately reduce the number of organisms required for studies.

Maciej Wernecki will be talking live in Görlitz. However, as the event is organized in a hybrid format that includes a videoconferencing tool by Zoom Inc., people interested in the topic have the chance to also join the talk remotely. Please ask for the login details via