Hanna Özer

PhD Student


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Microbial Genome Plasticity
Institute for Hygiene
Robert-Koch-Straße 41
D-48149 Münster, Germany
Tel.: +49 251/83-35402

Nationality: German De


  • Since 2022:
    PhD studies in the Microbial Genome Plasticity Group, Institute for Hygiene, University Hospital Münster, Germany
  • 2019 - 2022:
    Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Molecular Bioscience, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
    Thesis: "Characterisation of the molecular mechanism of genconversion in the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii"
  • 2016 - 2019:
    Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Bioscience, Specialization in Molecular Bioscience, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
    Thesis: "Analysis of promotors and promotor activities in Acetobacterium woodii"

Work experience

  • 2019 - 2021:
    Student Assistant, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
  • 2019:
    Internship, Institute for Molecular Microbiology and Bioenergetic, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany


  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Dobrindt, Microbial Genome Plasticity Group, Institute for Hygiene, University Hospital Münster, Germany

Research interests


PhD project description

Characterization of factors that shape the intracellular lifecycle of uropathogenic E. coli

Urinary tract infections (UTI) are one of the most common infections in humans, and mostly occur in women. Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) accounts for the majority of all UTIs. Due to the fact, that UPEC can develop intracellularly in the epithelial cells of the bladder, it is
important to get a better understanding of the interplay between UPEC and the bladder epithelial cells. After invasion, UPEC forms intracellular bacterial communities (IBC), which contributes to the establishment, the persistence and recurrence of UTIs. In the intracellular
environment, UPECs are protected from antibiotic treatment and host clearance, leading to recurrent UTIs and difficulties in UTI treatment.

During the intracellular lifecycle, UPEC undergoes some differentiation steps and IBC maturation. The IBCs differ in their early state, with a loose collection of bacteria, from further developed IBCs where the bacteria are arranged in an organized colony with biofilm like traits. During the late IBC state, the bacteria can flux out of the bladder epithelial cell into the bladder lumen and start a new invasion cycle. Not much is known about regulatory steps and triggers leading to the different stages of IBC formation. We want to identify bacterial and host cell
factors, which are important for the bacterial differentiation steps. Which conditions or regulatory steps are important during the UPEC-host interaction involved in IBC formation? To answer these questions we want to perform dual RNA-seq analysis to analyze the gene
expression profiles from UPEC and host. In addition, the influence of different virulence factors like α-hemolysin and YadC fimbriae should be investigated. Therefore, we will use an infection assay to determine the invasion rate, the intracellular survival and the bacterial exit
behavior with different mutants and under different conditions. At the same time, we plan to study the interaction of intracellular UPEC with host cell factors, such as annexins and components of the endo-lysosomal compartment using suitable inhibitors and siRNAs. As the
intracellular bacterial multiplication should also affect the energy status and metabolism of the host cell, we plan to study the cellular response also at the mitochondrial level using different cellular biological tools.