About this team
Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common infections in humans and 50 % of all women will have at least one incidence of UTI during their lifetime. The majority of UTIs are caused by uropathogenic strains of E. coli (UPEC). After antibiotic treatment and recovery, about 25 % of patients with UTI will have a relapsing (recurring) UTI within six months and 45 % within one year. Although patients recovering from UTI exhibit sterile urine cultures, the bacteria may still be present in the bladder in protected intracellular reservoirs. These reservoirs can persist for several weeks protected from antibiotics and host immune responses and when the bacteria efflux out from the intracellular niche they can re-infect the bladder epithelium.
Urinary tract infections, so far successfully treated with antibiotics, can with increased incidence of antibiotic-resistant strains now pose a treatment challenge. The increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance in UPEC emphasises the need for development of new therapeutic options and more in-depth knowledge about recurrent UTI. Current treatment procedures for UTI lack strategies to specifically target intracellular bacteria and recurrent UTI.
The project aims to increase the understanding of how our immune system is activated and modulated by extra- and intracellular UPEC, including antibiotic-resistant strains. Studies on identification of novel antibacterial strategies against intracellular and multidrug-resistant uropathogens are also performed.