I am interested in understanding the mechanisms of bacterial infection and phage therapy inside the mammalian cell environment. The interest in phage therapy has grown increasingly over the past decade, due to the emerging problem of antibiotic resistance in many bacterial pathogens. A major challenge to patient safety is the hospital infections due to gram-negative bacteria resistant to antibiotics. One of the possible solutions to this problem is the use of bacteriophages as antimicrobial agents. Bacteriophages are safe for humans and present high specificity to their bacterial target, while having minimal side effects. However, there are still concerns for phage therapy, over the potential for immune responses, rapid toxin release by the lytic action of phages and difficulty of dose determination in clinical situations. Additionally, there is little knowledge of the cell biology behind phage therapy due to the challenges in the field, and that is an obstacle in the rapid progress of phage therapy.
My aim is to investigate the cell biological mechanisms behind bacterial infection and phage therapy and to optimize phages to be safe for phage therapy. To do that, I plan to establish an in vitro novel model system for phage therapy in mammalian cells. This system, with proper validation, can be used for further in vivo studies, as a promising proof of concept for safe phage therapy, which can treat various human infections.
The main objectives of my research are the following:
- To engineer optimized, fluorescent phages, specifically targeting the pathogen of interest.
- To understand the cell biology aspects of bacterial infection and phage therapy in a mammalian cell environment.
- To expand this system further in in vivo studies and in other organisms.
For my research, I use confocal and live microscopy, advanced molecular biology methods, including CRISPR/Cas9, biochemical and microbiology approaches.
For PhD and postdoctoral opportunities and interest in potential collaborations, please contact me at the above email address.
BSC University of Athens, Greece 2003
MSc Microbial Biotechnology, University of Athens, Greece 2005
PhD (Endocyte-Marie Curie Fellow), Centre for Cancer Biomedicine, Medical School, University of Oslo,
EMBO post-doctoral Research Fellow, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, UK 2013-2015
Research Fellow, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, 2015-2016
BBSRC Future Leader Fellow, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, 2016-2019
Assistant Professor, 2017-2020
Associate Professor of Infection and Microbiology, 2020 - current
- Styles, Kathryn, Thummeepak, Rapee, Leungtongkam, Udomluk, Smith, Sophie, Christie, Gabrielle S., Millard, Andrew D., Moat, John, Dowson, Christopher G., Wellington, Elizabeth M. H., Sitthisak, Sutthirat, Sagona, Antonia P., 2020. Investigating bacteriophages targeting the opportunistic pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii. Antibiotics, 9 (4)
- Grigonyte, Aurelija, Harrison, Christian, Macdonald, Paul R., Montero-Blay, Ariadna, Tridgett, Matthew, Duncan, John, Sagona, Antonia P., Constantinidou, Chrystala, Jaramillo, Alfonso, Millard, Andrew D., 2020. Comparison of CRISPR and marker-based methods for the engineering of Phage T7. Viruses, 12 (2)
- Møller-Olsen, Christian, Ross, Toby, Leppard, Keith, Foisor, Veronica, Smith, Corinne J., Grammatopoulos, Dimitris, Sagona, Antonia P., 2020. Bacteriophage K1F targets Escherichia coli K1 in cerebral endothelial cells and influences the barrier function. Scientific Reports, 10
- Chang, Kai, Kang, Ping, Liu, Ying, Huang, Kerui, Miao, Ting, Taylor, Erika, Sagona, Antonia P., Nezis, Ioannis P., Bodmer, Rolf, Ocorr, Karen, Bai, Hua, 2020. TGFB-INHB/activin signaling regulates age-dependent autophagy and cardiac health through inhibition of MTORC2 Autophagy. Autophagy, 16 (10), pp. 1807-1822
- Leungtongkam, Udomluk, Thummeepak, Rapee, Kitti, Thawatchai, Tasanapak, Kannipa, Wongwigkarn, Jintana, Styles, Kathryn, Wellington, Elizabeth M. H., Millard, Andrew D., Sagona, Antonia P., Sitthisak, Sutthirat, 2020. Genomic analysis reveals high virulence and antibiotic resistance amongst phage susceptible Acinetobacter baumannii. Scientific Reports, 10
- Vinner, Gurinder K., Richards, Kerry, Leppanen, Miika, Sagona, Antonia P., Malik, Danish J., 2019. Microencapsulation of enteric bacteriophages in a pH-responsive solid oral dosage formulation using a scalable membrane emulsification process. Pharmaceutics, 11 (9)
- Møller-Olsen, Christian, Ho, Siu Fung, Shukla, Ranti Dev, Feher, Tamas, Sagona, Antonia, 2018. Engineered K1F bacteriophages kill intracellular Escherichia coli K1 in human epithelial cells. Scientific Reports, 8
- Sagona, Antonia, Grigonyte, Aurelija M., MacDonald, Paul, Jaramillo, Alfonso, 2016. Genetically modified bacteriophages. Integrative Biology, 8, pp. 465-474
- Sagona, Antonia, Nezis, Ioannis P., Stenmark, H. (Harald), 2014. Association of CHMP4B and autophagy with micronuclei : implications for cataract formation. BioMed Research International, 2014
- Sagona, Antonia, P., Nezis, I. P., Bache, Kristi G., Haglund, Kaisa, Bakken, Anne Cathrine, Skotheim, Rolf I., Stenmark, H. (Harald), 2011. A Tumor-Associated Mutation of FYVE-CENT Prevents Its Interaction with Beclin 1 and Interferes with Cytokinesis. PLoS ONE, Vol. 6 (No. 3)
- Nezis, I. P., Shravage, Bhupendra V., Sagona, Antonia, P., Lamark, Trond, Bjorkoy, G., Johansen, Terje, Rusten, Tor Erik, Brech, Andreas, Baehrecke, Eric H., Stenmark, H. (Harald), 2010. Autophagic degradation of dBruce controls DNA fragmentation in nurse cells during late Drosophila melanogaster oogenesis. The Journal of Cell Biology, Vol. 190 (No. 4), pp. 523-531
- Nezis, I. P., Shravage, Bhupendra V., Sagona, Antonia, P., Johansen, Terje, Baehrecke, Eric H., Stenmark, H. (Harald), 2010. Autophagy as a trigger for cell death : autophagic degradation of inhibitor of apoptosis dBruce controls DNA fragmentation during late oogenesis in Drosophila. Autophagy, Vol. 6 (No. 8), pp. 1214-1215
- Sagona, Antonia, P., Stenmark, Harald, 2010. Cytokinesis and cancer. FEBS Letters, 584 (12), pp. 2652-2661
- Nezis, I. P., Sagona, Antonia, P., Schink, Kay Oliver, Stenmark, H. (Harald), 2010. Divide and ProsPer : the emerging role of PtdIns3P in cytokinesis. Trends in Cell Biology, 20 (11), pp. 642-649
- Sagona, Antonia, P., Nezis, I. P., Pedersen, Nina Marie, Liestøl, Knut, Poulton, John, Rusten, Tor Erik, Skotheim, Rolf I., Raiborg, Camilla, Stenmark, H. (Harald), 2010. PtdIns(3)P controls cytokinesis through KIF13A-mediated recruitment of FYVE-CENT to the midbody. Nature Cell Biology, Vol. 12 (No. 4), pp. 362-371
- Nezis, I. P., Simonsen, Anne, Sagona, Antonia, P., Finley, Kim D., Gaumer, S., Contamine, D., Rusten, Tor Erik, Stenmark, H. (Harald), Brech, Andreas, 2008. Ref(2)P, the Drosophila melanogaster homologue of mammalian p62, is required for the formation of protein aggregates in adult brain. The Journal of Cell Biology, Vol. 180 (No. 6), pp. 1065-1071
- Wheatley, Joseph P., Liyanagedera, Sahan B. W., Amaee, Richard, Sagona, Antonia P., Kulkarni, Vishwesh V., 2020. Synthetic biology for the rapid, precise and compliant detection of microbes. In Singh, Vijai (ed.), Advances in Synthetic Biology, Singapore, Springer, pp. 289-306
- Palara, Anthimi, Sagona, Antonia, Nezis, Ioannis P., 2016. Preparation of Drosophila follicles for transmission electron microscopy. In Oogenesis : Methods and Protocols, Springer, pp. 105-110
- Tsapras, Panagiotis, Sagona, Antonia, Nezis, Ioannis P., 2016. Immuno-gold labeling of Drosophila follicles for transmission electron microscopy. In Oogenesis : Methods and Protocols, Springer, pp. 97-103
- Liyanagedera, Sahan B. W., Wheatley, Joseph P., Qian, Zhi-Gang, Sagona, Antonia P., Bai, Feng-Wu, Xiao-Xia, Xia, Kulkarni, Vishwesh V., 2019. Synthetic biology for engineering programmable soft materials [abstract].
|Title||Funder||Award start||Award end|
|The Physics of Bacteriophage-coated antibmicrobial surfaces||EPSRC||04 Jun 2018||31 Mar 2022|
|Developing phage enzymes to tackle Acinetobacter baumanii infections in aging populations in Thailand||British Council||17 Feb 2021||16 Feb 2022|
|CoA:The Physics of Bacteriophage-coated antibmicrobial surfaces; linked to Ideate 57489||UK Research and Innovation||01 Sep 2021||30 Sep 2021|
|UK Thailand - Overcoming the opportunistic pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii in Thailand? developing bacteriophages as antimicrobial agents||British Council||01 Apr 2018||31 Mar 2020|
|Engineering synthetic phages against pathogenic E. coli as an innovative tool for phage therapy||BBSRC||01 Mar 2016||28 Feb 2019|
|Contract with Rapifage for 6 month project||RAPIFAGE LTD||03 Jan 2018||02 Jul 2018|