mTORUS – Microbiome-based Therapeutic Options for Recurrent Urinary Symptoms

People responsible: Prof. Thomas M. Kessler (Balgrist/UZH) sowie Prof. Gunnar Rätsch (ETH Zürich), Prof. Shinichi Sunagawa (ETH Zürich), Prof. Emma Wetter Slack (ETH Zürich), Prof. Martin J. Loessner (ETH Zürich), Prof. Onur Boyman (USZ/UZH), Prof. Nicola Zamboni (ETH Zürich), Dr. André Kahles (ETH Zürich), Dr. Lorenz Leitner (Balgrist/UZH), Dr. Shawna McCallin (Balgrist/UZH), Dr. Alaz Oezcan (USZ/UZH), Prof. John McKinney (ETH Lausanne)

Infectious disease treatments have traditionally considered microbes as enemies to be eliminated, mostly with antibiotics. However, scientific findings in the last decade make it increasingly clear that the abundant microorganisms living in and on us actually play a major role in our health and can create a barrier to infection. Indiscriminate antibiotic therapy fails for many bacterial infections, not only because pathogens are increasingly antibiotic resistant, but also because disruption of the microbiota inhibits the return to a state of health. For thousands of people in Zurich and millions worldwide suffering from urinary tract infections, antibiotics have long been the only option. Here we aim to generate microbiome-based therapies that are designed from the close and detailed observation of real people, both healthy and sick.

Analyzing this clinical data with advanced technology and computational approaches will help us to better design sustainable microbiome treatments that simultaneously eliminate the pathogen using engineered phages and restore health via microbiota transplantation. By treating the urinary tract as an ecosystem to be restored, rather than a tube to be sterilized, we aim to establish new norms in the clinical management of infectious disease, with major impacts on the quality-of-life of millions of patients.



Project start mid-2023

Made possible by:

Monique Dornonville de la Cour-Foundation

Tailored treatment of urinary tract infections

↑ Interview with Prof. Kessler (in German)

Project Overview



Prof. Dr. Thomas M. Kessler
Head Physician Neuro-Urology University Clinic Balgrist
Extraordinarius Neuro-Urology University of Zurich


Duration: 2023 – 2028


Universities: ETH Zürich, University of Zurich


Hospitals: University Clinic Balgrist, University Hospital Zurich


Researchers: 25


Partner: EPFL


Patients: 375