Emmy Noether - Junior research group

Research:

Our aim is to understand the role of the human microbiome in health and to identify aberrant host-microbial interactions in immune-related diseases. Ultimately, we want to leverage this knowledge to improve our ability to diagnose, treat and prevent these diseases with new microbiome-based approaches, which aim at restoring the host-microbial balance.

The human microbiome is the large collection of bacteria, viruses, archaea and fungi that live in and on our body. Most of these organisms live in our gut and provide important immunological and metabolic benefits. In many diseases, such as chronic inflammatory bowel diseases and immune-related diseases, an imbalance of these microbial communities has been observed. The underlying reasons and consequences of this imbalance are largely unknown though. Previous studies have identified taxonomic changes of the microbiome and disease-associated bacterial species. However, different strains of the same species can substantially differ in their functional capacities. To address these questions, we use integrated multi-omics analyses of metagenomic, metatranscriptomic and metabolomic data to identify disease-associated bacterial strains and their metabolites. We combine these computational approaches with experimental validation of the immunogenicity and inflammatory activity of the identified strains to provides insights into the potential mechanisms of the human microbiome in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.