Jenny rohn

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common infectious diseases worldwide, causing significant morbidity and mortality. With the sheer number of antibiotics dispensed to control it, UTI is a crucial driver of the global Antimicrobial Resistance Crisis. Treatment options and diagnostic tests are both suboptimal and have not improved for several generations. Prof Rohn’s laboratory studies the host/pathogen interactions of recurrent and chronic urinary tract infection at the cell and molecular level, closely informed by using clinical specimens. The lab ethos is that clinical insights should feed the research programme, and research results should be fed back into clinical practice as soon as possible. More recently, the team has also been funded to investigate novel treatments for urothelial cancers. Prof Rohn’s lab lab employs live imaging, electron microscopy, confocal microscopy, microbiology, genomics, cell biology and molecular techniques, with the ultimate goal of understanding the bacterial life cycle in urothelial cells, in particular the invasive properties, biofilm formation and intracellular colonization of certain uropathogenic bacteria, and determining which features distinguish virulent bacteria from commensals that inhabit the urinary tract. They are also continuously developing and improving novel tissue engineering strategies to grow human organotypic bladder epithelia in culture, including innovative “organ-on-chip” technology, to study the basic biology of infection and repair, as well as to be used as a test-bed for novel therapeutic strategies. In parallel, the team is collaborating with biomedical engineers and materials scientists to create encapsulated antibiotics and chemotherapeutics for bladder delivery.

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