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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.

To address this issue, our research focuses on fighting infectious diseases and tackling antimicrobial resistance using innovative and interdisciplinary approaches. 

Our lab seeks to  1) understand how microbes cause disease2) fight antimicrobial resistance with novel nanomedicines, and 3) develop new antimicrobial strategies

 For more information click here:

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Pletzer Lab 2023

Postdoctoral Fellows and Staff

214A7015   Ian Liddlescaled   Logo Pletzer positive black3 2faf14fd c4e1 4297 9347 b94942b87fe9  
Dr. Sam Wardell  

Dr. Ian Liddle

A/Prof Allan Gamble)

  Dr. Anupriya Gupta 

Dr. Shilpa Nair

Dr Fellner

Postdoctoral Fellow   Postdoctoral Fellow   Postdoctoral Fellow Assistant Research Fellow  


Postgraduate students

PhD students

Deborah Yung2   214A7029   214A3774   214A3790
Deborah Yung   Saffron Whitta    Rory Smith    Maddie Hardie Boys 


Headshot Robiul Islam   214A7065 2   Kathy Sircombe3   Simon2
Robiul Shanto  

Prasanga Madhushani


Kathy Sircombe 

Prof Hook, A/P Gamble


Simon Su

Prof Hook, A/P Gamble



MSc students

  thumbnail image001  

Adrian Smith-Beech 

Dr Fellner



4th Year students

 Headshot Mark Lemzin 05040    214A8319    

Mark Lemzin-Abdrashitov



Janaya Stevenson




Recent graduates: 

PhD students:

- Dr. Catherine Ross (PhD Pharmacy; co-supervised - PI: Prof. Hook); 2023
- Dr. Minati Choudhury (PhD Dentistry; co-supervised - PI: Prof. Tompkins); 2023 - (Current location: International Medical University Malaysia)

MSc students:

- Alana Hampson (MSc Microbiology); 2023

4th Year students:

- Maddie Hardie Boys; BBiomedSc(Hons); 2023
- Rory Smith; BMedSc(Hons) Medicine; 2023
- Stella Zhang; PGDip Microbiology; 2023
- Meg Vallabh; BBiomedSc(Hons); 2023

- Shuying Wee; BBiomedSc(Hons); 2022
- Jess Henricks; BSc(Hons) Microbiology; 2022
- Tiu Cullen; BSc(Hons) Microbiology; 2022
- Bianca Tawatao; BSc(Hons) Microbiology; 2022

- Claude Vincent; BSc(Hons) Microbiology; 2021
- Finn Dusterwald; DipSci Genetics; 2021

- Deborah Yung; BSc(Hons) Microbiology; 2020
- Alana Hampson; BSc(Hons) Microbiology; 2020
- Sophie Qiu; BBiomedSc(Hons); 2020

Postgraduate opportunities: 

Did you just finish your BSc degree and are you interested in a Honours or Masters project? We always have a lot of ongoing exciting projects - just reach out to hear more about what is available: or contact members of the lab

Interested in a PhD? 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 PhD candidates must be eligible for admission to the University of Otago and apply for a 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:

ResearchGate - Wikiwand        google scholar        File:ORCID iD.svg - Wikimedia Commons        publons-logo | Geological Society of London blog


A few relevant publications are listed below 
(for a full publication list, please visit our profile on PubMed or our website):

File:US-NLM-PubMed-Logo.svg - Wikimedia Commons Logo Pletzer positive black

Targeting the Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence factor phospholipase C with engineered liposomes.

Wolfmeier H, Wardell SJT, Liu LT, Falsafi R, Draeger A, Babiychuk EB, Pletzer D, Hancock REW

Front Microbiol. 10.3389/fmicb.2022.867449

Self-assembly of antimicrobial peptoids impacts their biological effects on ESKAPE bacterial pathogens.

Nielsen J*, Alford MA*, Yung DBY*, Molchanova N, Fortkort J, Lin J, Diamond G, Hancock REW, Jenssen H, Pletzer D, Lund R, Barron A.

ACS Infect Dis. 10.1021/acsinfecdis.1c00536

Ultraviolet-C irradiation, heat, and storage as potential methods of inactivating SARS-CoV-2 and bacterial pathogens on filtering facepiece respirators.

Harfoot R, Yung DBY, Anderson WA, Wild CEK, Coetzee N, Hernández LC, Lawley B, Pletzer D, Derraik JGB, Anderson YC, Quiñones-Mateu ME.

Pathogens. 10.3390/pathogens11010083

Friends or enemies? The complicated relationship between Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus.

Yung DBY, Sircombe KJ, Pletzer D.

Mol Microbiol. 10.1111/mmi.14699

Synergy between conventional antibiotics and antibiofilm peptides in a murine, sub-cutaneous abscess model caused by recalcitrant ESKAPE pathogens.

Pletzer D, Mansour SC, Hancock REW. 

PLoS Pathog. 14(6):e1007084 

*authors contributed equally as first author; italic = corresponding author; underline = lab members