Dr. Fabienne Benz

Dr.  Fabienne Benz


ETH Zürich

Hall, Alex

CHN G 35.1

Universitätstrasse 16

8092 Zürich


  • +41 44 632 67 31
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Additional information

Research area

I work with clinical antibiotic resistance plasmids and their native Enterobacteriaceae hosts to better understand what makes these plasmids spread in bacterial populations. I believe that the specific combination of bacterial host and plasmid is a relevant determinant for the spread of antibiotic resistance plasmids in clinical settings. Using experimental evolution, quantitative analyses and molecular tools, I aim to better understand the interaction of plasmid and host and how they can evolve to become a better fit.


Due to their competitive nature, plasmids have evolved strategies to limit the spread of other plasmids. One of these active plasmid-competition mechanisms might be the type IV CRISPR-Cas system, which is exclusively found on plasmids and has been shown to predominantly target other plasmids. During my SNSF Doc.Mobility fellowships I started working with type IV CRISPR-Cas systems from clinical K. pneumoniae isolates. I investigate the molecular mechanisms of subtype IV-A3 CRISPR-Cas systems and its involvement in plasmid competition.


For my future research I aim to combine plasmid population biology with the molecular biology of CRISPR-Cas. A better understanding of the potential role of CRISPR-Cas in plasmid warfare might allow us to exploit this knowledge to generate new tools to eradicate widely disseminated antibiotic resistance plasmids from the clinic.


Google scholar profile


Curriculum Vitae

  • 2015-2017: MSc of Science ETH in Environmental Science 
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