Identify novel approaches to combat multi drug resistant pathogens


   Microbiology & Immunology

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Our research is focused on recalcitrant ESKAPE (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, andEnterobacter 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. Overall, our lab seeks to  1) understand how microbes cause disease, 2) fight antimicrobial resistance with novel nanomedicines, and 3) develop new antimicrobial strategies. Depending on the interest of the candidate, we offer a PhD project in the aforementioned categories. The methodology varies but will include techniques from molecular and microbiology to bioinformatics. We also have model systems to study infectious diseases in live animals to find test new antimicrobial against hard-to-treat pathogens. Please indicate in your cover letter what topic you are interested the most and briefly explain why.

We are seeking highly motivated students with a BSc(Hons) or MSc degree if their research interest and experience matches the descriptions above. The thesis project should be a significant component of their degree and must be evaluated and clearly listed on the transcripts. The University of Otago scholarship is highly competitive and the student will need a very high (almost perfect) GPA to be competitive during the process.

If you are interested in joining our lab (learn more here: www.pletzerlab.com), please send a cover letter including current research interests, a CV including all published work, a summary of previous research (e.g., MSc thesis), full academic transcripts, and contact information for two to three references to .

New Zealand offers many opportunities for travel and study and Dunedin (https://www.dunedinnz.com/) is a very vibrant city and worldwide known for its student culture and friendliness.

Biological Sciences (4)

Funding Notes

All candidates must be eligible for admission to the University of Otago and apply scholarship (View Website). The scholarship is available to both domestic and international students. International students should have a look at the International Office (View Website) for entry requirements (outstanding academic grade/GPA is necessary) and contact the lab beforehand (we will pre-evaluate applicants and assist successful candidates with the application process).
All applicant must apply and be awarded a University of Otago scholarship and international candidates must reside in New Zealand for the duration of the project and study under a New Zealand student visa.

Register your interest for this project