With the arrival of summer, some teenagers are troubled by facial anxiety due to increasingly serious acne, including some of our team members as well as our friends. In many cases, the effect of the traditional drug is not distinct, and may irritate the skin and cause allergy.

According to public data, acne is the eighth most prevalent disease in the world, affecting more than 640 million people worldwide. Such a large number surprises us and intrigues us - is it possible to achieve effective treatment of acne with engineered probiotics?


Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is a long-term skin disease that occurs when dead skin cells and sebum from the skin clog hair follicles.[1]Typical features of this condition include blackheads or whiteheads, pimples, oily skin, and possible scarring, [2][3][4] which can cause severe anxiety and low self-esteem, especially for youngsters.

The pathogenesis of acne is multifactorial, including increased sebum, ductal epidermal hyperproliferation, Propionibacterium acnes colonization, and inflammation. And it is believed that P. acnes is highly related to this inflammatory skin disease of the pilosebaceous unit.[5] Interestingly, we also find that P. acnes is normal flora on the surface of the skin [6], but will proliferate actively under the circumstance of excess oil production.

There are various kinds of treatments for acne, including changing lifestyle, medications, and medical procedures. Medical treatment may involve medicines applied directly to affected skin such as azelaic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid.[7] And antibiotics and retinoids are available in formulations, which may be either orally administrated or transdermally applied.[6] However, traditional methods can cause many problems such as resistance to antibiotics. The same thing may also apply to contraceptive drugs, which help against acne in women, but apparently would harm.[8]

Project Overview

We are proud to introduce our project Acneraser, a safe, efficient and novel acne therapy. Using Escherichia coli as the chassis, we designed an engineering bacterium that can simultaneously secrete β-oxidation related enzymes and bacteriocin to inhibit and kill propionibacterium acnes. We will construct nutritionally deficient engineered bacteria to ensure safety.We hope that our project will provide new ideas for acne treatment and also promote engineered probiotics to play a greater role in the field of medical beauty, letting this promising and exciting scientific field change our lives from the very tiny things around us all.

Promotion video


[1] Aslam I, Fleischer A, Feldman S (March 2015). "Emerging drugs for the treatment of acne". Expert Opinion on Emerging Drugs (Review). 20 (1): 91–101.
[2] Vary JC (November 2015). "Selected Disorders of Skin Appendages--Acne, Alopecia, Hyperhidrosis". The Medical Clinics of North America (Review). 99 (6): 1195–211.
[3] Bhate K, Williams HC (March 2013). "Epidemiology of acne vulgaris". The British Journal of Dermatology (Review). 168 (3): 474–85.
[4] Tuchayi SM, Makrantonaki E, Ganceviciene R, Dessinioti C, Feldman SR, Zouboulis CC (September 2015). "Acne vulgaris". Nature Reviews. Disease Primers. 1: 15033.
[5] Dessinioti, Clio, and Andreas D Katsambas. “The role of Propionibacterium acnes in acne pathogenesis: facts and controversies.” Clinics in dermatology vol. 28,1 (2010): 2-7.
[6] Grice, Elizabeth A, and Julia A Segre. “The skin microbiome.” Nature reviews. Microbiology vol. 9,4 (2011): 244-53.
[7] Mahmood SN, Bowe WP (April 2014). "Diet and acne update: carbohydrates emerge as the main culprit". Journal of Drugs in Dermatology (Review). 13 (4): 428–35.
[8] Titus S, Hodge J (October 2012). "Diagnosis and treatment of acne". American Family Physician (Review). 86 (8): 734–40.