Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Social spiders’ nest microbiome as a potential source of novel antibiotics

PhD defence, Friday 26 February 2021. Seven Nazipi.

2021.02.26 | Sunitha Satkunam

Seven Nazipi

In situ cultivation with the modified ichip in a Stegodyphus dumicola nest from Otavi, Namibia. The modified ichip is connected to a water reservoir via a tube ensuring that the agar containing the bacteria is kept hydrated. Naturally occurring volatile organic compounds found in the nest can be used by the bacteria as a growth medium.

During her PhD studies, Seven Nazipi researched the microbiomes of social spider (Stegodyphus dumicola) nests. Social spiders are nest-building and highly inbred animals that live together in dense aggregations, rendering them vulnerable to pathogen attack. However, nests can persist over generations and are found widely distributed across Southern and Central Africa. It is hypothesized that antimicrobial-producing bacteria residing in the nest provide a defensive barrier against pathogens. Therefore, the nest microbiome serves as an unexplored and potentially rich source of novel antibiotics. To explore this, Seven Nazipi developed and modified a specialized cultivation device, the isolation chip (ichip) for in situ cultivation inside spider nests, and investigated the obtained bacterial isolates for their antimicrobial potential.

This PhD study unraveled the microbial communities of Stegodyphus dumicola nests and revealed that the nest microbiome is a great source of potentially novel antibiotics. 

The PhD study was completed at Department of Biology - Microbiology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Aarhus University.

This summary was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Friday 26 February 2021 at 13:00
Place: The PhD defence will be held online. To receive a link to the event, please send an e-mail to bente.lomstein@bio.au.dk 
Title of PhD thesis: The secondary metabolite potential of social spider nest microbiomes.
Contact information: Seven Nazipi, e-mail: Seven90@bio.au.dk, tel.: +45 42612391
Members of the assessment committee:
Professor Michael Poulsen, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Professor Nadine Ziemert, German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF), Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine, Institute for Bioinformatics and Medical Informatics, University of Tübingen, Germany
Professor Bente Aagaard Lomstein (chairman), Department of Biology, Aarhus University, Denmark
Main supervisor:
Professor Andreas Schramm, Department of Biology - Microbiology, Aarhus University, Denmark
Co-supervisor:
Associate Professor Marie Braad Lund, Department of Biology - Microbiology, Aarhus University, Denmark
Professor Lone Gram, Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
Professor Michael Lalk, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Greifswald, Germany
Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defence is public.

Due to the coronavirus situation, the PhD thesis will not be available for reading at the offices of the PhD administration. Instead, interested parties may send an e-mail to gradschool.nat@au.dk to receive a digital copy of the PhD thesis. Please note, it may in certain cases be necessary to make an individual arrangement to read the PhD thesis

PhD defence
16882 / i43