Researchers receive major grant to discover how viruses of bacteria communicate to control bacterial communities

Prof. Avigdor Eldar, from Tel Aviv University and a team of European scientists from the UK, and Spain have received the highly prestigious European Research Council Synergy award to reveal how viruses of bacteria communicate with each other

20 November 2023


An international team of scientists has been awarded €8M to study how bacterial viruses communicate to coordinate their infection of bacterial communities.


Bacterial viruses, or phages, are the most prevalent biological entities on earth. As such they crucial in determining the fate of bacteria, including those who are beneficial or detrimental to mankind.


These viruses and their host bacteria have been fighting for eons, leading to the development of multiple tools that they employ to their benefit.

One of these tools allows viruses to communicate between each other as they attack different bacteria, allowing them to coordinate their strategies in a way that benefit them over their host. Whether communication occurs only between viruses of the same kind or between different types of viruses remains an open challenge.


Now, a team composed of three groups was awarded the ERC synergy grant to better understand the modes by which these viruses communicate and the extent of communication between different viruses.


The team is coordinated by Prof. Avigdor Eldar from the Shmunis School for Biomedicine and Cancer Research, Tel-Aviv University at Tel-Aviv together with Prof. Jose Penades from Imperial college, London and Prof. Alberto Marina from the Valencia Institute of Biomedicine, Valencia.

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