Interactions between Cryptosporidium parvum and the Intestinal Ecosystem

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Cryptosporidium parvum is an apicomplexan protozoan parasite commonly causing diarrhea, particularly in infants in developing countries. The research challenges faced in the development of therapies against Cryptosporidium slow down the process of drug discovery. However, advancement of knowledge towards the interactions of the intestinal ecosystem and the parasite could provide alternative approaches to tackle the disease. Under this perspective, the primary focus of this work was to study interactions between Cryptosporidium parvum and the intestinal ecosystem in a mouse model. Mice were treated with antibiotics with different activity spectra and the resulted perturbation of the native gut microbiota was identified by microbiome studies. In particular, 16S amplicon sequencing and Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) were used to determine the bacterial composition and the genetic repertoire of the fecal microbial communities in the mouse gut. Following alteration of the microbial communities of mice by application of antibiotic treatment, Cryptosporidium parasites were propagated in mice with perturbed microbiota and the severity of the infection was quantified. This approach enabled the prediction of the functional capacity of the microbial communities in the mouse gut and led to the identification of bacterial taxa that positively or negatively correlate in abundance with Cryptosporidium proliferation.
Date of AwardApr 2017
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorArnab Pain (Supervisor)


  • Cryptosporidium
  • microbiota
  • dysbiosis

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