Ester Eckert
 Permanent Researcher


Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
+39 0323 518321 (Telephone)
+39 0323 556513 (Fax)
Research Interests: My scientific activity comprises a broad range of topics from animal microbiomes, over antibiotic resistance genes to meiofauna in mainly aquatic environments. Consequently, my preferred scientific area is a multidisciplinary approach comprising all the above topics. The question that interests me most is how species interactions on multiple trophic levels influences the persistence of antibiotic resistance genes and bacteria in the environment. The main questions comprise:
How stable and flexible are microbiomes, how easily are they invaded by allochthonous bacteria?
Do small animals rather remove antibiotic resistant bacteria, or do they provide them with a surface to grow on and thereby persist?
Once such surfaces are inhabited by bacteria carrying antibiotic resistance genes can they be horizontally transferred to other bacteria?
I manage the NGS facility of the MEG.
Education: Oct 2005 – Nov 2008, Bachelor studies in biology at the Unversity of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Jul – Sep 2008, Research internship in microbial ecology, Under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Grossart, Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fishery Neuglobsow, Germany
Nov 2008 – Jan 2012, Master thesis in Biology (Microbiology) entitled: Dynamics and ecophysiology of bacteria during a phytoplankton spring bloom in Lake Zurich Under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Jakob Pernthaler, Limnological Station, Institute of Plant Biology University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Mar 2010 – Oct 2013, PhD studies in Natural Sciences (Biology, Microbiology) entitled: Organic carbon uptake by bacteria with different live strategies – Successions and unexplored food web interactions Under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Jakob Pernthaler, Limnological Station, Institute of Plant Biology University of Zurich, Switzerland
Mar 2014-Gen 2015, Post-doc position at the MEG of the CNR - Institute of Ecosystem Study Verbania in the research group of Dr. Gianluca Corno
Feb 2015 - Nov 2017 Marie Curie Fellow at the MEG, with Dr. Diego Fontaneto. From Dec 2018 Permanent Researcher at the MEG.
Other Activities: Member of the local organizing committee of the 1st EMBO Conference on Aquatic Microbial Ecology (SAME13), 2013, Stresa, Italy; Member of the local organizing committee of the 33rd Congress of the International Society of Limnology (SIL 33), 2016, Turin, Italy; External expert within the category 'biology and environment' for the national competition of the foundation Schweizer Jugend Forscht (the Swiss youth in science foundation), 2013 & 2014. Organizer of the internal R-programming course and Journal Club.

Publications (just click here)  GoogleSch


Selected Publications:

Eckert, E. M., Galafassi, S., Navarro, M. B., Di Cesare, A., & Corno, G. (2023). Increased similarity of aquatic bacterial communities of different origin after antibiotic disturbance. Environmental Pollution, 316, 120568.

Di Cesare, A., Riva, F., Colinas, N., Borgomaneiro, G., Borin, S., Cabello-Yeves, P. J., ... & Eckert, E. M. (2022). Zooplankton as a transitional host for Escherichia coli in freshwater. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 88(9), e02522-21.

Eckert EM, Di Cesare A, Fontaneto D, et al. (2020) Every fifth published metagenome is not available to science. PLoS Biology 18, e3000698.

Eckert EM, Quero GM, Di Cesare A, et al. (2019) Antibiotic disturbance affects aquatic microbial community composition and food web interactions but not community resilience. Molecular ecology 28, 1170-1182.

Eckert EM, Di Cesare A, Stenzel B, Fontaneto D, Corno G (2016) Daphnia as a refuge for an antibiotic resistance gene in an experimental freshwater community. Science of The Total Environment 571, 77-81.

Eckert EM, Di Cesare A, Coci M, Corno G (2018) Persistence of antibiotic resistance genes in large subalpine lakes: the role of anthropogenic pollution and ecological interactions. Hydrobiologia 824, 93-108.

Eckert EM, Pernthaler J (2014) Bacterial epibionts of Daphnia: a potential route for the transfer of dissolved organic carbon in freshwater food webs. ISME J 8, 1808-1819.