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Katrine Hartung Hansen

Katrine Hartung Hansen

Part-time lecturer

Microbiology is a topic I am very interested in. I find the issue of antibiotic resistance both fascinating and challenging. The continuous spread of antibiotic resistance genes among bacterial populations associated with the lack of new antibiotics in the production pipeline causes serious difficulties in treatment of infections by resistant microorganisms, which represent an emerging problem in human and animal medicine. My ambition is to find solution to this emerging problem by elucidating routes of transmission of antibiotic resistance genes in order to clarify the right strategy to resolve this problem.

I obtained a Master of Science degree in Medicine from the University of Copenhagen in 2006. I worked as a clinician for almost five years before starting my PhD project in January 2011. From my previous employment at the Department of Infectious Diseases and Department of Hematology, I gained knowledge on difficulties to treat patients with infections by antimicrobial resistant bacteria. From November 2009 through December 2010, I worked at the Department of Clinical Microbiology at Hvidovre University Hospital as part of my training to become a specialist in clinical microbiology. Due to maternity leave, the end of my PhD has been postponed to September 2014.

The objective of my PhD project is to assess the risk that multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli including extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs)-producing isolates are transferred between animals and humans. My work is mainly focused on epidemiology and evolution of epidemic plasmids associated with ESBL-encoding genes, and on the effects of cephalosporins on horizontal transfer of such plasmids. In recent years, the presence of ESBL-producing E. coli in different food-producing animal species has been reported at increased frequency in various European countries, including Denmark. This has important implications to public health because resistance genes have the potential to be transmitted from animals to humans either through food or by direct contact. This project will elucidate the dynamics of ESBL plasmid transmission within and between human and animal reservoirs, and it will provide insights into the evolution of successful ESBL-associated plasmids. ESBL-encoding genes and plasmid replicons will be used as genetic markers to trace flows of mobile genetic elements in bacteria from human and animal populations. This project is performed in collaboration with the Department of Clinical Microbiology at Hvidovre University Hospital.  

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