PhD Students

I am a molecular biologist with experience in bacterial nucleic acids (DNA/RNA) and methods connecting to them. The purpose of my doctoral studies is to investigate the microbial interactions in soil bacteria governed by secondary metabolites (SMs). The production of SMs is generally studied without the social context of bacteria. We would like to put bacterial interactions into this social context and to unravel not only the pathways but also the purpose of SM production. To reach this goal members of Pseudomonas, Actinobacteria, and Bacilli will be employed to further broaden our understanding of SM induction, production, and overall their natural roles in the soil community.



As a biotechnology engineer, I have expertise within the field of synthetic biology with specific focus on molecular tools, but generally also have a very broad profile reaching into various fields of the biological sciences.
My current project work revolves around combining synthetic biology with chemical ecology. My aim is to construct and fine-tune bacterial whole-cell biosensors for in situ monitoring of secondary metabolites in soil and rhizosphere microbiomes.
In future projects, I will investigate the metabolite-based interactions between plants and their associated microbiome by using various regulatory circuits in biosensor arrays as well as synthetically designed gene regulatory elements.  



I am a biochemist with broad experience in molecular microbiology and methods for genome engineering of various microbes, most prominently CRISPR-based techniques.
The aim of my project within CeMiSt is to increase our understanding of the biochemical “fate” of secondary metabolites (SMs) as they undergo chemical changes (e.g. modification, inactivation, or degradation) by different members of the natural microbial community. This phenomenon, known as “biotransformation”, is believed to be common and widespread, but in most cases the underlying molecular mechanisms and the ecological role remain unknown.
The project will take a multi-disciplinary approach combining methods of microbiology, natural chemistry, molecular biology, and bioinformatics.

My project focuses on marine bacterial interactions and the role and function of associated secondary metabolites. My work includes establishing co-cultivation of marine bacteria, and the use of classical microbiological techniques and omics approaches to study these systems.

I am a PhD student and I began my project June, 2021. I hold a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in biology with a specialization in microbiology with my main focus being on microbial social interactions, mobile genetic elements, and biofilms. My PhD project aims to understand the importance of secondary metabolites (SMs) in microbial social interactions with focus on how spatial distribution and different environmental conditions affect SM expression and vice versa. The work includes social characterization of sym- and allo-patric Bacillus subtilis isolates, construction of novel biofilm models, and chemical imaging in an effort to relate interactions between spatial distribution of bacteria and their SM production in the context of social evolution.


Daniel Otto