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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

Sam   Raj   Nikita2   2faf14fd c4e1 4297 9347 b94942b87fe9
  Dr. Sam Wardell    Dr. Rajesh Lamichhane      Nikita Lyons 
Prof Lamont

Dr. Shilpa Nair
Dr Fellner

 Postdoctoral Fellow   Postdoctoral Fellow    Assistant Research Fellow     Assistant Research Fellow    


Postgraduate students

PhD students

Deborah Yung2   IMG 20230829 151021   Catherine Ross 8x11   Kathy Sircombe3   Simon2
Deborah Yung  

Saffron Whitta


Catherine Ross

Prof Hook, A/P Gamble


Kathy Sircombe 

Prof Hook, A/P Gamble


Simon Su

Prof Hook, A/P Gamble

MSc students

Alana Hampson3   thumbnail image001
 Alana Hampson  

Adrian Smith-Beech 

Dr Fellner


4th Year students

214A3774   214A3790    214A3843   214A3788

Rory Smith



Maddie Hardie Boys



Meg Vallabh



Stella Zhang




Research Assistant

      Headshot Mark Lemzin 05040
      Mark Lemzin-Abdrashitov    
      Research Assistant (RA)    

Recent graduates: 

PhD students:

- Minati Choudhury (PhD Dentistry; Co-supervised - PI: Prof. Tompkins); 2023 - (Current location: International Medical University Malaysia)

4th Year students:

- 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: 

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:

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