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Pathogenesis of Escherichia coli urinary tract infection


 Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (green) colonizing the bladder epithelium (red)



Associate Professor Thomas Emil Andersen
Department of Clinical Microbiology, Odense University Hospital

Associate Professor Jakob Møller-Jensen
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, SDU

Project description

Urinary tract infection (UTI), particularly cystitis, is one of the most common infectious diseases and is often complicated by recurrent and chronic episodes. Escherichia coli is the primary etiological agent accounting for up to 80% of all cases of UTI.

While E. coli is mainly a harmless organism living in symbiosis humans, certain strains of E. coli, named uropathogenic Escherichia coli or UPEC, are able to invade the urinary tract mucosa and cause infection.

Using a panel of virulence factors, specific growth forms and epithelial cell invasion, UPEC effectively circumvents host response and antibiotic treatment. 

In this project doctors and molecular microbiologists from the Department of Clinical Microbiology, Odense University Hospital and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, SDU, collaborate with a common aim to elucidate the UPEC infection pathogenesis.

Molecular biological techniques such as qPCR, DNA microarray, blotting techniques, and construction of deletion mutants and reporter strains are used to investigate virulence gene expression during the stages of infection. The course of infection is modelled and investigated in vitro using cell culture-based infection assays, and in vivo using animal models of cystitis.

This research aims to improve current treatment regimens and preventative strategies against UTI both in the hospital setting and in the community.

Funded by

  • Region of Southern Denmark
  • Odense University Hospital
  • Beckett fondet
Contact person

Thomas Emil Andersen, Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Research


Last Updated 12.03.2020