ESR Project 6

Lilly Bantavi

Vasiliki (Lilly) Bantavi is an Early Stage Researcher working at the University Hospital Bonn, Department of Surgery in Bonn, Germany, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Sven Wehner and Prof. Dr. Wouter de Jonge.

Her research work within this consortium will focus on the role of Aryl Hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) signaling in postoperative intestinal healing.

Healing of the intestinal tissue after surgical trauma is crucial to achieving tissue homeostasis, bowel integrity, and regular propulsive motility. Common disorders that originate from healing disturbances are postoperative ileus (POI) and anastomotic leakage (AL). POI is an inflammation-based motility disorder and AL occurs as a result of disturbances in the healing of anastomosis after colorectal surgery with a high mortality and morbidity rate (6-22%). It has been shown that POI is associated with more dreaded complications like AL. Despite intensive research, no treatment or preventive options as well as no predictive markers have been established so far. Tryptophan metabolites and related metabolites activate the Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), which has been shown to be downregulated in chronic inflammatory intestinal disorders. AhR ligands shape the microbial composition of the gut and this is known to be crucial in maintaining gut homeostasis and regulation of inflammation.

Lilly aims to study the pathogenesis of POI and AL with a focus on the role of nutrition, microbiome, and AhR signaling using both in vivo and in vitro models. Interventions on the AhR signaling pathway might reveal a novel option to improve patients´ recovery or to prevent the development of POI or AL in surgical patients.

Lilly will continue her research and analyses at DSCN Research BV and Amsterdam University Medical Center (UMC) both located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Host Institution

University Hospital Bonn

Main supervisor: Prof. Dr. Wouter de Jonge