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Prof. Dr. Mitja Remus-Emsermann

Image Credit: Bernhard Wannenmacher


Institut für Pflanzenphysiologie und Mikrobiologie
Königin-Luise-Str. 12-16
14195 Berlin

Current Position and Education

Since May 2021

  • Prof. Microbiology Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany

January 2019-April 2021 

  • Senior lecturer University of Canterbury, School of Biological Sciences, Christchurch, New Zealand

since 2017

  • Associated investigator Biomolecular interaction centre, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

2016 - 2018

  • Lecturer University of Canterbury, School of Biological Sciences, Christchurch, New Zealand

2014 – 2016

  • Postdoctoral researcher Agroscope, Department for food microbiology, Project REDYMO, Wädenswil, Switzerland

2011 – 2014

  • Postdoctoral researcher Institute of Microbiology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Advisor Prof. Julia Vorholt
    • Visiting scholar department of Microbial Ecology, University of Vienna, Austria. Laboratory of Prof. Michael Wagner and Prof. Holger Daims (1 week)

2007 – 2012

  • Ph.D. in Microbial Ecology Dutch Institute for Ecology, Wageningen, The Netherlands. Defended 27.03.2012 at the Free University, Amsterdam. Advisors: Prof. Johan Leveau and Prof. George Kowalchuk
    • Visiting scholar at the department for Plant Pathology University of California Davis, United States. Laboratory of Prof. Johan Leveau (3 months)
    • Visiting scholar at the department Ecophysiology of Plants University Bonn, Germany. Laboratory of Prof. Lukas Schreiber (1 month)

2001 – 2007

  • Diploma in Biology (Major in botany, microbiology)


Professional services

Editorial services

Professional society services

  • 2019-2021 Treasurer - New Zealand Society of biochemistry and molecular biology (NZSBMB, https://www.nzsbmb.org

Peer-Review for

  • Applied and Environmental Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Current Opinion in Plant Biology
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • F1000research
  • FEMS microbiology letters
  • Frontiers in Microbiology
  • Frontiers in Environmental Sciences
  • Journal of Advanced Research
  • Journal of Applied Microbiology
  • New Zealand Journal of Ecology
  • New Phytologist
  • Scientific reports
  • Standards in Genomic Sciences
  • The ISME Journal
  • United States - Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF)

Organization and chairing of the session “The role of Microbes in Ecology”
GFOE annual meeting 2015, Göttingen, Germany
Organization and of the session "Environmental Microbiology" Joint NZMS-NZSBMB conference 2016, Christchurch, New Zealand 
Organization and of the session "Plant-Microbe Interactions" Joint NZMS-NZSBMB conference 2018, Dunedin, New Zealand 
Organisation panel Biomolecular Interaction centre Satellite at the queenstown research week
Organisation panel and treasurer joint NZMS-NZSBMB conference 2021, Christchurch, New Zealand

Academic services
Current PhD students:

  • Rudolf Schlechter
  • Michal Bernach
  • Moritz Miebach

Current MSc students:

  • Kate Wright 
  • Christian Stocks

previous students: Maria Gekenidis, Leandra Knecht, Hannes Horn, Muyiwa "Emmanuel" Adewale, Erica Boyd, Renji Jiang, Simisola Oso

Awards and honors

  • 2018 University of Canterbury Early and Emerging Career Researcher 2018 Award
  • 2015 10th International Symposium on Phyllosphere Microbiology – Travel grant
  • 2012 28th New Phytologist Symposium, Rhodes, Greece – Best poster Award 
  • 2012 28th New Phytologist Symposium, Rhodes, Greece – Travel grant
  • 2010 NERN Publication Award for Remus-Emsermann MNP and Leveau JHJ (2010) Linking environmental heterogeneity and reproductive success at single-cell resolution. The ISME Journal 4, 215–222 

Acquired funding

  • 2018 University of Canterbury Early and Emerging Career Research Award (10,000 NZD)
  • 2018 Royal Society of New Zealand - Marsden grant (PI Monica Gerth (939,000 NZD)
  • 2017 Royal Society of New Zealand - Marsden Fast Start grant (300,000 NZD)
  • 2017 BIC PhD scholarship 2017 (~90,000 NZD)
  • 2017 Brian mason trust grant (15,000 NZD)
  • 2017 BIC seed funding (10,000 NZD)
  • 2017 University of Canterbury, College of Science, PhD scholarship (~90,000 NZD)
  • 2014 ETH D-Biol strategic IT project startup funding for the project “PyCIAL” an integrated environment for microscopy image analysis (10,000 CHF; PI Julia Vorholt; Project “Spatial analysis of bacterial colonization patterns”)
  • 2011 Competitive internal funding Dutch institute for Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) automatic microscopy stage (12,000 €; PI Johan Leveau; Project “The ecology of bacterial individuality”)

Society memberships

  • American society for microbiology (ASM)
  • International society for microbial ecology (ISME)
  • International Society for molecular plant microbe interactions (IS-MPMI)
  • New Zealand Society of biochemistry and molecular biology (NZSBMB
  • New Zealand Microbiological Society (NZMS)

An up to date list of the groups publications can be found here or here

 “*” correspondence, “#” shared first authorship, bold = members of lab

  1. Miebach M, Schlechter RO, Clemens J, Jameson PE, Remus-Emsermann MNP (2020) Litterbox-A gnotobiotic zeolite-clay system to investigate Arabidopsis-microbe interactions. Microorganisms  DOI: 10.3390/microorganisms8040464 
  2. Kron AS, Zengerer V, Bieri M, Dreyfuss V, Sostizzo T, Schmid M, Lutz M, Remus-Emsermann MNP, Pelludat C (2020) Pseudomonas orientalis F9 pyoverdine, safracin, and phenazine mutants remain effective antagonists against Erwinia amylovora in apple flowers. Applied and Environmental Microbiology DOI: 10.1128/AEM.02620-19
  3. van Stan JT, Morris CE, Aung K, Kuzyakov Y, Magyar D, Rebollar EA, Remus-Emsermann MNP, Uroz S, Vandenkoornhuyse (2020) Precipitation Partitioning—Hydrologic Highways Between Microbial Communities of the Plant Microbiome? In “Precipitation Partitioning by Vegetation” Editors van Stan JT, Gutmann E, Friesen J. Springer Nature  DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-29702-2_14
  4. Soffe R, Bernach MRemus-Emsermann MNP, Nock V (2019) Replicating Arabidopsis Model Leaf Surfaces for Phyllosphere Microbiology. Scientific Reports 9, 14420
  5. Kremer K, van Teeseling M, Schada von Borzyskowski L, Bernhardsgrütter I, van Spanning RJM, Gates A, Remus-Emsermann M, Thanbichler M, and Erb TJ (2019) Dynamic metabolic rewiring enables efficient acetyl-CoA assimilation in Paracoccus denitrificans. mBio DOI: 10.1128/mBio.00805-19
  6. Soffe R, Altenhuber N, Bernach MRemus-Emsermann MNP, Nock V (2019) Comparison of Replica Leaf Surface Materials for Phyllosphere Microbiology. Plos One DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0218102
  7. Jameson PE, Dhandapani P, Song J, Zatloukal M, Strnad M, Remus-Emsermann MNP, Schlechter RO, Novak O (2019) The cytokinin complex associated with Rhodococcus fascians: which compounds are critical for virulence? Frontiers in Plant Science DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00674
  8. van Hamelsveld S, Adewale M, Kurenbach B, Godsoe W, Harding J, Remus-Emsermann M, Heinemann J (2019)
    Prevalence of antibiotic resistant Escherichia coli isolated from urban and agricultural streams in Canterbury, New Zealand. FEMS Microbiology Letters, fnz104, DOI:10.1093/femsle/fnz104
  9. Schlechter RO, Miebach M, Remus-Emsermann MNP* (2019) Driving Factors Of Epiphytic Bacterial Communities: A Review. Journal of Advanced Research DOI: 10.1016/j.jare.2019.03.003
  10. Oso S, Walters M, Schlechter RO, Remus-Emsermann MNP* (2019) Utilisation of hydrocarbons and production of surfactants by bacteria isolated from plant leaf surfaces. FEMS microbiology letters DOI: 10.1093/femsle/fnz061
  11. Schlechter RO* and Remus-Emsermann MNP* (2019) Delivering "Chromatic Bacteria" Fluorescent Protein Tags to Proteobacteria Using Conjugation. Bio-protocols DOI: 10.21769/BioProtoc.3199
  12. Bernach M, Soffe R, Remus-Emsermann MNP, Nock V (2019) Hybrid PDMS Patterning for Phyllosphere Microbiology. Japanese Journal of Applied Physics DOI: 10.7567/1347-4065/ab0498 
  13. Jun H, Kurenbach B, Aitken J, Wasa A, Remus-Emsermann MNP, Godsoe W, Heinemann JA (2019) Effects of sub-lethal concentrations of copper ammonium acetate, pyrethrins and atrazine on the response of Escherichia coli to antibiotics. F1000 research DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.17652.1
  14. Schlechter ROJun H#, Bernach M#, Oso S, Boyd E, Munoz-Lintz DA, Dobson RCJ,  Remus DM and Remus-Emsermann MNP* (2018) Chromatic bacteria – A broad host-range plasmid and chromosomal insertion toolbox for fluorescent protein expression in bacteria. Frontiers in Microbiology  DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.03052
  15. Remus-Emsermann MNP*, Pelludat C, Gisler P, Drissner D (Preprint) Conjugation dynamics of self-transmissible and mobilisable plasmids into E. coli O157:H7 on Arabidopsis thaliana rosettes. BioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/375402
  16. Schmid M, Frei D, Patrignani A, Schlapbach R, Frey JE, Remus-Emsermann MNP, Ahrens CH (2018) Pushing the limits of de novo genome assembly for complex prokaryotic genomes harboring very long, near identical repeats. Nucleic acid research DOI: 10.1093/nar/gky726       Endorsed at F1000prime
  17. Remus-Emsermann MNP* and Schlechter RO (2018) Phyllosphere microbiology: at the interface between microbial individuals and the plant host. New Phytologist DOI: 10.1111/nph.15054      Invited Tansley insight review
  18. Zengerer V, Schmid M, Marco B, Muller DC, Remus-Emsermann MNP, Ahrens CH and Pelludat C (2018) Pseudomonas orientalis F9: A Potent Antagonist against Phytopathogens and Phytotoxic Effect in the Apple Flower. Frontiers in Microbiology DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00145
  19. Gekenidis, MT, Gossin, D, Schmelcher, M, Schöner, U, Remus-Emsermann, M*, Drissner, D*. (2017) Dynamics of culturable mesophilic bacterial communities of three fresh herbs and their production environment. Journal of Applied Microbiology DOI: 10.1111/jam.13532          Editors choice
  20. Remus-Emsermann MRE#, Schmid M#, Gekenidis MT, Pelludat C, Frey J, Ahrens CH, Drissner D. (2016) Complete genome sequence of Pseudomonas citronellolis P3B5, a candidate for microbial phyllo-remediation of hydrocarbon-contaminated sites. Standards in Genomic Sciences DOI: 10.1186/s40793-016-0190-6
  21. Remus-Emsermann MRE*, Gisler P and Drissner D. A set of miniTn7-transposon delivery vectors for inducible and constitutive fluorescent tagging of Escherichia coli and other Enterobacteriaceae. FEMS microbiology reports DOI: 10.1093/femsle/fnw178
  22. Born Y#, Remus-Emsermann MNP#, Kamber T, Pelludat C. (2016) The Fe2+ chelator Proferrorosamine A: a gene cluster of Erwinia rhapontici P45 involved in its synthesis and its impact on growth of Erwinia amylovora CFBP1430. Microbiology DOI: 10.1099/mic.0.000231
  23. Bai Y, Müller DB, Srinivas G, Garrido-Oter R, Potthoff E, Rott M, Dombrowski N, Münch P, Spaepen S, Remus-Emsermann MNP, Huettel B, McHardy A, Vorholt J, Schulze-Lefert P (2015) Functional overlap and specialization of the Arabidopsis leaf and root microbiotas. Nature 528:364-369
  24. Ledermann R, Bartsch I, Remus-Emsermann MNP, Vorholt JA, Fischer HM (2015) Stable fluorescent and enzymatic tagging of Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens to analyse host-plant infection and colonization. Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions DOI: 10.1094/MPMI-03-15-0054-TA 
  25. Freimoser FM, Pelludat C, Remus-Emsermann MNP* (2015) Tritagonists: A novel framework for the study of microbial interactions. The ISME Journal DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2015.92          highlighted on microbe.net
  26. Schada von Borzyskowski L#, Remus-Emsermann MNP#, Weishaupt R, Vorholt JA, Erb TJ. A set of versatile brick-vectors and promoters for the assembly, expression and integration of synthetic operons in Methylobacterium extorquens AM1 and other Alphaproteobacteria. ACS Synthetic Biology DOI: 10.1021/sb500221v 
  27. Remus-Emsermann MNP*, Lücker S, Müller DB, Potthoff E, Daims H, Vorholt JA (2014) Spatial distribution analyses of natural phyllosphere- colonizing bacteria on Arabidopsis thaliana revealed by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Environmental Microbiology 16(7): 2329-2340 
  28. Remus-Emsermann MNP*, Kowalchuk GA, Leveau JHJ (2013). Single‐cell versus population‐level reproductive success of bacterial immigrants to pre‐colonized leaf surfaces. Environmental Microbiology Reports 5(3): 387-392 
  29. Diard M, Garcia V, Maier L, Remus-Emsermann MNP, Regoes RR, Ackermann M, Hardt WD (2013). Stabilization of cooperative virulence by the expression of an avirulent phenotype. Nature 494(7437): 353-356       Endorsed at F1000prime
  30. Remus-Emsermann MNP, Kim EB, Marco ML, Tecon R, Leveau JHJ (2013). Draft genome sequence of the phyllosphere model bacterium Pantoea agglomerans 299R. Genome Announcements doi: 10.1128/genomeA.00036-13
  31. Garbeva P, Tyc O, Remus-Emsermann M, van der Wal A, Vos M, Silby M and de Boer W (2012) No apparent costs for facultative antibiotic production by the soil bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf0-1. PLoS One (11): e27266. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027266
  32. Remus-Emsermann MNP, Tecon R, Kowalchuk GA and Leveau JHJ (2012) Variation in local carrying capacity and the individual fate of bacterial colonizers in the phyllosphere. The ISME Journal 6: 756-765
  33. Remus-Emsermann MNP, Oliveira S, Schreiber L and Leveau JHJ (2011) Quantification of lateral heterogeneity in carbohydrate permeability of isolated plant leaf cuticles measured by gas chromatography and single cell bioreporters. Frontiers in Microbiology 2: 197
  34. Remus-Emsermann MNP and Leveau JHJ (2010) Linking environmental heterogeneity and reproductive success at single-cell resolution. The ISME Journal 4: 215–222
  35. Franke R, Höfer R, Briesen I, Emsermann M, Efremova N, Yephremov A and Schreiber L (2009) The DAISY gene from Arabidopsis encodes a fatty acid elongase condensing enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of aliphatic suberin in roots and the chalaza micropyle region of seeds. The Plant Journal 57: 80-95
  36. Remus-Emsermann MNP and Vorholt JA. Complexities of Microbial Life on Leaf Surfaces. Microbe 9 (11), 448-452