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.

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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 the integration of highly diverse data sets and for developing new bio-imaging technologies.

Data Synopsis

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

Microverse Imaging Center

Life science and optics experts work together to develop real-time imaging technologies at molecular resolution.

We will establish the Microverse Imaging Center that provides and advances state-of-the-art bio-imaging technologies to answer diverse biological issues/challenges at high spatio-temporal resolution.

Christian Eggeling | Rainer Heintzmann | Jürgen Popp | Ulrich Schubert | Andreas Tünnermann