Our group is currently working on two different research topics:
1. Experimental Evolution
2. Degradation of lignin
For experimental evolution of microorganisms in vivo we are applying a proprietary technology for automated, continuous, long-term proliferation of cells under highly selective, controled laboratory conditions. Current projects include the adaptation of mesophilic bacteria to stress conditions such as high salt concentration, and experiments to create an artificial symbiosis between arbitrilarily chosen microorganisms.
The lignocellulose contained in sawmill by-products consists of lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose, and is said to produce a variety of economically viable components in microbial degradation processes, for example, C5/C6 sugars, alcohols, and phenols. The aim of this project is to optimise microorganisms for lignin degradation to generate chemical substances for further applications (e.g. aromatic compounds).
We investigated the calcium-dependent signal transduction in the eukaryotic model organism Dictyostelium discoideum. As the protein phosphatase calcineurin plays a central role in this signal transduction pathway we are mainly interested in the regulation and function of this phosphatase and its targets in D. discoideum. For this we used state-of-the-art techniques such as RNAi, fluorescence microscopy, microarray analysis, and other.
The group is involved in various teaching areas within the Institute of Biology. For example, we take part in the basic lecture “Microbiology” and we offer a seminar “Experimental Evolution”. We also offer practical courses for Bachelor students, and Master students within the "Molecular and Cell Biology" programme.