Laboratory of microbial ecosystems in human medicine

The study of the microbiome and metabolome, host-microorganism interactions, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Research areas:

  1. The study of human microbial ecosystems in both physiological and pathological conditions, with particular focus on the vaginal, pharyngeal, intestinal, and ocular microbiome;
  2. The study of the microbial metabolome under different conditions;
  3. The interaction between health-promoting and pathogenic bacteria in the uro-genital tract;
  4. In vitro evaluation of the physio-pathogenic mechanisms of infection by Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae;
  5. The molecular epidemiology of infections due to Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae;

Research projects:

  1. The role of the vaginal microbiome and metabolome during pregnancy and their influence on the outcome of the delivery.
  2. The study of the ocular microbiome in patients with Graft vs Host Disease.
  3. The study of the vaginal microbiome and metabolome in women with genitourinary syndrome of menopause.
  4. The study of the urobiome in women with urethritis due to Chlamydia trachomatis.
  5. The study of the microbiome in fecal microbiota donors.
  6. The study of the vaginal and rectal microbiome in women with Chlamydia trachomatis infections and the distribution of genes resistant to tetracycline e macrolide antibiotics.
  7. The evaluation of the metabolome of Candida under stress conditions caused by anti-fungal drugs.
  8. The evaluation of the prebiotic and antimicrobial activity of vaginal lactobacilli compared to that of pathogens of the genitourinary tract.
  9. The pathogenic mechanisms of Chlamydia trachomatis in in vitro cell models, with particular focus on the metabolism and membrane interactions.
  10. The anti-microbial effects of natural substances against pathogens of the genitourinary tract.
  11. The colonization and genotyping of Neisseria meningitidis in MSM patients with pharyngeal gonococcus infections.
  12. The distribution of gonococcus genotypes in the genital area in high-risk subjects.

Instrumentation available:

  • PROMEGA MAXWELL MDx extractor
  • Thermal cycler Applied Biosystems QUANTSTUDIO 1
  • 2 thermal cyclers for PCR end-point
  • Thermostatically controlled water bath
  • Freezer -80°C
  • CO2 incubators
  • Refrigerators at 4° C and freezers at -20°C
  • Benchtop centrifuge
  • Centrifuge Allegra X-12R
  • Ultracentrifuge L-70 (Beckman)
  • Agitator
  • Biohazard Jupiter fume hood
  • Laminar flow fume hood
  • Optical and fluorescent microscope (Nikon)
  • Invertited microscope for cell cultures (Nikon)
  • Lab homogenizer Stomacher
  • Image acquisition system with UV/white light transilluminator (Biorad).

Principal Investigators


Sara Morselli

PhD Student


Prof. Luca Laghi (DISTAL);

Prof. Vittorio Sambri (DIMES);

Dott.ssa Sara Zagonari (AUSL Romagna)

Prof.ssa Piera Versura (DIMES);

Prof.ssa Maria Cristina Meriggiola (DIMEC);

Dott. Marco Severgnini e Dott.ssa Clarissa Consolandi (CNR, Milano);

Prof. Vincenzo Stanghellini, Prof. Giovanni Barbara, Prof.ssa Patrizia Brigidi e Prof. Andrea Pession (DIMEC);

Prof.ssa Maddalena Rossi (UNIMORE);

Dott.ssa Monica Cricca (DIMES);

Prof.ssa Beatrice Vitali (FaBiT);

Prof.ssa Natalia Calonghi (FaBiT);

Prof. Gianandrea Pasquinelli (DIMES);

Dott.ssa Valeria Gaspari (U.O. Dermatologia, Sant’Orsola);

How to reach us

IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliera-Universitaria di Bologna

Pad.11, Ala D, 2° piano, UOC Microbiologia