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Microbiology Logo Microbiology & Immunology
Te Tari Moromoroiti me te Ārai Mate

Dr Daniel Pletzer

Research interests:

Infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance, host-pathogen interaction, microbial pathogens, nanomedicines

Current research:

Our research is focused on recalcitrant ESKAPE (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species) pathogens; especially hard-to-treat clinical isolates involved in multidrug resistance, biofilm infections and persistence. We are especially interested in bacteria that have been categorized as "critical" priority pathogens by the World Health Organization. This includes multidrug resistant organisms that cause severe and often deadly infections and therefore pose an enormous threat in hospitals.

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Pletzer Lab 2020


Kathy Sircombe3  
Kathy Sircombe - Assistant Research Fellow  

Postgraduate students

Alana Hampson Deborah Yung PlaceholderFemale19  
 Alana Hampson - BSc (Hons)  Deborah Yung - BSc (Hons)  Sophie Qui - BBiomedSci (Hons)  


View more infomation here!:


Postgraduate opportunities:

Interested candidates with a BSc(Hons) or MSc degree are highly encouraged to apply if their research interest and experience matches any of the following themes: Microbiology, Immunology, Biochemistry, Genetics, or Bioinformatics. 

All candidates must be eligible for admission to the University of Otago and apply for a MSc or PhD scholarship ( The scholarship is available to both domestic and international students. International students should have a look at the International Office ( for entry requirements and contact the lab beforehand.

If you are interested in joining our lab, please send a cover letter including current research interests, a CV including all published work, a summary of previous research (if applicable), full academic transcripts, and contact information for two-three references.

Scholarly netwoking websites:

View Dr Pletzer's research on ResearchGate

View Dr Pletzer's research on Google Scholar

View Dr Pletzer's research on ORCID

View Dr Pletzer's research on Publons


Publication list (past 5 years):

Pletzer D*, Sun E*, Ritchie CT, Wilkinson L, Liu LT, Trimble MJ, Wolfmeier H, Blimkie TM, Hancock REW. 2020. Surfing motility is a complex adaptation dependent on the stringent stress response in Pseudomonas aeruginosa LESB58. PLoS Pathog. Accepted

Woehlk H, Trimble MJ, Mansour SC, Pletzer D, Trouillet V, Welle A, Barner L, Hancock REW, Barner-Kowollik C, Fairfull-Smith KE. 2019. Controlling biofilm formation with nitroxide functional surfaces. Polym Chem. 10:4252-4258

Kłodzińska SN, Pletzer D, Rahanjam N, Rades T, Hancock REW, Nielsen HM. 2019. Hyaluronic acid-based nanogels improve the in vivo compatibility of the anti-biofilm peptide DJK-5. Nanomedicine. doi:10.1016/j.nano.2019.102022.

Pletzer D*, Alford MA*, Hancock REW. 2019. Dismantling the bacterial virulence program. Microb Biotechnol. doi:10.1111/1751-7915.13388

Pletzer D*, Kumar P*, Haney EF, Rahanjam N, Cheng JTJ, Yue M, Aljehani W, Hancock REW, Kizhakkedathu JN, Straus SK. 2018. Aurein-derived antimicrobial peptides formulated with pegylated phospholipid micelles to target methicillin-resistant S. aureus skin infections. ACS Infect Dis.10.1021/acsinfecdis.8b00319

Pletzer D, Hancock REW. 2018. Is synergy the key to treating high-density infections?. Future Microbiol. doi: 10.2217/fmb-2018-0216

Wolfmeier H, Mansour SC, Liu LT, Pletzer D, Draeger A, Babiychuk EB, Hancock REW. 2018. Liposomal therapy attenuates dermonecrosis induced by community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus by targeting alpha-type phenol-soluble modulins and alpha-hemolysin. EBioMedicine. 33:211-217

Pletzer D, Mansour SC, Hancock REW. 2018. Synergy between conventional antibiotics and antibiofilm peptides in a murine, sub-cutaneous abscess model caused by recalcitrant ESKAPE pathogens. PLoS Pathog. 14(6):e1007084

Windham IH, Servetas SL, Whitmire JM, Pletzer D, Hancock REW, Merrell SD. 2018. Helicobacter pylori biofilm formation is differentially affected by common culture conditions, and proteins play a central role in the biofilm matrix. Appl Environ Microbiol. 84(14). pii: e00391-18

Luscher A, Moynie L, Auguste PS, Bumann D, Mazza L, Pletzer D, Naismith J, Koehler T. 2018. TonB-dependent receptor repertoire of Pseudomonas aeruginosa for uptake of siderophore-drug conjugates. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 62(6). pii: e00097-18

Pletzer D*, Haney EF*, Hancock REW. 2018. Impact of host defence peptides on chronic wounds and infections. Title of book: Recent clinical techniques, results, and research in wounds. Editors: Melvin A. Shiffman, Mervin Low. Springer, Cham. 1-17.

Pletzer D*, Wolfmeier H*, Mansour SC*, Hancock REW. 2017. New perspectives in biofilm eradication. ACS Infect Dis. 4(2):93-106

Pletzer D, Wolfmeier H, Bains M, Hancock REW. 2017. Synthetic peptides target stringent response-controlled virulence in a Pseudomonas aeruginosa murine cutaneous infection model. Front Microbiol. 8:1867

Pletzer D*, Belanger C*, Mansour SC*, Hancock REW. 2017. Alternative strategies for the study and treatment of clinical bacterial biofilms. Emerg Top Life Sci. ETLS20160020

Pothula KR, Dhanasekar NN, Lamichhane U, Younas F, Pletzer D, Benz R, Winterhalter M, Kleinekathoefer U. 2017. Single residue acts as gate in OccK channels. J Phys Chem B. 121(12):2614-2621

Pletzer D, Mansour SC, Rahanjam N, Wuerth K, Hancock REW. 2017. New mouse model for chronic infections by Gram-negative bacteria enabling the study of anti-infective efficacy and host-microbe interactions. mBio. 8(1). pii: e00140-17

Moynie L, Luscher A, Rolo D, Pletzer D, Tortajada A, Weingart H, Braun Y, Page MG, Naismith JH, Koehler T. 2017. Structure and function of the PiuA and PirA siderophore-drug receptors from P. aeruginosa and A. baumannii. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 61(4). pii: e02531-16

Chalhoub H, Pletzer D, Weingart H, Braun Y, Tunney MM, Elborn JS, Rodriguez-Villalobos H, Plesiat P, Kahl BC, Denis O, Winterhalter M, Tulkens PM, Van Bambeke F. 2017. Mechanisms of intrinsic resistance and acquired susceptibility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from cystic fibrosis patients to temocillin, a revived antibiotic. Sci Rep. 7:40208

Abdallah K, Hartman K, Pletzer D, Zhurina D, Ullrich MS. 2016. The bacteriophage-derived transcriptional regulator, LscR, activates the expression of levansucrase genes in Pseudomonas syringae. Mol Microbiol. 102(6):1062-1074

Mansour SC, Pletzer D, de la Fuente-Nunez C, Kim P, Cheung GY, Joo HS, Otto M, Hancock REW. 2016. Bacterial abscess formation is controlled by the stringent stress response and can be targeted therapeutically. EBioMedicine. 12:219-226

Pletzer D, Hancock REW. 2016. Antibiofilm peptides: Potential as broad-spectrum agents. J Bacteriol. 198(19):2572-2578

Pletzer D*, Coleman SR*, Hancock REW. 2016. Anti-biofilm peptides as a new weapon in antimicrobial warfare. Curr Opin Microbiol. 33:35-40

Ganguly S, Jimenez-Galisteo G, Pletzer D, Winterhalter M, Benz R, Vienas M. 2016. Draft genome of D. maris DSM 43672, a Gram+ bacterium of Mycolata group. Genome Announc. 4(3)

Pletzer D, Braun Y, Weingart H. 2016. Swarming motility is modulated by expression of the putative xenosiderophore transporter SppR-SppABCD in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 109(6):737-753

Stahl A, Pletzer D, Mehmood A, Ullrich MS. 2015. Marinobacter adhaerens HP15 harbors CzcCBA pumps involved in zinc detoxification. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 108(3):649-658

Pletzer D, Braun Y, Dubiley S, Lafon C, Koehler T, Page MG, Mourez M, Severinov K, Weingart H. 2015. The Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14 ABC transporter NppA1A2BCD is required for uptake of peptidyl nucleoside antibiotics. J Bacteriol. 197(13):2217-2228

Mehmood A, Abdallah K, Khandekar S, Zhurina D, Srivastava A, Al-Karablieh N, Alfaro-Espinoza G, Pletzer D, Ullrich MS. 2015. Expression of extra-cellular levansucrase in Pseudomonas syringae is controlled by fitness-promoting metabolic repressor HexR. BMC Microbiol. 15:48

Pletzer D, Stahl A, Oja AE, Weingart H. 2015. Role of the cell envelope stress regulators BaeR and CpxR in control of RND-type multidrug efflux pumps and transcriptional cross talk with exopolysaccharide synthesis in Erwinia amylovora. Arch Microbiol. 197(6):761-772

Elsadig Karar MG, Pletzer D, Jaiswal R, Weingart H, Kuhnert N. 2014. Identi_cation, characterization, isolation and activity against Escherichia coli of quince (Cydonia oblonga) fruit polyphenols. Food Res Int. Vol 65, Part A 121-129

Pletzer D, Lafon C, Braun Y, Koehler T, Page MG, Mourez M, Weingart H. 2014. High-throughput screening of dipeptide utilization mediated by the ABC transporter DppBCDF and its substrate binding proteins DppA1-A5 in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. PLoS One. 9(10):e111311

Johnston C, Bannantine JP, Govender R, Endersen L, Pletzer D, Weingart H, Coffey A, O'Mahony J, Sleator RD. 2014. Enhanced expression of codon optimized Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis antigens in Lactobacillus salivarius. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 4:120

Pletzer D, Schweizer G, Weingart H. 2014. AraC/XylS family stress response regulators Rob, SoxS, PliA, and OpiA in the fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora. J Bacteriol. 196:3098-3110

Pletzer D, Weingart H. 2014. Characterization and regulation of the RND-type multidrug efflux pumps MdtABC and MdtUVW from the fire blight pathogen E. amylovora. BMC Microbiol. 14:185

Khandekar S, Srivastava A, Pletzer D, Stahl A, Ullrich MS. 2014. The conserved upstream region of lscB/C determines expression of different levansucrase genes in plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae. BMC Microbiol. 14:79

Pletzer D, Weingart H. 2014. Characterization of AcrD, a Resistance-Nodulation-Cell Division-type multidrug efflux pump from the fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora. BMC Microbiol. 14:13