Research Focus

In almost any environment, microorganisms do not thrive as self-sustainable cells or as independent species, but as more or less complex communities. To understand the processes within these microbial communities and how they affect their environment, research now more and more focuses on looking at them as a whole rather than just on lab isolates. This also includes (meta-)genome and transcriptome analysis.

High throughput sequencing, or next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies are powerful tools for this kind of research. In my current scientific work (positioned at the Center for Biotechnology in Bielefeld) I focus on the analysis of metagenomes and -transcriptomes of microbial communities in environmental samples from a variety of marine habitats.
My interests lie in unravelling a community's metagenome composition with regard to taxonomic diversity, and it's potential to affect the environment by the present and expressed functional genes. This way I want to contribute to answering questions like: Which microbial communities are present in marine habitats? How can we determine and describe microbial diversity from high throughput sequencing data? How does a community react to environmental changes? and: What are the effects of this adaptation?

Also I am interested in exploring the potentials of NGS technologies themselves: How does this technology affect the general view we have on microbial ecology? Which scientific questions can be answered via NGS, and where are the limits? And - starting from nucleic acid extraction all the way down to data analysis and interpretation - Which is the optimal approach to analyze a sample in order to answer a particular scientific question?
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