Research

We thrive to understand the role of microbes in nature (and in technical systems); to that end, we combine classical microbiological, molecular biological and biogeochemical methods with microsensor technology and physical-chemical/isotope analyses. This spectrum of methods ensures an integrated approach to microbial ecology and a broad and modern education in microbiology.

Overall, we cover the following research areas:

  • Bacterial transformations of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur compounds in nature and in technical systems
  • Distribution of bacterial populations and processes on the micro scale
  • Isolation and (eco)physiology of Bacteria and Archaea
  • Structure and activity of complex microbial communities (applying cultivation-independent techniques like next-generation sequencing, cloning, qPCR, (meta)genomics and transcriptomics, or FISH)
  • Physiology and ecology of extremophilic bacteria
  • Search for biological fingerprints in the atmosphere of exoplanets as well as the persistence of organics and of microorganisms on Mars
  • Initiation, prevention, and application of bacterial biofilms
  • Symbiosis and interactions between bacteria and invertebrates

Basic research is our primary mission but we also collaborate with engineers and industry on applied projects. Recent examples are microbial air filters, microbial contamination of drinking water and industrial process water, biosensor development, and wastewater treatment.