Kiel Marine Science

Research questions

For a long time, the main purpose of host-associated microbiology was to study pathogenic bacteria and infectious disease; the potential benefit of good bacteria remained unrecognized. In the last 10 years, biology has made revolutionary advances from century-old debates about the relative importance of non-pathogenic bacteria. Today we know that individuals are not solitary, homogenous entities but consist of complex communities of many species that likely evolved during a billion years of coexistence. Many questions arise when considering an organism a multispecies metaorganism.

For example:

  • How has the immune system been shaped by the need to accommodate symbionts?
  • How does it coevolve with a symbiotic microbiota to both shape and accommodate community assembly?
  • How do the resident symbionts influence fitness and thus ecologically important traits of their hosts?
  • Is there a mutual intertwining between the stem cell regulatory machinery of the host and the resident symbiotic microbe composition, such that disturbances in either trigger a restructuring and resetting of the other?
     
Current Research

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