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Pia Abel zur Wiesch

Computational Pharmacology, Research Group


Young Associate Investigator, NCMM, Nordic EMBL partnership

Seniorforsker (Associate Professor, tenure track), Institute for Pharmacy, UiT

Visiting Assistant Professor, Yale School of Public Health


Antibiotics, Population Biology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Tuberculosis, Infectious Diseases, Public Health, Mathematical Modelling


The Systems Pharmacology group uses theoretical models in close collaboration with experimentalists and clinicians to explore how we could use both within-host and population-wide drug treatment strategies to minimize human morbidity and mortality. Our focus is bacterial population dynamics, specifically pathogen population dynamics of anti-infective therapy. The focus of our research is rationalizing antibiotic treatment by bridging the gap between intracellular reaction kinetics and bacterial population dynamics to improve dosing regimens in tuberculosis therapy. We link single cell analyses (John McKinney, EPFL Lausanne) to clinical studies (TB Alliance, Martin Boeree, & Rob Arnoutse, Radboud University) and are funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation. These models are also employed to develop new extended release technologies together with gastroenterologists at Harvard Medical School and MIT (Giovanni Traverso and Andrew Bellinger). In collaboration with researchers at the Department for Systems Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School (Adam Palmer), and Simon Fraser University, Vancouver (Leonid Chindelevitch), we explore how resistance mechanisms affect bacterial susceptibility. In addition, we recently developed a method to infer pathogen population dynamics with researchers at Harvard Medical School (Sören Abel, now NCMM) and work on resistance evolution in nosocomial infections and tuberculosis.

Group members:

Group members:


Fabrizio Clarelli
Alireza Shams (shared with Yale School of Public Health)

PhD student
Antal Martinecz

Statistician (20%)
Frode Skjold

Collaboration Partners
Ted Cohen, Yale School of Public Health
Sören Abel, University Tromsø, Harvard Medical School & NCMM
Matthew Waldor, Harvard Medical School
Giovanni Traverso & Andrew Bellinger, MIT & MGH/Harvard Medical School
Helen Jenkins, Boston University
Khisi Mdluli & Carl Mendel, TB Alliance
John McKinney & Neeraj Dhar, EPFL Lausanne
Adam Palmer, Harvard Medical School
Leonid Chindelevitch, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver
Dominique Cadosch & Sebastian Bonhoeffer, ETH Zürich
Roger Kouyos, University Hospital Zürich
Jan Engelstädter, University of Queensland

Alternativ kontaktinformasjon


Biografiske data

Dr. Abel zur Wiesch grew up in Freiburg, Germany where she attended latin school majoring in mathematics and chemistry. She went on to study biochemistry and molecular biology at the University Kiel, Germany, Griffith University, Australia and University Basel, Switzerland. After passing her MSc with distinction, she worked at Roche Diagnostics and was an intern at WHO before beginning her PhD in Theoretical Biology at ETH Zurich, Switzerland with Sebastian Bonhoeffer. Dr. Abel zur Wiesch received the ETH Medal for an outstanding PhD thesis (for upper 8% of PhD students at ETH). During her work as Research Fellow with Ted Cohen at Harvard Medical School and Yale School of Public Health, she held several career development grants from the German Academic Exchange Service and the Swiss National Science Foundation. In 2015, Dr. Abel zur Wiesch became a Young Associate Investigator at the Norwegian Center for Molecular Medicine (Nordic EMBL Network) and joined the Institute of Pharmacy at UiT as a tenure track Associate Professor. At the same time, she holds a visiting professorship at the Department for Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at Yale School of Public Health, where she spends 20% of her time.

Andre publikasjoner

A Kunkel*, P Abel zur Wiesch*, RR Nathavitharana, FM Marx, HE Jenkins, T Cohen

BMC infectious diseases 16 (1), 282

 Hubbard PT, Chao MC, Abel S, Blondel CJ, Abel zur Wiesch P, Zhou X, Davis BM, and Waldor MK.
PNAS (2016) published ahead of print doi:10.1073/pnas.1601718113.

 Cadosch D, Abel zur Wiesch P, Kouyos RD, and Bonhoeffer, S.
PLOS Computational Biology (2016) 12 (3):e1004749.

Salvatore P, Becerra M, Abel zur Wiesch P, Hinkley T, Kaur D, Sloutsky A, Cohen T
Fitness costs of drug-resistance mutations in multidrug resistant M. tuberculosis: a household-based case-control study.
J. Infect. Dis. (2015) pii: jiv347. [Epub ahead of print]

Abel S, Abel zur Wiesch P, Davis BM, and Waldor MK
Analysis of bottlenecks in experimental models of infection.
PLOS PATHOGENS (2015) 11(6):e1004823

Abel zur Wiesch P#, Abel S, Gkotzis S, Ocampo P, Engelstädter J, Hinkley T, Magnus C, Waldor MK, Udekwu K, and Cohen T
Classic reaction kinetics can explain complex patterns of antibiotic action.
SCI. TRANSL. MED. (2015) 7(287):287ra73    

Abel S, Abel zur Wiesch P, Chang H-H, Davis BM, Lipsitch M, and Waldor MK
Sequence tag-based analysis of pathogen population dynamics.
Nature Methods (2015) 12(3):223-6

Kouyos RD, Metcalf CJE, Birger R, Klein EY, Abel zur Wiesch P, Ankomah P, et al.
The path of least resistance: aggressive or moderate treatment?
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2014) 281(1794):20140566

Ocampo PS, Lazar V, Bogos B, Arnoldini M, Abel zur Wiesch P, Busa-Fekete R, Fekete G, Pal C, Ackermann M and Bonhoeffer S
Antagonism is prevalent between bacteriostatic and bactericidal antibiotics.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (2014) 58(8):4573-82

Abel zur Wiesch P#*, Kouyos RD*, Abel S, Viechtbauer W, and Bonhoeffer S
Optimal antibiotic treatment in hospitals: meta-analysis and models.
PLOS Pathogens (2014) 10(6):e1004225

Abel S, Bucher T, Nicollier M, Hug I, Kaever V, Abel zur Wiesch P, Jenal U
Bi-modal Distribution of the Second Messenger c-di-GMP Controls Cell Fate and Asymmetry during the Caulobacter Cell Cycle.
PLOS Genetics (2013) 9(9):e1003744

Kouyos RD*, Abel zur Wiesch P*, Bonhoeffer S
On being the right size: the impact of population size and stochastic effects on the evolution of drug resistance in hospitals and the community.
PLOS Pathogens (2011) 7(4):e1001334.

Kouyos RD, Abel zur Wiesch P, Bonhoeffer S
Informed Switching Strongly Decreases the Prevalence of Antibiotic Resistance in Hospital Wards.
PLOS Computational Biology (2011) 7(3):e1001094.

Abel zur Wiesch P*, Kouyos R*, Engelstädter J, Regoes R, Bonhoeffer S
Population biological principles of resistance evolution in infectious diseases.
Lancet Infectious Diseases (2011) 11(3):236-247.

Bonhoeffer S, Abel zur Wiesch P, and Kouyos RD
Rotating antibiotics does not minimize selection for resistance.
Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering (2010) 7(4):919-922.

Schulz zur Wiesch P#, Engelstädter J, and Bonhoeffer S
Compensation of Fitness Costs and Reversibility of Antibiotic Resistance Mutations.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (2010) 54(5):2085-95

Priser og utmerkelser

ETH medal for outstanding PhD thesis

Fellowships and Grants:

Nov. 2016:                           Work package leader JPIAMR (total grant: 1.8 Mio EUR, 350000 EUR to PzW)

Nov. 2016:                           Work package leader Horizon 2020 (total grant: 5.82 Mio EUR, 644000 EUR to PzW)

Dec 2015:                            Co-PI research grant Helse Nord (main PI: Soren Abel)

Dec 2015:                            Co-PI research grant FRIPRO (main PI: Soren Abel)

Sep ‘14                                Research grant Bill & Melinda Gates foundation ($374,312, Co-PI w/Ted Cohen)

Apr ‘13                                 Swiss National Science Foundation ($220,000)

Apr ‘12                                 Fellowship by German Academic Exchange Service ($72,800)

June ‘11                               Swiss National Science Foundation ($54,000)

June ’10                              Scholarship, Summer Institute Modeling in Infectious Diseases

Aug ‘08-May ’11                  E-fellows scholarship

Jul-Oct ‘03                          Travel scholarship Foundation of German Business (SDW)

May ‘03-Oct ’04                  Fellowship Foundation of German Business (SDW)


Arbeider i CRIStin

  • Martinecz, Antal; Abel zur Wiesch, Pia. Estimating treatment prolongation for persistent infections. Pathogens and Disease 2018; Volum 76 (6). ISSN 2049-632X.s doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/femspd/fty065.

  • Abel zur Wiesch, Pia; Clarelli, Fabrizio; Cohen, Ted. Using chemical reaction kinetics to predict optimal antibiotic treatment strategies. PloS Computational Biology 2017; Volum 13:e1005321 (1). ISSN 1553-734X.s 1 - 28.s doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005321.

  • Zhang, Ting; Abel, Sören; Abel zur Wiesch, Pia; Sasabe, Jumpei; Davis, Brigid M.; Higgins, Darren E.; Waldor, Matthew K.. Deciphering the landscape of host barriers to Listeria monocytogenes infection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2017; Volum 114 (24). ISSN 0027-8424.s 6334 - 6339.s doi: 10.1073/pnas.1702077114.

  • Cadosch, Dominique; Abel zur Wiesch, Pia; Kouyos, Roger; Bonhoeffer, Sebastian. The Role of Adherence and Retreatment in De Novo Emergence of MDR-TB. PloS Computational Biology 2016; Volum 12 (3). ISSN 1553-734X.s doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004749.

  • Kunkel, Amber; Abel zur Wiesch, Pia; Nathavitharana, Ruvandhi R.; Marx, Florian M.; Jenkins, Helen E.; Cohen, Ted. Smear positivity in paediatric and adult tuberculosis: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Infectious Diseases 2016; Volum 16 (282). ISSN 1471-2334.s 1 - 9.s doi: 10.1186/s12879-016-1617-9.

  • Hubbard, Troy; Chao, Michael C; Abel, Sören; Blondel, Carlos J; Abel zur Wiesch, Pia; Zhou, Xiaohui; Davis, Brigid M.; Waldor, Matthew K.. Genetic analysis of vibrio parahaemolyticus intestinal colonization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2016; Volum 113 (22). ISSN 0027-8424.s 6283 - 6288.s doi: 10.1073/pnas.1601718113.

  • Abel zur Wiesch, Pia; Abel, Sören; Gkotzis, Spyridon; Ocampo, Paolo; Engelstädter, Jan; Hinkley, Trevor; Magnus, Carsten; Waldor, Matthew K.; Udekwu, Klas; Cohen, Ted. Classic reaction kinetics can explain complex patterns of antibiotic action. Science Translational Medicine 2015; Volum 7 (287). ISSN 1946-6234.s doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa8760.

  • Abel, Sören; Schulz Zur Wiesch, Pia; Davis, Brigid M.; Waldor, Matthew K.. Analysis of Bottlenecks in Experimental Models of Infection. PLoS Pathogens 2015; Volum 11:e1004823 (6). ISSN 1553-7366.s doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004823.

  • Abel zur Wiesch, Pia; Cohen, Ted; Mostowy, Rafał; Shams, Alireza. Predicting Antibiotic Pharmacodynamics Using Chemical Kinetics. (data) (fulltekst) 2017.

  • Annet
    Norwegian Center for Molecular Medicine (NCMM), Nordic EMBL network

    Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases
    Yale School of Public Health (YSPH)

    WE GOT GRANTS! In the near future, I will advertise: a postdoc position working on new TB drugs (mathematical modelling) and a postdoc/scientist working on TB biomarkers (bioinformatics) funded by the EU Horizon2020 program, and a postdoc position working on antibiotic resistance (mathematical modelling) funded by JPIAMR.
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