A Capes-Cofecub project between ERABLE and Instituto Carlos Chagas (ICC/Fiocruz), Curitiba, Brazil, was officially created on January 1st, 2020 for a duration of four years. The project is called AHIMSA as it intends to address the general problem of “Alternative approacH to Investigating and Modelling Sickness and heAlth”. AHIMSA is coordinated by Andréa Ávila from ICC and Marie-France Sagot from ERABLE.
One of the objectives of this project, the one with highest risk of not succeeding, is to explore Ahimsa-like approaches to sickness and health. However, our main objective is to first understand how these organisms respond to drug treatments or reshape the host cells after infection. We further aim to focus on a community-vision approach to living organisms which will try to gather information from multiple partners of the biological systems we are studying. This presents further risks that are both methodological and experimental. Modelling communities up to the molecular level is indeed hard because of a lack of enough or of adequate data. Modelling and then experimentally manipulating such communities is tricky also because of the complexity of having to handle many different processes taking place at very different levels and time scales.
In order to make such high risks manageable nevertheless, we plan to focus on two main communication mechanisms that have a potential for control: one concerns metabolism, the other regulation most notably via non-coding RNAs. The two present a relation
that might also be explored.
We will use whole-genome metabolic reconstructions coupled with transcriptomics and regulatory networks based on ncRNAs to have a comprehensive view of the key pathways involved in the response mechanisms to drug treatments and immunopathogenic responses.
The biological systems used as case studies will concern four different levels of “community”, corresponding to 3 datasets: Protozoan Parasites, Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae and epithelial cells from the respiratory tract of swine, Klebsiella pneumoniae.