Nathan Debunne

Nathan Debunne

Contact info:

Nathan Debunne

Drug Quality and Registration (DruQuaR) group
Ottergemsesteenweg 460, 9000 Ghent (Belgium)

Phone.: + 32 (0)9 264.81.01








Ph.D. research:

Title: The presence of quorum sensing peptides in clinical samples: their biological role in oncology.


Quorum sensing peptides are produced by certain Gram-positive bacteria (e.g. Streptococcus mitis) which use them to communicate with each other. In recent in vitro studies, it was found that some of these peptides (e.g. EDF) can stimulate colon cancer cell invasion and angiogenesis, two processes that can be linked to cancer metastasis. This discovery indicates that the phenomenon of quorum sensing is not only limited to the bacteria themselves.


The general goal of this project is to find the in vivo relevance of these peptides. First, bio-analytical methods will be developed and validated to quantify the (in vitro active) quorum sensing peptides in mice and humans. The developed methods will then be used to perform a preliminary prospective study on patients with newly diagnosed and pathologically confirmed colorectal cancer. Further, mouse models will be used to investigate the in vivo effect of these peptides on cancer metastasis.

Keywords: Quorum sensing peptides; oncology; microbiome.