Department of Renal Medicine


Centre for Urological Biology

The Chronic UTI group focuses primarily on the microbial diversity and host/pathogen interactions of recalcitrant and recurrent urinary tract infection in human cells and tissues

Professor Jennifer Rohn


Urinary Tract infection (UTI) is the most common infectious disease in women and in the elderly, and one of the top reasons why general practitioners will write an antibiotic prescription.  As such, it wreaks an enormous economic and healthcare burden, and plays a significant role in the accelerating antimicrobial resistance crisis. The Chronic UTI group focuses primarily on the cell biology, microbial diversity and host/pathogen interactions of recalcitrant and recurrent urinary tract infection in patients. We have a particular interest in how chronic/recurrent UTI differs from uncomplicated acute UTI, and favour human model systems over animal studies. To facilitate this research, we have been designing innovative human organoid models to study the biology of infection and to use as a test-bed for assessing new treatments. Using these models, we are investigating how protected bacterial reservoirs might facilitate recurrence and antibiotic resistance.  Our research encompasses microbiology, molecular cell biology, immunology, tissue engineering, metagenomics, high-resolution imaging and biofilm biology.  We work closely with clinicians to study the causative bacteria in patient populations, including renal transplant recipients, the chronically infected elderly, and younger recurrent UTI patients.  We also collaborate with engineers, materials scientists and industry partners to develop novel therapeutics and diagnostic tools with an emphasis on circumventing antibiotic resistance; we are about to commence clinical trials on our most mature therapy design. More recently, we have expaned our research focus to understanding and developing novel treamtents and models for urothelial cancers.

Group Members

Claudio Del Fatti    

PhD Student

  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Antibiotic persistence 
  • Bacterial genomics 
  • Microbial phylogenetics 

Dhanuson Dharmasena   



Clinical Fellow

  • Clinical cohort studies
  • Novel encapsulated therapeutics for UTI

Photo of Carlos Flores
Carlos Flores

Research Fellow

  • Microfluidic platforms for urothelial organoid models
  • Host-pathogen interactions in UTI
Photo of Ben Murray
Ben Murray

PhD Student

  • Bladder cancer and chronic UTI

Nazila Jafari 

Research Fellow

  • Host/pathogen interactions in UTI
  • Organoid development
  • Bacterial virulence
Photo of Sancutha Sathiananthamoorthy
Sanchutha Sathiananthamoorthy   

Research Fellow

  • Microbial ecology
  • Genomics
  • Bladder and pelvic microbiota
  • UTI in renal transplant recipients


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