The interactions of complex microbial communities with each other, with higher organisms and with the abiotic environment determine the functioning of ecosystems, our climate and the well-being of all organisms.
In our Cluster of Excellence we investigate the dynamic balance of microbial consortia, the underlying factors and responses to disturbances. Our cross-system approach aims to identify commonalities and differences in patterns and regulatory mechanisms in the different Microverses.
Microverse of the Environment
Microverse of the Environment lays the groundwork for experimentally determining microbial balance and dysbalance by generating synthetic microbial consortia and analyzing microbial communities from aquatic habitats. We combine our expertise in microbial culturing systems, natural product research, bio-imaging and materials science to understand the principles that govern interactions in microbial consortia. Our investigations will pave the way for rational interventions with medical and environmental implications.
Axel Brakhage | Christian Hertweck | Kirsten Küsel
Microverse of the Host
Microverse of the Host aims to increase our functional understanding of the dynamics of human and plant microbiomes - their recruitment, composition, chemical exchange and their role in host development and fitness. Analysis and comparison of microbiomes in pre-antibiotic era humans and in critically ill patients treated with antibiotics will yield testable hypotheses. Experimental models will provide an understanding of microbiome functions that is valuable for agricultural applications, precision medicine and targeted microbial therapies.
Ian Baldwin | Michael Bauer | Bernhard Hube | Georg Pohnert
Embedded Research Areas
These embedded research programs provide a platform for developing new bio-imaging technologies and for the integration of highly diverse data sets:
Microverse Imaging Center
Life science and optics experts work together to develop real-time imaging technologies at molecular resolution.
Experts develop new data mining approaches that are required for the large amounts of highly diverse data generated in the Microverse Cluster.
Microverse Imaging Center
We establish the Microverse Imaging Center that provides and advances state-of-the-art biomedical imaging technologies at high spatio-temporal resolution. On top of hosting state-of-the-art turnkey microscopes, the imaging facility also supports technological development and exchange between optics and life science expertes for shaping the imaging techniques of tomorrow.
At biosafety level 2, the facility currently offers two fluorescence microscopes:
The confocal laser scanning microscope LSM 980 with AiryScan 2 detector meets the needs for standard confocal applications including questions demanding an especially high sensitivity.
The multimodal camera-based system ELYRA 7 covers the high-speed and high-resolution applications, for instance using structured illumination microscopy.
Gnotobiotic Mouse Facility
The mammalian intestinal microbiota consists of various microorganisms which shape the host physiology and immunology. The complexity of microbiota composition and interaction between its members and the host impede the determination of mechanisms and consequence of distinct interactions. One solution to this problem is gnotobiology, the use of animals with a defined microbiological state.
Contact for the gnotobiotic facility: Dr. Alessia Montesano (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We are aware that animal testing comes with great responsibilty. Therefore we provide the best care for our mice. Moreover, Microverse scientists are developing and working with alternatives, such as organ-on-chip models.
More information on animal testing:
Building on our expertise in informatics and bioinformatics, we develop new data mining approaches that are required for the large amounts of highly diverse data generated in the Microverse Cluster. Only through the comprehensive mining and integration of data we will be able to identify cause-effect relationships and fundamental principles of microbial balance in different consortia and habitats.
Marc Thilo Figge | Birgitta König-Ries