Infection Microbiology

Group leader: Lars Jelsbak 

The major focus of the Infection Microbiology Group is to understand the physiology, behavior and evolution of bacterial pathogens in connection with complex, difficult-to-treat infections in humans, to understand how and why bacterial pathogens become resistant to antibiotic therapy, and to translate the obtained results and conclusions into clinically relevant strategies for treatment and prevention.

Our research efforts are focused on the following models for chronic infections in humans:

Bacterial biofilms
In nature microorganisms live mostly as surface associated communities – biofilms. In recent years it has become evident that many bacterial infections are associated with biofilm growth. Since bacterial biofilms are usually highly resistant to antibiotics and because biofilm communities may act as reservoirs of genetic variant sub-populations there is an increasing realization that novel treatment strategies must be developed to solve the biofilm infection problem. As part of our ongoing research we have additionally developed a flow chamber system that is now used by research groups world wide.

CF airway infection model
The airways of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients are nearly always infected with a large number of microorganisms, and in particular lung infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa create severe problems of morbidity and mortality for the patients. Intense antibiotics treatments have prolonged the lives of CF patients, but development of resistance to the drugs limits to varying extent the usefulness of these. Increased knowledge of the bacterial infection routes and the regulatory and evolutionary processes in the pathogen populations may provide new therapeutic strategies by disclosing new targets for interference, and specific bacterial adaptive mutations may be useful as genetic markers for chronic states of infections.

We investigate these systems using a range of methods from molecular microbiology, genomics, and nano-technology. Our experimental strategy is build on an interdisciplinary framework with researchers from both engineering and medical fields and the integration of systems-biological data obtained from both the infecting bacteria and the infected hosts.


Lars Jelsbak
Professor MSO
DTU Bioengineering
+45 45 25 61 29