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Engineered bacteriophages for the control of E. coli O157


Lars Fieseler, Lukas Neutsch, Roger Stephan (UHZ), Martin J. Loessner (ETHZ), Jöel van Mierlo (Micreos Food Safety), Franz Gabor (Uni Wien)


Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a major threat to our society. These bacteria can cause serious infections in humans that are very hard or sometimes even impossible to treat. As a promising alternative to conventional antibiotics, bacteriophages are attracting more and more attention worldwide. Bacteriophages are viruses that only infect certain strains of bacteria. In Georgia and Russia, phages are commercially available from pharmacies and are routinely applied in surgeries. Just recently, a patient suffering from a multi drug-resistant bacterium was cured by phage therapy in Europe (Dedrick et al., 2019). New phage start-up companies are funded all over the globe.

In this research project the aim is to genetically engineer bacteriophages for a better control of pathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli). In parallel to phage engineering, large-scale phage production technologies will be further developed to be compatible with the requirements of the pharmaceutical industry.

This project is conducted by joining forces of two ZHAW groups and four partners:

● Group of Lars Fieseler, Institute of Food and Beverage Innovation (ILGI), ZHAW

● Group of Lukas Neutsch, Institute of Chemistry and Biotechnology (ICBT), ZHAW

● Roger Stephan, Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene, UZH

● Martin J. Loessner, Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health, ETHZ

● Jöel van Mierlo, Micreos Food Safety, Netherlands

● Franz Gabor, Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmaceutics, University of Vienna, Austria