Mr TAY Wei Hong
Research Assistant

Supervisors: Asst. Prof. Kimberly Kline, Asst. Prof. Swaine Chen and Dr John Common.

Project Title: Investigation of Enterococci biofilm formation on eukaryotic cells

Enterococci are the second most commonly isolated organism from catheter-associated infections of the bloodstream and urinary tract, and from skin and soft-tissue infections in a hospital setting. Investigations into this biofilm infection paradigm using a murine urinary tract infection (UTI) model have demonstrated that polymicrobial UTI infections involving Enterococci and uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) are inherently more resistant to antimicrobial treatment and also exhibit increased pathogenicity. However, these studies have failed to elucidate the exact mechanism behind this phenomenon. In addition, most of these Enterococcal biofilm studies are heavily focused on catheter-associated infections of the bloodstream and urinary tract, using abiotic substrata, and not on skin or soft-tissue infections.
To address these shortcomings, Wei Hong aims to develop an in vitro cell culture model for Enterococcal biofilm growth. This model will enable the study of the interactions between Enterococci and various human cell types - endothelial cells, keratinocytes and fibroblasts- and allow a mirroring of actual infection sites. The in vitro model will also enable the dissection of the molecular pathways that underlie this host-pathogen interaction.


Keogh D, Tay WH, Ho YY, Dale JL, Chen S, Umashankar S, Williams RB, Chen SL, Dunny GM, Kline KA. Enterococcal Metabolite Cues Facilitate Interspecies Niche Modulation and Polymicrobial Infection. Cell Host Microbe. 2016 Oct 12;20(4):493-503. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2016.09.004.

Tay WH, Chong KK, Kline KA. Polymicrobial-Host Interactions during Infection. J Mol Biol. 2016 Aug 28;428(17):3355-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2016.05.006. Epub 2016 May 8.


Tay WH, Keogh D, Chen S, and Kline KA. Dynamic profiles of iron acquisition systems in uropathogenic Escherichia coli influenced by Enterococcus faecalis via community mediated interactions. TLL International Conference on Next Generation Genomic View on Plant, Animals and Microbes, Singapore (NUS), 2014.