Research Group Systems Biology of Microbial Communities

The advent of molecular biology has propelled biology at the forefront of modern science. Technological advances such as rapid and inexpensive DNA sequencing are paving the way for precision medicine and synthetic biology to become ubiquitous in clinical and industrial applications. Basic research is needed to spearhead the development of these technologies into everyday practice. Microbiology is one of the areas that could benefit the most from this technological acceleration. For instance, the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) requires the development of new approaches aimed at predicting evolution of resistance and prevent it. Sequencing-based surveillance and evolutionary models informing smarter treatment strategies are therefore urgently needed. At the same time, the recognition of the role of the microbiome on human health and as a possible treatment strategy for infections requires a deeper ecological and functional understanding. In particular, the design of treatments is predicated on knowing the molecular and metabolic functions encoded in the genomes of each member of the microbiome. In short, we need to greatly improve the functional and evolutionary interpretation of genomic sequences, at the same time as they are being produced. These challenges can be effectively tackled using a data-intensive approach, favored by high-throughput molecular techniques and computational biology.

Funding:
  • RESIST
  • DFG (GA 3191/1-1 / HA 3299/8-1) “Einfluss der COVID-19 Pandemie Hygiene- und Abstandsregeln auf die Übertragung Gram-negativer multiresistenter Erreger in Krankenhäusern”