Picture of Elena

Reciepient of the Bollan stipend 2022


Elena Layunta Hernández, post doc at the Institute of Biomedicine, was one of the reciepients of the Bollan stipend 2022. Here she tells us more about what it meant for her project.  

From a research quality point of view, did you get any value using Core Facilities? Could you give an example?
”The Core Facilities allowed me to use advanced methodologies to address research question in my project. My project is heavily dependent of unique mouse models deficient in membrane mucin-mediated defenses that we have developed in the Pelaseyed Lab. EBM and its helpful staff maintain our mouse models, that we have analyzed extensively with the help of imaging provided by CCI. In addition, the Bioinformatics core facility support us to discover how lack of membrane mucins in the intestine and breast milk impact the gut. The support from the core facilities has been very important.”

When it comes to learning and education, have you had the chance to learn new things of value for your research field while in contact with Core Facilities?
”Sure! I had the chance to improve the quality of the animal experimentation at EBM since EBM technicians helped me with every question I had. Moreover, I learnt how to process samples for electron microscopy at the CCI. The support has been very valuable from my development.”

How do you experience the workflow when working with the different units, could you shortly describe the process?
My project aims to resolve the function of the membrane mucins in epithelial cell defenses against intestinal bacteria. We generated a mouse model that has been housed at the EBM. I have performed time-sensitive functional assays in closedialogue with the staff at EBM. In paralell, we
used received help from CCI and Bioinformatics to analyze our mouse model. In my experience, the work flow and communication with the facilities has been very smooth.

What kind of improvements or development would you suggest for future research support at Core Facilities?
I think the core facilities would benefit from better showcasing their services for junior scientist at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

Could you tell us in short about one or two main highlights of your research project during 2022 or coming year?
Membrane mucins are ubiquitously expressed at epithelial cells surfaces of the small intestine, where they form a dense glycocalyx barrier. We discovered that Crohn’s disease (CD) patients, suffering from chronic inflammation of the terminal small intestine, exhibit lower membrane mucin expression and a weakened glycocalyx that allows intestinal bacteria to make frequent challenge the epithelium. To better understand if membrane mucin dysfunction contributes to CD etiology, we developed a glycocalyxdeficient (Muc17-/-) knockout mouse. Our results
reveal that Muc17-/- mice are highly susceptible to small intestinal infections and develop spontaneous inflammation. We also showed that the glycocalyx regulates the composition of the gut microbiota. Collectively, we believe that the Muc17-/- mouse is the first pre-clinical model for elucidating the molecular defects that result in Crohn’s disease.

The Elisabet "Bollan" Lindén Stipend

The scholarship is announced to young researchers working at the Sahlgrenska Academy and should be used for work performed at the platforms within Core Facilities. This means that you have the chance to acquire knowledge and utilize the techniques and services that are available at Core Facilities. In your application you can choose to use several of our facilities.