Yvonne Achermann



Propionibacterium species (currently named as Cutibacterium sp): Prevention, diagnosis and treatment

The use of orthopedic implants has been increasing steadily in the last 50 years, but despite considerable technological advances including perioperative antimicrobial prophylaxis, implant-associated infections remain a serious complication. These infections are caused by bacteria in the biofilm on the implant surfaces.
Implant-associated infections such as periprosthetic joint infections or spinal implant-associated infections are a feared complication after orthopedic surgery. These infections are usually difficult to treat, because microorganisms persist in biofilms on the orthopedic implant surface. Therefore, it would be desirable to prevent these infections.
Cutibacterium spp. are bacteria which normally colonize the human skin but they can also cause invasive infections in presence of an implant such as shoulder or hip prosthetic joint infections (Achermann et al., CMR, 2015, Achermann et al. Clin Infect Dis 2018;66(1): 54-63).
An improved prevention or an early diagnosis is the main objective of this research area to reduce morbidity in implant-associated infections caused by Propionibacterium sp. (currently named as Cutibacterium sp).



  • Doctoral thesis student: Steven Maurer
  • Medical master student: Natalie Gassmann

Previous Junior Researchers

2018 (submitted) Fabian Kalt (master thesis): 

Corynebacterium species rarely cause orthopedic infections. Leitung und Betreuung Y. Achermann.


2018 Fabienne Rüber (master thesis): 

Charakteristika und Outcome Analyse von periprothetischen Gelenksinfektionen mit einem zweizeitigen Wechsel der Prothese an der Schulthess Klinik in Zürich. Leitung und Betreuung Y. Achermann.


2018 (submitted)  Laura Stadler (master thesis): 

Inflammatory disorders mimicking periprosthetic joint infections may result in false-positive α-defensin. Leitung und Betreuung Y. Achermann.


2018 Laura Böni (master thesis): 

Cutibacterium avidum colonization in the groin is associated with obesity. Leitung und Betreuung Y. Achermann.


2018 Judith Glanzmann (master thesis): 

Optimierung der Diagnostik bei Verdacht auf einen Protheseninfekt. Leitung A. Zinkernagel. Betreuung: Y. Achermann.


2017 Daniel Bossard (doctoral thesis):
Optimal cultivation length to isolate Propioni


08/2018 (ongoing)

Clinical and microbiological study: Association between clinical and microbiological characteristics and treatment outcome in Cutibacterium sp. periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) – a multicenter study in Europe (PI: Y. Achermann, Co-PI: J. Esteban, supported by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases)

10/2018 (ongoing)

Clinical and microbiological study: Optimal skin antisepsis to reduce Cutibacterium avidum colonization as a risk factor for periprosthetic joint infections (PI: Y. Achermann, Swiss Life Jubiläumsstiftung funding CHF 20'000)


07/2018 (ongoing)

Basic Science: Pulsed electromagnetic field stimulation: proof of concept in sheep model for microbial challenge (PI S. Darwiche, Co-PI Y. Achermann, industry (DePuy Synthesis)-sponsored trial)


01/2018 (ongoing)

Clinical study: Retrospective Multicentre Study on Characteristics of Deep Spinal Implant Infections in Adult Patients Treated with Implant Retention (PI: T. Kramer, Local PI in Zurich: Y. Achermann, supported by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases)


09/2017 (ongoing)

Clinical study: Prospective observational cohort study on periprosthetic joint infections (PI: P. Zingg and Y. Achermann


12/2016 (ongoing)

Basic Science: The role of Propionibacterium acnes infection in intervertebral disc inflammation (PI: K. Würtz and Y. Achermann, CABMM start up grant CH 27'824)

Research collaboration

  • Prof. Andrew McDowell, Assistant Professor in Stratified Medicine NI Centre for Stratified  Medicine, Ulster, UK
  • Prof. Karin Wuertz-Kozak, R.Ph., Ph.D., MBA, Institute for Biomechanics, ETH Zurich
  • Prof. Reinhard Zbinden, MD, Institut für medizinische Mikrobiologie, Zürich, Schweiz
  • Prof. Annelies Zinkernagel, MD Klinik für Infektionskrankheiten und Spitalhygiene, Zürich, Schweiz


PD Dr. med. Yvonne Achermann
Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology
University Hospital Zurich
Rämistrasse 100
CH-8091 Zürich