The main focus of our research is the study of intestinal microbiomes (the communities of microorganisms, their genomes, and surrounding environmental factors in the gut). Because intestinal microorganisms have a major impact on the physiology of their host, it is important to investigate and understand their diversity and functions. We focus primarily on the human, pig, and mouse gut microbiomes because of their relevance for health-related issues. In particular, we are interested in describing the taxonomic diversity and evolution of gut bacteria thanks to the use of culture-based and sequencing approaches. Within ZIEL, research efforts are dedicated to the development of sequencing approaches for assessment of complex microbial communities. Importantly, these molecular approaches are coupled with classical bacteriology for creation and utilization of bacterial strain collections from the mouse and pig intestine. These collections are screened for specific functions, e.g. metabolism of cholesterol-derived compounds, and used for the establishment of minimal microbiomes to study microbe-microbe and microbe-host interactions in vitro (using continuous culture) and in vivo (using gnotobiology). For instance, we are interested in clarifying the role of secondary bile acids production in animal models of chronic intestinal inflammation and colorectal cancer provided by other ZIEL members.
Bild: Allan Richard Tobis
Prof. Dr. Thomas Clavel
Universitätsklinikum der RWTH Aachen
Professur für Funktionelle Mikrobiomforschung