Model Systems to Study the Chronic, Polymicrobial Infections in Cystic Fibrosis: Current Approaches and Exploring Future Directions

George A. O’Toole, Aurélie Crabbé, Rolf Kümmerli, John J. LiPuma, Jennifer M. Bomberger, Jane C. Davies, Dominique Limoli, Vanessa V. Phelan, James B. Bliska, William H. DePas, Lars E. Dietrich, Thomas H. Hampton, Ryan Hunter, Cezar M. Khursigara, Alexa Price-Whelan, Alix Ashare, Robert A. Cramer, Joanna B. Goldberg, Freya Harrison, Deborah A. HoganMichael A. Henson, Dean R. Madden, Jared R. Mayers, Carey Nadell, Dianne Newman, Alice Prince, Damian W. Rivett, Joseph D. Schwartzman, Daniel Schultz, Donald C. Sheppard, Alan R. Smyth, Melanie A. Spero, Bruce A. Stanton, Paul E. Turner, Chris van der Gast, Fiona J. Whelan, Rachel Whitaker, Katrine Whiteson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


A recent workshop titled “Developing Models to Study Polymicrobial Infections,” sponsored by the Dartmouth Cystic Fibrosis Center (DartCF), explored the development of new models to study the polymicrobial infections associated with the airways of persons with cystic fibrosis (CF). The workshop gathered 351 investigators over two virtual sessions. Here, we present the findings of this workshop, summarize some of the challenges involved with developing such models, and suggest three frameworks to tackle this complex problem. The frameworks proposed here, we believe, could be generally useful in developing new model systems for other infectious diseases. Developing and validating new approaches to study the complex polymicrobial communities in the CF airway could open windows to new therapeutics to treat these recalcitrant infections, as well as uncovering organizing principles applicable to chronic polymicrobial infections more generally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01763-21
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
DartCF is supported by the NIH (P30-DK117469) and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Research Development Program (STANTO19R0). Additional support was provided by NIH/R01AI155424, NIH/1R01HL152190, CFF/CRAMER19GO, CIHR/PJT-156111, NIH/R35GM128690, NIH/R01DK104847, R01/NIHAI127548, CFF/TURNER19PO, NIH/R01HL136919, CFF/ASHARE21G0, NIH/R35HL18500, NIH/P20GM130454, NIHR Systematic Reviews Program, CFF/WHITEL20A0, NIH/R01AI103369, University of Nottingham Anne McLaren Fellowship, Swiss National Science Foundation/31003A_182499, MRC/MR/ R001898/1, NIH/R01HL151385, NIH/R01AI155424, CFF/BOMBER21R3, CFF/SPERO19F0, NIH/ R01HL136647, Paul G. Allen Frontiers Investigator Award, NIH/R01HL136647, Cystic Fibrosis Trust Strategic Research Centre Award, CF Trust/VIA078, CF Trust/VIAO77, CIHR/FDN/ 159902, and CFF/BOMBER18G0.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 O’Toole et al.


  • Airway
  • Chronic infection
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Models
  • Polymicrobial


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