Our group specializes in bacterial genetics and uses state of the art imaging, mouse models and molecular methods to study bacterial evolution in the context of host health and disease.
Bacterial evolution in chronic inflammatory disorders
The basic evolutionary principle of adaptation by natural selection applies to bacteria in our intestine. Even within a person’s lifetime, bacteria evolve as members of the microbiota in healthy individuals. Evolutionary theory predicts that the intestinal environment during inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) creates additional selection pressures for the evolution of bacterial traits that we are not completely aware of, and which might be exploited to help restore a patient’s microbiota. We perform evolution experiments in gnotobiotic mouse models to identify and characterize bacterial traits under selection in the context of disease. This work is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) Research Unit 5042 “The Microbiome as a Therapeutic Target in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.”
Bacteria-bacteria killing by the type VI secretion system in microbial communities
Many bacteria live in densely packed communities, where interactions with other microbes are a key to survival. One important mechanism of competition is a contact-dependent killing mechanism - the type VI secretion system (T6SS). To study the function of T6SS-mediated killing in communities, we combine molecular biology with modern imaging techniques and bioinformatics. Our experiments on lab reference strains are complemented by the analysis of clinical isolates. This project is funded by the Daimler and Benz Foundation and by the DFG Collaborative Research Center 1182 “Origin and Function of Metaorganisms.”
Last updated 15 Jan 2020