University of Copenhagen




Our laboratory “Biology of human food relevant pathogens” is headed by Professor Hanne Ingmer and located at the section for Food Safety and Zoonoses, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology at University of Copenhagen. Presently the research group involves Professor Hanne Ingmer, Associate Professor Marianne Halberg Larsen, 1 affiliated professor, 1 additional associate professor, 4 post doc´s, and 10 Ph.D students.
Our science bridge food safety, biology of human bacterial pathogens and control of infectious diseases in humans, food borne pathogenic bacteria and zoonoses and provide new knowledge relevant to prevention and control of such diseases. The work covers the entire food chain from the point of the primary production to the consumer and has a strong foundation in the molecular mechanism that underlies the behavior of microorganisms in this chain.
Bacterial adaptation to changing habitats is a pre-requisite for the success of most human pathogens. Part of such adaptation is the adjustment of metabolism to chancing environments. In S. aureus we study metabolic adaptations such as the development of small colony variants, that have compromised respiratory capacity. In Listeria monocytogenes we examine metabolic adaptations employing chitin metabolism. In Campylobacter jejuni we perform research in the role of glucose metabolism in survival and pathogenesis.
Bacteria also respond to low concentrations of antimicrobials and other compounds such as antibiotics, biocides or bio-active substances. We are interested in knowing how and by which mechanisms such compounds influence important pathogenic properties like virulence or survival in the presence of otherwise lethal concentrations of antibiotics and biocides.

Website of the laboratory :

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Sub-project 3: Regulation of the virulon of L. monocytogenes by carbohydrates





  • 1990-1995 Postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Genetics, Stanford University, Stanford

  • 1990 Ph.D. from Department of Microbiology, Technical University of Denmark

  • 1987 M.Sc. in Engineering, Chemistry from the Technical University of Denmark.

Professional and teaching experience

  • 2004-present:
    Professor in Microbial Food safety, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, UCPH

  • 1995-2004:
    Associate professor at Veterinary Disease Biology, University of Copenhagen

Research Interests

Research covers fundamental and applied studies of bacterial human pathogens related to food. Focus is to understand how pathogens respond and withstand environmental stress and cause disease in humans. Research bridges detailed molecular studies of stress response pathogens with focus on the stress provided by antibiotics and other antimicrobial molecules. Additional research covers studies to identify marine compounds that interfere with virulence in serious human pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus.

Main publications:

  • Miller, C., Thomsen, LE, Gaggero, C., Mosseri, R., H. Ingmer and Stanley N. Cohen (2004). SOS response induction by β-lactams defends bacteria against antibiotic lethality. Science, 305: 1629-31.

  • Kjeldgaard J, Cohn MT, Casey PG, Hill C, Ingmer H. Residual antibiotics disrupt meat fermentation and increase risk of infection. mBio. 2012 Aug 28;3(5). pii: e00190-12. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00190-12.

  • Paulander W, Varming AN, Bæk K, Haaber J, Frees D, H. Ingmer. 2013. Antibiotic-mediated selection of quorum sensing negative Staphylococcus aureus. mBio, 3(6):e00459-12

  • Skovgaard S, Larsen MH, Nielsen LN, Skov RL, Wong C, Westh H, Ingmer H. Recently introduced qacA/B genes in S. epidermidis do not increase chlorhexidine MIC/MBC. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2013.

  • Nielsen LN, Larsen MH, Skovgaard S, Kastbjerg V, Westh H, Gram L, Ingmer H. Staphylococcus aureus but not Listeria monocytogenes adapt to triclosan and adaptation correlates with increased fabI expression and agr deficiency. BMC Microbiol. 2013, 30;13(1):177.






  • 2001-2008 post doc at Dept of Vet Disease Biology, UCPH

  • 2001 Ph.d. from KVL. Visiting student at Marine Biological Laboratory, UCPH

  • 1996-1998 Research Assistant at Department of Veterinary Microbiology, KVL

  • 1996 M.Sc. (Food Science) from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (KVL)

Professional and teaching experience

  • Since 2012:
    deputy head of section (Section of Food Safety and Zoonoses).

  • 2008-present:
    Associate professor at the Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, University of Copenhagen (UCPH)

Research Interests

My research covers fundamental and applied studies with focus on food borne pathogen bacteria and how they live and contaminate food and how they infect and cause disease. More specific subjects have been the role of carbohydrates including chitin for ecology of L. monocytogenes. Bacterial behavior (growth, survival, virulence) has been studied in various food including cheeses, ready to eat meat (fermented sausages and ham), fish filet and processing equipment. I have several national and international collaborators from other universities as well as companies.

Main publications:

  • *Larsen, MH, M. Dalmasso, H. Ingmer, S. Langsrud, M. Malakauskas, A. Mader, T. Møretrø, SS. Mozina, K. Rychli, M. Wagner, R. J. Wallace, J. Zentek, K. Jordan (2014) Persistence of foodborne pathogens and their control in primary and secondary food production chains. Food Control 44 (2014) 92-109

  • *Paspaliari DK, Mollerup MS, Kallipolitis BH, Ingmer H, Larsen MH (2014) Chitinase expression in Listeria monocytogenes is positively regulated by the Agr system. PLoS One. 9(4)

  • *Skovager A, Larsen MH, Castro-Mejia JL, Hecker M, Albrecht D, Gerth U, Arneborg N, Ingmer H. (2013) Initial adhesion of Listeria monocytogenes to fine polished stainless steel under flow conditions is determined by prior growth conditions. Int J Food Microbiol.165(1):35-42.

  • *Rosshaug PS, Detmer A, Ingmer H, and Larsen MH. (2012) Modelling the growth of Listeria monocytogenes in soft blue white cheese. Appl Environ Microbiol. 78(24):8508-14

  • *Nielsen, JS Larsen, MH; Lillebæk, EMS;Bergholz, TM; Christiansen, MHG; Boor, KJ; Wiedmann, M and BH Kallipolitis (2011) A Small RNA Controls Expression of the Chitinase ChiA in Listeria monocytogenes. PLoS One. 2011; 6(4): e19019.


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eulogoThis project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska Curie grant agreement n° 641984

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