A pathogen’s proteins show whether it is resistant


We are developing a diagnostic method to identify resistances based on protein abundance in pathogens. The analytical process we implement should deliver informative results quickly.

Project description (ongoing research project)

Broad-spectrum antibiotics from the cephalosporin group are generally effective against pathogenic enterobacteria. However, as an increasing number of pathogens are becoming resistant to these antibiotics the use of drugs of last resort is growing – frequently without full knowledge of the resistance situation. We are developing a diagnostic method capable of determining resistances in a matter of hours. It analyses the protein composition of bacteria in samples taken directly from patients, thus eliminating the need for the time-consuming process of microbial cultivation that is standard practice today. To ensure that our project produces meaningful results, we are investigating in a first step which proteins in enterobacteria are responsible for resistances.


Once germs become resistant to cephalosporins, drugs of last resort are often the only option. However, doctors often use these drugs without being fully aware of the resistance situation. This is because the tests used today take too long to deliver clear results. Faster methods would help to ensure a more targeted use of antibiotics.


We aim to determine the proteins that either cause cephalosporin resistance in enterobacteria or increase the risk of resistance developing during treatment. Our intention is then to use a new diagnostic method to detect these proteins in samples taken directly from patients. The method should take less than five hours from sample to diagnosis.


Our test could be easily incorporated into the routine diagnostic tests that are currently run in laboratories. It would then contribute significantly to ensuring a more targeted use of antibiotics in the very near future.

Original title

ESBL-MS: Early diagnosis of ESBL Enteriobacteriaceae in patient samples

Project leaders

  • Prof. Dirk Bumann, Biozentrum der Universität Basel
  • Prof. Richard Neher, Biozentrum der Universität Basel
  • Dr. Adrian Egli, Departement Biomedizin, Universitätsspital Basel



Further information on this content



Prof. Dirk Bumann Biozentrum der Universität Basel Systembiologie Klingelbergstrasse 50/70 4056 Basel +41 61 267 21 21