Department of Medical Biology veronika.k.pettersen@uit.no +4777646807 Tromsø MH L9.214

Veronika K. Pettersen

Associate Professor

Job description

Microbiologist exploring the biochemistry of the gut microbiome, affiliated with the Host-Microbe Interactions and Paediatric Research groups. Position funded by Centre for New Antibacterial Strategies.

Past position

  • 2018-2020 Visiting researcher, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada
  • 2013-2017 Postdoctor, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Bergen, Norway
  • 2008-2012 PhD fellow, Department of Biotechnology and Food Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway


  • PhD Biotechnology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • MSc Biotechnology, Technical University of Denmark
  • BSc Biochemistry, University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague

  • Samara, Jumana; Moossavi, Shirin; Alshaikh, Belal; Ortega, Van A.; Pettersen, Veronika K.; Ferdous, Tahsin; Hoops, Suzie L.; Soraisham, Amuchou; Vayalumkal, Joseph; Dersch-Mills, Deonne; Gerber, Jeffrey S.; Mukhopadhyay, Sagori; Puopolo, Karen; Tompkins, Thomas A.; Knights, Dan; Walter, Jens; Amin, Harish; Arrieta, Marie-Claire. Supplementation with a probiotic mixture accelerates gut microbiome maturation and reduces intestinal inflammation in extremely preterm infants. Cell Host and Microbe 2022. ISSN 1931-3128.s doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2022.04.005.
  • Pettersen, Veronika K.; Antunes, Luis Caetano Martha; Dufour, Antoine; Arrieta, Marie-Claire. Inferring early-life host and microbiome functions by mass spectrometry-based metaproteomics and metabolomics. Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal 2022; Volum 20. ISSN 2001-0370.s 274 - 286.s doi: 10.1016/j.csbj.2021.12.012.
  • Pettersen, Veronika K.; Dufour, Antoine; Arrieta, Marie-Claire. Metaproteomic profiling of fungal gut colonization in gnotobiotic mice. Animal Microbiome 2022; Volum 14. ISSN 2524-4671.s doi: 10.1186/s42523-022-00163-2.
  • Mohammed, Marwan; Pettersen, Veronika K.; Nerland, Audun Helge; Wiker, Harald Gotten; Bakken, Vidar. Label-free quantitative proteomic analysis of the oral bacteria Fusobacterium nucleatum and Porphyromonas gingivalis to identify protein features relevant in biofilm formation. Anaerobe 2021; Volum 72. ISSN 1075-9964.s doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2021.102449.
  • Pettersen, Veronika Kucharova; Steinsland, Hans; Wiker, Harald G. Distinct Metabolic Features of Pathogenic Escherichia coli and Shigella spp. Determined by Label‐Free Quantitative Proteomics. Proteomics 2020. ISSN 1615-9853.s doi: 10.1002/pmic.202000072.
  • Pettersen, Veronika Kucharova; Arrieta, Marie-Claire. Host–microbiome intestinal interactions during early life: considerations for atopy and asthma development. Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2020. ISSN 1528-4050.s doi: 10.1097/ACI.0000000000000629.
  • van Tilburg Bernardes, Erik; Pettersen, Veronika Kucharova; W. Gutierrez, Mackenzie; Isabelle, Laforest-Lapointe; Marie-Claire, Arrieta. Intestinal fungi are causally implicated in microbiome assembly and immune development in mice. Nature Communications 2020. ISSN 2041-1723.s doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16431-1.
  • Pettersen, Veronika Kucharova; Steinsland, Hans; Wiker, Harald G. Comparative proteomics of enterotoxigenic escherichia coli reveals differences in surface protein production and similarities in metabolism. Journal of Proteome Research 2018; Volum 17 (1). ISSN 1535-3893.s 325 - 336.s doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.7b00593.
  • Kittang, Bård Reiakvam; Pettersen, Veronika Kucharova; Oppegaard, Oddvar; Skutlaberg, Dag Harald; Dale, Håvard; Wiker, Harald G; Skrede, Steinar. Zoonotic necrotizing myositis caused by Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus in a farmer. BMC Infectious Diseases 2017; Volum 17:147. ISSN 1471-2334.s 1 - 8.s doi: 10.1186/s12879-017-2262-7.
  • Mohammed, Marwan; Pettersen, Veronika Kucharova; Nerland, Audun Helge; Wiker, Harald G; Bakken, Vidar. Quantitative proteomic analysis of extracellular matrix extracted from mono- and dual-species biofilms of Fusobacterium nucleatum and Porphyromonas gingivalis. Anaerobe 2017; Volum 44. ISSN 1075-9964.s 133 - 142.s doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2017.03.002.
  • Pettersen, Veronika Kucharova; Mosevoll, Knut Anders; Lindemann, Paul Christoffer; Wiker, Harald G. Coordination of metabolism and virulence factors expression of extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli purified from blood cultures of patients with sepsis. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics 2016; Volum 15 (9). ISSN 1535-9476.s 2890 - 2907.s doi: 10.1074/mcp.M116.060582.
  • Pettersen, Veronika Kucharova; Steinsland, Hans; Wiker, Harald G. Improving genome annotation of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli TW10598 by a label-free quantitative MS/MS approach. Proteomics 2015; Volum 15 (22). ISSN 1615-9853.s 3826 - 3834.s doi: 10.1002/pmic.201500278.
  • Kucharova, Veronika; Wiker, Harald G. Proteogenomics in microbiology: Taking the right turn at the junction of genomics and proteomics. Proteomics 2014; Volum 14 (23-24). ISSN 1615-9853.s 2360 - 2675.s doi: 10.1002/pmic.201400168.
  • Kucharova, Veronika; Skancke, Jørgen; Brautaset, Trygve; Valla, Svein. Design and optimization of short DNA sequences that can be used as 5' fusion partners for high-level expression of heterologous genes in Escherichia coli. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2013; Volum 79 (21). ISSN 0099-2240.s 6655 - 6664.s doi: 10.1128/AEM.01676-13.
  • Heggeset, Tonje Marita Bjerkan; Kucharova, Veronika; Nærdal, Ingemar; Valla, Svein; Sletta, Håvard; Ellingsen, Trond Erling; Brautaset, Trygve. Combinatorial Mutagenesis and Selection of Improved Signal Sequences and Their Application for High-Level Production of Translocated Heterologous Proteins in Escherichia coli. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2013; Volum 79 (2). ISSN 0099-2240.s 559 - 568.s doi: 10.1128/AEM.02407-12.
  • Kucharova, Veronika; Aakvik, Trine; Almaas, Eivind; Naas, Adrian Ertsås; Brautaset, Trygve; Valla, Svein. Non-Invasive Analysis of Recombinant mRNA Stability in Escherichia coli by a Combination of Transcriptional Inducer Wash-Out and qRT-PCR. PLOS ONE 2013; Volum 8 (6). ISSN 1932-6203.s doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066429.
  • Balzer, Simone; Kucharova, Veronika; Megerle, Judith; Lale, Rahmi; Brautaset, Trygve; Valla, Svein. A comparative analysis of the properties of regulated promoter systems commonly used for recombinant gene expression in Escherichia coli. Microbial Cell Factories 2013; Volum 12 (26). ISSN 1475-2859.s 1 - 14.s doi: 10.1186/1475-2859-12-26.
  • Berg, Laila; Kucharova, Veronika; Bakke, Ingrid; Valla, Svein; Brautaset, Trygve. Exploring the 5 '-UTR DNA region as a target for optimizing recombinant gene expression from the strong and inducible Pm promoter in Escherichia coli. Journal of Biotechnology 2012; Volum 158 (4). ISSN 0168-1656.s 224 - 230.s doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2011.07.012.
  • Pettersen, Veronika K.; Fiksdal, Marit. Mother-to-child microbial transmission: important for human health and challenged by modern lifestyle. (data) 2021.
  • Pettersen, Veronika K.; Hatteng, Bjørn. Front Cover: Distinct Metabolic Features of Pathogenic Escherichia coli and Shigella spp. Determined by Label‐Free Quantitative Proteomics. Proteomics 2021. ISSN 1615-9853.
  • Kucharova, Veronika. Expression of recombinant proteins in Escherichia coli: The influence of the nucleotide sequences at the 5´ ends of target genes. 2012 ISBN 978-82-471-3888-5.
  • Look at all works in CRIStin →

    Research interests

    I explore metabolite and protein signatures of the gut microbiome to understand its biochemical functions.  I am interested in how the microbiome mediates colonization resistance against pathogens, how it is linked to cancer development, and how it is formed in infancy. I use the knowledge of these essential gut microbiome functions to formulate strategies for disease prevention.


    Gut Microbiome-based Biomarkers to Prevent Infections by Antimicrobial Resistant Bacteria in Infancy 

    funded by Helse Nord RHF

    The microbial community living in the human intestine provides first-line defence against enteric pathogens. Exploiting symbiotic bacteria for pathogen suppression is a viable alternative to the use of antibiotics in preventing infections.

    This research project leverages two cohort studies of term infants to describe the biochemical impact of antibiotics and probiotics on their gut microbiome. The first is a randomized clinical trial co-led by the Paediatric Research group in Tromsø (UiT/UNN), which investigates the effects of probiotic therapy in Tanzanian children and its potential to prevent infections by ESBL-producing Enterobacterales (ProRIDE: Probiotics to Reduce Infections and Death and Prevent Colonization with ESBL- producing bacteria). The second study is a prospective, observational pilot study of infants with suspected symptoms of infection during the 1st week of life leading to antibiotic therapy (IMPALE: Impact of Antibiotics on the Neonatal Metabolome). The aim of both studies is to describe changes in faecal metabolites and microbial composition in association with antibiotic/probiotic use, drug-resistant strain colonization, and a risk of infection.

    Compositional and metabolic changes of the gut microbiome in childhood cancers 

    funded by Barnekreftforeningen

    The project is a collaboration between the Paediatric Research group at UiT, Norwegian Childhood Cancer Biobank, and researchers from the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis at the University of Oslo.

    The gut microbiome has been implicated as a possible driver and regulator of cancer pathogenesis. Producing small molecules and metabolites that act both locally and systemically, the gut microbiome may promote or suppress cancer generation and progression. Although several studies have reported associations between microbial alterations and different types of cancers, the gut microbiome has not been systematically characterized in childhood cancer.

    This project explores the compositional variation of the gut microbiome in paediatric cancer patients. By using DNA sequencing methods and metabolite profiling, the researchers will characterize features of the gut microbiome associated with cancer diagnoses in children. The goal is to describe microbiome-based markers that discriminate cancer cases from healthy controls and microbial metabolites that can serve as diagnostic biomarkers in therapeutic explorations.

    Infant Gut Microbiome Acquisition: Off to a Healthy Start

    funded by The Centre for Advanced Study (CAS) at The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

    This project connects experts in microbiology, clinical science, epidemiology, and bioinformatics, which together discuss a roadmap for translational microbiome research. A sequence of workshops critically examines current microbiome-focused mother-child population studies, analytical and computational approaches for mining microbiome data, and experimental models for defining causality. In a subsequent research stay, a core group of researchers will formulate review manuscripts based on the workshops and develop joint proposals investigating mother-to-child microbial transmission, drivers of infant gut microbial colonisation, and the impact of antibiotic use on this process. 



    Early-life gut fungal dysbiosis in pediatric asthma development

    Proteomic characterization of Escherichia coli

    A Combinatorial Mutagenesis Approach to Improve Microbial Expression Systems








    Member of project