Zum Inhalt springen


Am ZIEL gibt es eine flexible Mitgliederstruktur mit deren Hilfe sich fächerübergreifende Expertise schnell und effizient integrieren lässt, um Forschungsvorhaben fokussiert umzusetzen.

Die Mitgliedschaft im ZIEL ist akademisch ausgewiesenen Professor*innen, Nachwuchskräften mit besonderem Entwicklungspotential und international herausragenden Gastprofessoren vorbehalten. Es besteht sowohl für Professor*innen aus anderen Fakultäten als auch von außeruniversitären Forschungseinrichtungen die Möglichkeit, Mitglied im ZIEL zu werden.

Technical University of Munich
Department of Chemistry
Werner Siemens-Chair of Synthetic Biotechnology
Lichtenberg Str. 4
85748 Garching bei München
Deutschland/ Germany


Email: brueck[at]tum.de

WSSB research activity:
Climate change and finite ecosystem resources drive societal and industrial change towards a sustainable, circular bioeconomy. Our research group is focused on urban sustainablity solutions as expanding global populations are increasingly focused in urban megacenters, which generate large chemically heterogenous waste streams that have to recycled to create a closed loop urban value chain. The mission of the research group is to develop new, waste free bioprocesses using synthetic biotechnology as research tool. Synthetic biotechnology is a new, transdisciplinary systems science approach with the identification and process centered optimization of biocatalysts at the core of its activities. In that context, we combine methods of synthetic- and systems biology with innovative bioinformatics and bioprocess engineering concepts to derive process tailored enzyme and whole cell biocatalysts. The resulting cell-free enzyme or cellular biocatalyst systems are then embedded in holistic, waste free biorefinery concepts, that have the capacity to mass efficiently convert greenhouse gases (i.e. CO2) or biogenic residue streams into a portfolio of value adding compounds for the food, chemical and pharmaceutical industry. A specfic reseach competence is the use of photosynthtic organisms, that enable production of high value biomass for the food and chemical sector. With regard to food production we focus on generation of algae and microbial biomass with a balanced macro- and micro nutrient profile. One such example, is the generation of folate (Vitamin B9) rich algae biomass, which also features high concentrations of proteins. With respect to bioactive compounds the research groups focuses on the ab-inito design of biosynthetic pathways in genetically engineered cell systems to enable the targetted production of terpenoid based antimicrobials, anti-inflammatory- and plant protection agents.

Selected publications:
1. Striegel, L.; Fuchs, T.; Woortman, D. V.; Fuchs, M.; Weber, N.; Brueck, T. B.; Rychlik, M., Microalgae a superior source of folates: Quantification of folates in halophile microalgae by stable isotope dilution assay. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 2019. Doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2019.00481

2. Masri, M. A.; Garbe, D.; Mehlmer, N.; Brück, T. B., A sustainable, high-performance process for the economic production of waste-free microbial oils that can replace plant-based equivalents. Energy & Environmental Science 2019, 12, 2717 – 2732. 10.1039/C9EE00210C

3. Kassab, E.; Mehlmer, N.; Brueck, T., Systematic engineering of the Escherichia coli fatty acid biosynthesis for the production of very long chain fatty acids. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 2019.doi:  10.1186/s12934-019-1217-7

4. Driller, R., Janke, S., Fuchs, M., Warner, E., Mhashal, A. R., Major, D. T., Christmann, M., Brück, T., & Loll, B. (2018). Towards a comprehensive understanding of the structural dynamics of a bacterial diterpene synthase during catalysis. Nature Communications, 9(1), 3971. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-06325-8

5. Mischko, W., Hirte, M., Roehrer, S., Engelhardt, H., Mehlmer, N., Minceva, M., & Brück, T. (2018). Modular biomanufacturing for a sustainable production of terpenoid-based insect deterrents. Green Chemistry, 20(11), 2637-2650. doi:10.1039/c8gc00434j

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Lehrstuhl für Aroma- und Geruchsforschung
Department Chemie und Pharmazie


E-Mail: andrea.buettner[at]fau.de

Fraunhofer-Institut für Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung IVV


E-Mail: andrea.buettner[at]ivv.fraunhofer.de

Further information:
Dr. Buettner studied Food Chemistry, subsequently completed her PhD in the field of aroma research, and was awarded her professorship in the field of flavor research. Her work has demonstrated the importance of the combined effects of the food and matrix composition, saliva, mucosa, mastication and swallowing on flavor release and perception. She has identified new odorous compounds with a special focus on citrus and other food materials and has worked on structure-odor relationships. Recent work additionally addresses packaged foods and products of daily use in relation to their chemosensorially active constituents. Some of her experimental methods include chemical trace analysis, quantification via stable isotope dilution analysis, monitoring of physiological processes, psychophysical measurements of sensory data, and determination of chemosensorially active and volatile compounds as well as their metabolites in vivo. In current studies at the University of Erlangen and Fraunhofer IVV, Freising, Dr. Buettner has broadened her research interests to include the field of volatiles and chemosensorially active compounds in the physiological context, with monitoring of uptake, distribution and biotransformation of odorants, as well as neoformation of metabolites from non-volatile food ingredients in vivo, as well as further physiological impact of such derivatives in humans. With her work she contributes with her team to the research aims of ZIEL regarding chemo-sensory and behavioral aspects in human nutrition, as well as biotransformatory processes in vivo.

Professur für Funktionelle Phytometabolomik
Lehrstuhl für Lebensmittelchemie und molekulare Sensorik (kommissarisch)

Technische Universität München
TUM School of Life Sciences


E-Mail: corinna.dawid[at]tum.de

Further information:
The chair of Food Chemistry and Molecular Sensory Science comprises international research teams with several focus areas. Working together with the different working groups of ZIEL, our current research addresses:
    • the structural decoding and functional reconstruction of chemosensory signatures of foods and beverages (Sensomics),
    • an activity-guided discovery of bioactive natural products in foods and complex biological systems (Bioactives),
    • the human metabolism of bio-functional food ingredients using metabolomics profiling and a molecular definition of nutritive biomarker profiles (Nutritional Metabolomics), and
    • the molecular and functional mapping of the metabolic response of food plants on abiotic and biotic stress conditions (Phytometabolomics).
The unique methodology of Sensomics combines state-of-the-art natural product analytics, human psychophysical techniques, and bioinformatics tools with our unequaled expertise in the field of food chemistry and allows for a sustained scientific competitive advantage. Sensomics is considered the cutting-edge science concept to molecularize flavor entities of nature, thus setting the ground for a new quality of knowledge-based flavor optimization leading the way to creating real culinary authenticity.
Our bioactives group aims at discovering natural products with diverse, but specific bioactivities. These include anti-oxidative, antidiarrheal, antiviral, anti-diabetic, and anti-carcinogenic compounds, mycotoxins, and bacterial toxins in food products and plant materials. They are analyzed by means of bioassay-guided fractionation using cellular and/or chemical assays in combination with instrumental analysis (LC-TOF-MS, 1D-/2D-NMR, CD etc.). Thereafter, the bioactives are quantified by means of LC-MS/MS or qNMR and their metabolic fate is studied in intervention studies.
As the metabolome cannot be computed from the genome, the goal of our nutritional metabolomics group is to monitor and quantify low molecular weight molecules produced by active cells under different conditions and times in their life cycles. Due to the enormous analytical progress made in recent years, metabolite profiling by means of state-of-the-art liquid chromatography - mass spectrometry (HILIC-MS/MS, UPLC-TOF-MS) has reached a high level of sensitivity, increasing metabolite coverage and achieving a high sample throughput. As metabolomics is a data-driven technology, the transformation of raw data into information suitable for biological interpretation is achieved by the implementation of sophisticated bioinformatics tools adapted to our field of research.
The science-driven breeding of stress-tolerant cultivated plants will allow for a reduction in harvest losses and prevent the undesirable decrease in quality attributes following herbal stress response. It requires a new quality of knowledge on molecular markers associated with relevant agronomic traits, on quantitative metabolic plant responses to stress challenges, and on the mechanisms controlling their biosynthetic pathways. Our phytometabolomics research group develops and applies mass spectrometry-based techniques of metabolomics and proteomics to quantitatively assess key metabolome alterations in plant-derived foods induced by biotic stress challenges (bacteria, fungi) as well as abiotic stress conditions, e.g. water stress, light stress, and mechanical stress.

Lainer, J.§; Dawid, C. §; Dunkel, A.; Gläser, P.; Wittl, S.; Hofmann, T. Characterization of Bitter-Tasting Oxylipins in Poppy Seeds (Papaver somniferum L.). J. Agric. Food Chem. 2020, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.9b06655.

Baumann, T.; Dunkel, A.; Schmid, C.; Schmitt, S.; Hiltensperger, M.; Lohr, K.;  Laketa, V.; Donakonda, S.; Ahting, U.; Lorenz-Depiereux, B.; Heil, J., Schredelseker, J.; Simeoni, L.; Fecher, C.; Körber, N.; Bauer, T.; Hüser, N.; Hartmann, D.; Laschinger, M.; Eyerich, K.; Eyerich, S.; Anton,  M.; Streeter, M.; Wang, T.; Schraven, B.; Spiegel, D.; Assaad, F.;  Misgeld, T.; Zischka, H.; Murray, P.; Heine, A.; Korn, T.; Dawid, C.; Hofmann, T.;  Knolle, P.A.; Höchst, B. Regulatory myeloid cells paralyze T cell immunity through cell-cell transfer of the metabolite methylglyoxal. Nature Immunaology 2020, 21(5), 555–566.

Dawid, C.; Hille, K. Functional metabolomics—a useful tool to characterize stress-induced metabolome alterations opening new avenues towards tailoring food crop quality. Agronomy 2018, 8, 138, DOI:10.20944/preprints201807.0052.v1.

Kutschera, A.§; Dawid, C.§; Gisch, N.; Schmid, C.; Raasch, L.; Gerster, T.; Schäffer, M.; Smakowska-Luzan, E; Belkhadir, Y.; Vlot, C.; Chandler, C. E.; Schellenberger, R.; Schwudke, D.; Ernst, R.; Dorey, S.; Hückelhoven, R.; Hofmann, T.; Ranf, S. Bacterial medium-chain 3-hydroxy fatty acid metabolites trigger immunity in Arabidopsis plants. Science 2019, 364(6436), 178–181.

Fraunhofer-Institut für Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung IVV
Stellv. Institutsleiter Fraunhofer- Institut IVV
Abteilungsleiter Verfahrensentwicklung Lebensmittel


E-Mail: peter.eisner[at]ivv.fraunhofer.de

Further information:
Our research is focused on fractionizing processes for plant raw material in order to isolate functional protein ingredients and nutritional fibers for the use in human nutrition and technical applications. The resulting lipids, proteins, soluble and insoluble dietary fibers are modified thermally, enzymatically, chemically and mechanically to customize functional properties such as solubility, water and oil binding capacity, gel formation, and emulsifying capacity. In the frame of ZIEL nutritional aspects such as bile acid binding and influence of nutritional fibers on human intestine are investigated.

The second research area is focused on the processing of new food matrices and the development of model recipes in order to modify the texture and nutritional properties of foods. The used equipment and facilities are part of the ZIEL-Core-Facility “Food Processing”. The laboratories and machines are designed for the production of food samples for human studies.

The ZIEL-Core-Facility enables the production of a wide range of foods covering meat/sausage products, fruit/vegetables, bakery goods, pasta, and confectionery. Research is carried out concerning stabilization of textures and oxidation-sensitive ingredients, and sensorial optimization of food e.g. by fermentation. The influence of innovative processing technologies on quality parameters of food is investigated. Technologies such as electromagnetic fields for gentle pasteurization and sterilization and high-moisture-extrusion-cooking for plant based textures in meat alternatives are studied.

Meinlschmidt P., Brode V., Sevenich R, Ueberhame E., Schweiggert-Weisz U., Lehmann J., Rauh C., Knorr D., Eisner P. (2016)
High pressure processing assisted enzymatic hydrolysis – An innovative approach for the reduction of soy immunoreactivity, Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies, doi: 10.1016/j.ifset.2016.06.022

Meinlschmidt P., Ueberham E., Lehmann J, Schweiggert-Weisz U., Eisner P. (2016)
Immunoreactivity, sensory and physicochemical properties of fermented soy protein isolate.
Food Chemistry, Vol.  205, pp. 229-238.

Zacherl C., Eisner P., Engel K.-H. (2011)
In-vitro model to correlate viscosity and bile acid-binding capacity of digested water-soluble and insoluble dietary fibres.
Food Chemistry, Vol. 126, pp. 423-428.

Technische Universität München
ZIEL - Institute for Food & Health
Leiter Arbeitsgruppe Public Health Nutrition


E-Mail: kgedrich[at]tum.de

Further information:
Prof. Kurt Gedrich studied Home Economics at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). After obtaining his degree in 1993, he focused on econometric analyses of food consumption and nutrient intakes and received a Ph.D. degree in Nutrition Economics in 1996. Until 2011, he was a group leader at TUM’s department of marketing and consumer research, particularly dealing with food consumption in various population groups from positive as well as normative perspectives. With increasing interest in determinants of food choice he completed his postdoctoral thesis in 2005 and received the university teaching credentials for Nutritional Behavior in 2006. In 2012, he moved closer to the core of nutritional science and joint the team at TUM’s chair of Nutrition Physiology where he formed and led the personalized nutrition group. In 2019, he became a member of the ZIEL - Institute for Food & Health and head of the Research Group Public Health Nutrition.

Professur für Clinical Microbiome

Technical University of Munich
School of Life Sciences
Weihenstephaner Berg 3
85354 Freising
Deutschland/ Germany

Email: romana.gerner[at]tum.de

Research activity:
Our research focuses on the functional and molecular interactions between the mucosal immune system and the intestinal microbiome in health and disease.

Mammals are born sterile, and consecutive microbial colonization is fundamental for the imprinting and maturation of the immune system. This crosstalk early in life establishes a resilient and homeostatic host-microbe relationship, and perturbations during this period might result in increased susceptibility to diseases later in life. We are interested in how certain commensal members of the microbiota shape the immune system in the newborn and how this affects the subsequent development of autoimmunity and inflammatory diseases. Moreover, we study different aspects of host-pathogen interactions with a particular focus on opportunistic pathogens such as E. coli. The goal is to better understand the pathogenicity of E. coli in patients with intestinal inflammation and during systemic infections in immunocompromised patients. Consequently, we aim to increase our understanding of the clinical aspects of the microbiota and, ultimately, to inform the choice of treatment.


Selected publications:
Gerner RR, Hossain S, Sargun A, Siada K, Norton GJ, Zheng T, Neumann W, Nuccio SP, Nolan EM, Raffatellu M. Siderophore Immunization Restricted Colonization of Adherent-Invasive Escherichia coli and Ameliorated Experimental Colitis. mBio. 2022 Oct 26;13(5):e0218422.

Gerner RR, Nuccio SP, Raffatellu M. Iron at the host-microbe interface. Mol Aspects Med. 2020 Oct;75:100895.

Gerner RR, Macheiner S, Reider S, Siegmund K, Grabherr F, Mayr L, Texler B, Moser P, Effenberger M, Schwaighofer H, Moschen AR, Kircher B, Oberacher H, Zeiser R, Tilg H, Nachbaur D. Targeting NAD immunometabolism limits severe graft-versus-host disease and has potent antileukemic activity. Leukemia. 2020 Jul;34(7):1885-1897.

Gerner RR, Klepsch V, Macheiner S, Arnhard K, Adolph TE, Grander C, Wieser V, Pfister A, Moser P, Hermann-Kleiter N, Baier G, Oberacher H, Tilg H, Moschen AR. NAD metabolism fuels human and mouse intestinal inflammation. Gut. 2018 Oct;67(10):1813-1823.

Moschen AR*, Gerner RR*, Wang J, Klepsch V, Adolph TE, Reider SJ, Hackl H, Pfister A, Schilling J, Moser PL, Kempster SL, Swidsinski A, Orth Höller D, Weiss G, Baines JF, Kaser A, Tilg H. Lipocalin 2 Protects from Inflammation and Tumorigenesis Associated with Gut Microbiota Alterations. Cell Host Microbe. 2016 Apr 13;19(4):455-69. *These authors contributed equally.

Technische Universität München
Lehrstuhl für Ernährung und Immunologie
TUM School of Life Sciences
Direktor ZIEL - Institute for Food & Health


E-Mail: dirk.haller[at]tum.de

Research Sketch
The main areas of research are dedicated to the understanding of gut health and the pathogenesis of inflammation-related chronic disorders such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and colorectal cancer (CRC). Compelling research over the past decade identified a fundamental role of the intestinal microbiome in human health and together with nutrition, the intestinal microbiome represents a prime environmental factor and plays a pivotal role in the development of these complex pathologies. At the level of mechanistic understanding, the molecular integration of pleiotropic signals coming from the complex and dynamically changing gut luminal ecosystem is one the biggest challenges in this field. We hypothesize that the intestinal epithelium provides a dynamic interface to sense the luminal milieu, especially microbial factors using mechanisms that implement pattern recognition receptors and cell stress responses (unfolded protein responses; UPR). We apply gnotobiotic studies in germ-free models to better understand the functional role of dysbiosis as a disease-conditioning mechanism for the development of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and colorectal cancer (CRC). In this context, we generated a variety of novel tissue-specific mouse models and identified an essential role of unfolded protein responses (UPR) in the regulation of gut homeostasis. At ZIEL, we translate the fundamental knowledge of mechanistic studies into a human context by implementing fecal microbiota from human in germ-free models. We also perform human intervention studies to understand the role of nutrition on microbiome signatures in healthy and diseased human populations, e.g. formula food in infants or iron therapy in IBD patients. In addition, we follow large prospective cohort studies (e.g. KORA) to define the microbiome signatures in populations at the transition between health and disease.

Schaubeck M, Clavel T, Calasan J, Lagkouvardos I, Haange SB, Jehmlich N, Basic M, Dupont A, Hornef M, Bergen MV, Bleich A, Haller D. Dysbiotic gut microbiota causes transmissible Crohn's disease-like ileitis independent of failure in antimicrobial defence. Gut 2016 Feb;65(2):225-37. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2015-309333

 Lee T, Clavel T, Smirnov K, Schmidt A, Lagkouvardos I, Walker A, Lucio M, Michalke B, Schmitt-Kopplin P, Fedorak R, Haller D. Oral versus intravenous iron replacement therapy distinctly alters the gut microbiota and metabolome in patients with IBD. Gut 2016 Feb 4. pii: gutjnl-2015-3099408.

Berger E, Rath E, Yuan D, Waldschmitt N, Khaloian S, Allgäuer M, Staszewski O, Lobner EM, Schöttl T, Giesbertz P, Coleman OI, Prinz M, Weber A, Gerhard M, Klingenspor M, Janssen K-P, Heikenwälder M, Haller D. Mitochondrial function controls intestinal epithelial stemness and Proliferation. Nat Commun. 2016 Oct 27;7:13171

Technische Universtität München
Lehrstuhl für Klinische Ernährungsmedizin



Technische Unversität München
Lehrstuhl für Molekulare Ernährungsmedizin
TUM School of Life Sciences

Else Kröner-Fresenius-Zentrum für Ernährungsmedizin


E-Mail: mk[at]tum.de

Further information
The Chair of Molecular Nutritional Medicine is dedicated towards the study of energy balance regulation, thermogenesis, and adipose tissue biology. To address our research questions we study the integrative physiology of energy metabolism from the systemic to the cellular and mitochondrial level. Adipose tissues form a highly heterogeneous and plastic organ with essential impact on the regulation of energy flux. Fat cells (adipocytes) not only represent the major energy depots of the body but also secrete hormones (adipokines) regulating hunger and satiety in the brain and metabolic fuel partitioning in peripheral high metabolic rate organs. Moreover, adipocytes acquire contrasting metabolic properties: white adipocytes are specialized in fat storage, while brown adipocytes dissipate food energy as heat. A novel type of brown-like adipocyte, known as beige or brite (brown-in-white), can be found in white adipose tissues.

Adult humans have metabolically active brown / brite adipocytes, but the developmental origin and physiological function of these cells remains elusive. The abundance and metabolic activity of these cells decreases with age and with the progression of metabolic disease (obesity, diabetes, cachexia). Recruitment and activation of brown / brite adipocytes in humans is associated with beneficial metabolic effects. Genes, epigenetics, nutrition and environment impact the abundance of brown and brite adipocytes.

Within the framework of ZIEL our interdisciplinary research revealed large individual variation in the amount and activity of brown fat between subjects. We now aim to identify the causes and consequences of high brown fat mass and activity in humans. On the mechanistic level, we investigate the nutritional regulation and the endocrine / paracrine signals triggering recruitment and activation of human brown and brite adipocytes. On the physiological level we study the function of thermogenic human adipocytes for food intake and energy expenditure. This will elucidate the role of heterogeneity and plasticity of the adipose organ in the etiology of metabolic diseases.

Gerngroß C, Schretter J, Klingenspor M, Schwaiger M, Fromme T. Active brown fat during 18FDG-PET/CT imaging defines a patient group with characteristic traits and an increased probability of brown fat redetection. J Nucl Med. 2017 Jan 19, in press.

Kless C, Rink N, Rozman J, Klingenspor M. Proximate causes for diet-induced obesity in laboratory mice: a case study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2017 Feb 1, in press

Kübeck R, Bonet-Ripoll C, Hoffmann C, Walker A, Müller VM, Schüppel VL, Lagkouvardos I, Scholz B, Engel KH, Daniel H, Schmitt-Kopplin P, Haller D, Clavel T, Klingenspor M. Dietary fat and gut microbiota interactions determine diet-induced obesity in mice. Mol Metab. 2016 Oct 13; 5(12):1162-1174.

Lehrstuhl für Epidemiologie
Medizinische Fakultät, Universität Augsburg


E-Mail: jakob.linseisen[at]med.uni-augsburg.de 

Helmholtz Zentrum München
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt (GmbH)
Institut für Epidemiologie II


E-Mail: j.linseisen[at]helmholtz-muenchen.de

Further information:
Specific expertise in Nutritional Epidemiology; Extensive experience in the planning and conduct of large epidemiological projects, including prospective cohort studies (EPIC-Heidelberg and the German National Cohort study) and cross-sectional studies (Bavarian Food Consumption Survey II); Scientific evaluation of research questions by means of observational ‚real world‘ data in humans; Vice-President of the Scientific Board of the German Nutrition Society.

Dr. Linseisen will contribute to the development of ZIEL by providing his specific expertise for the planning, conduct and scientific use of epidemiologic studies in the context of diet and nutrition (e.g., in the enable project).

Main Research:

  • Primary and secondary prevention of chronic diseases
  • Health care research, based on patient cohorts and epidemiologic registries
  • Experimental studies in high-risk groups and patients

Riedl A, (…), Linseisen J. Metabotyping and its application in targeted nutrition: an overview. Br J Nutr. 2017 Jun;117(12):1631-1644. Rohrmann S, (…), Riboli E, Linseisen J. Meat consumption and mortality--results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. BMC Med. 2013 Mar 7;11:63.

Kühn T, (…), Linseisen J. Plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D and the risk of breast cancer in the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition: a nested case-control study. Int J Cancer. 2013 Oct 1;133(7):1689-700.

Jourdan C, (…), Linseisen J. Body fat free mass is associated with the serum metabolite profile in a population-based study. PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e40009.

Hung RJ, (…), Linseisen J, (…), Brennan P. A susceptibility locus for lung cancer maps to nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit genes on 15q25. Nature. 2008 Apr 3;452(7187):633-7.

Pischon T, (…), Linseisen J, (…), Riboli E. General and abdominal adiposity and risk of death in Europe. N Engl J Med. 2008 Nov 13;359(20):2105-20.

Technical University of Munich
Westernization of Diet and the Gut

School of Life Sciences
Gregor-Mendel-Str. 2
85354 Freising
Deutschland/ Germany

Email: soeren.ocvirk[at]tum.de

Research activity:

Die mit dem modernen Lebensstil in Ländern mit hohem Einkommen verbundene Ernährung ist häufig durch eine geringe Aufnahme von Ballaststoffen und einen hohen Verzehr von Fett und rotem Fleisch gekennzeichnet. Dieses "westliche" Ernährungsmuster führt zu grundlegenden Veränderungen in der Zusammensetzung der menschlichen Darmmikrobiota und im Stoffwechsel, was insgesamt das Risiko für verschiedene nicht übertragbare Krankheiten (NCD) wie Fettleibigkeit, Diabetes oder Dickdarmkrebs erhöht. Da sie sich an der Schnittstelle zwischen Darmmikroben und Wirt befindet, wird die Gesundheit des Magen-Darm-Trakts eindeutig von ernährungsbedingten dysbiotischen Merkmalen der Darmmikrobiota beeinflusst. Um herauszufinden, welche Merkmale eine krankheitsassoziierte (=dysbiotische) Darmmikrobiota kennzeichnen, müssen wir zunächst verstehen, wie eine gesunde Mikrobiota definiert ist, insbesondere in Bevölkerungsgruppen mit einem geringen NCD-Risiko.  

Hier konzentrieren wir uns auf die traditionelle Ernährung ländlicher Gemeinschaften in Afrika südlich der Sahara, um herauszufinden, wie die Verwestlichung der Ernährung das Darmmilieu verändert und die Gesundheit des Magen-Darm-Trakts beeinflusst. In Zusammenarbeit mit lokalen Partnern (z. B. dem African Microbiome Institute an der Universität Stellenbosch, Südafrika) und internationalen Forschungsinitiativen wie der German Alliance for Global Health Research (GLOHRA) analysieren wir Ernährungsmuster und Darmmikrobiota-Profile verschiedener gesunder Kohorten im ländlichen Afrika südlich der Sahara. Diese klinischen Beobachtungsstudien werden durch mechanistische Arbeiten in gnotobiotischen Tiermodellen ergänzt, um kausale Zusammenhänge in den zugrundeliegenden Wechselwirkungen zwischen Ernährung, Darmbakterien und dem Wirt zu untersuchen. Aktuelle Projekte untersuchen die Rolle von Ballaststoffen und kurzkettigen Fettsäuren produzierenden Bakterien beim Darmkrebsrisiko sowie die funktionelle Bedeutung von Gallenpigmenten und mikrobiellem Gallensäurestoffwechsel für die Darmgesundheit.

Auf der Grundlage dieses multidisziplinären Ansatzes wollen wir herausfinden, wie Ernährungsfaktoren zur Aufrechterhaltung der Darmgesundheit in Bevölkerungsgruppen des globalen Südens beitragen können, die derzeit eine Ernährungsumstellung auf westliche Kost erleben. Darüber hinaus werden wir lernen, wie Ernährungs- und Umweltfaktoren im ländlichen Afrika südlich der Sahara eine menschliche Darmmikrobiota formen, die für die Prävention von NCDs von Nutzen sein kann.

Selected publications:

  1. Ocvirk, S. & O’Keefe, S. J. D.: Dietary fat, bile acid metabolism and colorectal cancer. Semin. Cancer Biol. 73, 347–355 (2021).

  2. Ocvirk, S., Wilson, A. S., Posma, J. M., Li, J. V., Koller, K. R., Day, G. M., Flanagan, C. A., Otto, J. E., Sacco, P. E., Sacco, F. D., Sapp, F. R., Wilson, A. S., Newton, K., Brouard, F., DeLany, J. P., Behnning, M., Appolonia, C. N., Soni, D., Bhatti, F., Methe, B., Fitch, A., Morris, A., Gaskins, H. R., Kinross, J., Nicholson, J. K., Thomas, T. K., O’Keefe, S. J. D.: A prospective cohort analysis of gut microbial co-metabolism in Alaska Native and rural African people at high and low risk of colorectal cancer. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 111(2), 406–419 (2020).

  3. Katsidzira, L., Ocvirk, S., Wilson, A., Li, J., Mahachi, C. B., Soni, D., DeLany, J., Nicholson, J. K., Zoetendal, E. G., O’Keefe, S. J. D.: Differences in fecal gut microbiota, short-chain fatty acids and bile acids link colorectal cancer risk to dietary changes associated with urbanization among Zimbabweans. Nutr. Cancer. 71, 1313-1324 (2019).

  4. Ocvirk S., O’Keefe S. J. D.: Influence of Bile Acids on Colorectal Cancer Risk: Potential Mechanisms Mediated by Diet - Gut Microbiota Interactions. Curr. Nutr. Rep. 6(4), 315–22 (2017).

Professur für Translational Microbiome Data Integration
Emmy Noether Group for Computational Microbiome Research


Technical University of Munich
85354 Freising

Phone: +49 8161 71 2343
E-Mail: melanie.schirmer[at]tum.de


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 challenges, my lab uses integrated analyses of complex multi-omics datasets from large clinical cohorts to computationally predict host-microbial interactions. We then follow up with experimental validation of the immunogenicity and inflammatory activity of the identified bacterial strains and metabolites, providing insights into the potential mechanisms of the human microbiome in health and diseases.



N. Vadaq, M. Schirmer, R.N. Tunjungputri, H. Vlamakis, C. Chiriac, E. Ardiansyah, M.H. Gasem, L. Joosten, P.G. de Groot, R.J. Xavier, M.G. Netea, A.JAM van der Ven, Q. de Mast, Untargeted plasma metabolome and gut microbiome profiling provide novel insights in the regulation of platelet reactivity in healthy individuals [Thrombosis and Haemostasis]


L.B. Thingholm, M.C. Ruehlemann, M. Koch, B. Fuqua, G. Laucke, R. Boehm, C. Bang, E.A. Franzosa, M. Huebenthal, A. Rahnavard, F. Frost, J. Lloyd-Price, M. Schirmer, ..., C. Huttenhower, Obese Individuals with and without Type 2 Diabetes Show Different Gut Microbial Functional Capacity and Composition [Cell Host & Microbe]

M. Schirmer, A. Garner, H. Vlamakis, R.J. Xavier, Microbial genes and pathways in inflammatory bowel disease [Nature Reviews Microbiology]

J. Lloyd-Price, C. Arze, A.N. Ananthakrishnan, M. Schirmer, J. Avila-Pacheco, ..., C. Huttenhower, Multi-omics of the Gut Microbial Ecosystem in Inflammatory Bowel Disease [Nature]

J.S. Hyams, S. Davis Thomas, N. Gotman, Y. Haberman, R. Karns, M. Schirmer, ..., L.A. Denson, Clinical and biological predictors of response to standardized pediatric colitis therapy (PROTECT): a multicentre inception cohort study [The Lancet]

Y. Haberman, M. Schirmer, P.J. Dexheimer, R. Karns, T. Braun, ..., L.A. Denson, Age-of-diagnosis dependent ileal immune intensification and reduced alpha-defensin in older versus younger pediatric Crohn Disease patients despite already established dysbiosis [Mucosal immunology]

N.A. Yudanin, F. Schmitz, A. Flamar, J.J.C. Thome, E.T. Wojno, J.B. Moeller, M. Schirmer, ..., D. Artis, Spatial and Temporal Mapping of Human Innate Lymphoid Cells Reveals Elements of Tissue Specificity [Immunity]

Y. Haberman, R. Karns, P.J. Dexheimer, M. Schirmer, J. Somekh, ..., L.A. Denson, Ulcerative colitis mucosal transcriptomes reveal mitochondriopathy and personalized mechanisms underlying disease severity and treatment response [Nature Communications]

Helmholtz Zentrum München
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt (GmbH)
Research Unit Analytical BioGeoChemistry


E-Mail: schmitt-kopplin[at]helmholtz-muenchen.de

Further information:
Understanding complex (bio/geo)systems is a pivotal challenge in modern sciences that fuels a constant development of modern analytical technology, finding innovative solutions to resolve and  analyze complex organic mixtures. We aim to establish concepts of complexity and complex small molecules chemistry, in systems subjected to biotic and abiotic transformations, and to develop analytical possibilities to disentangle chemical complexity into its elementary parts (i.e. compositional and structural resolution) as a global integrated approach termed systems chemical analytics. Prof. Schmitt-Kopplin´s major interests are chemical interactions at interfaces in life and earth sciences. His goal is a better understanding of chemical processes i.e. in foods and microbial ecosystems in nutrition, health and environment to identify small molecular keyplayers, their structure and modulating functions. Targeted analysis/quantification of known compounds or non-targeted metabolite profiling are followed using (ultra)high resolution analytical platforms. These involve (µ)separation (hyphenated to MS), spectroscopy (800MHz NMR), mass spectrometry (12 Tesla FTICR-MS), and mathematical methods, to describe and visualize organic structural diversity with space and time resolution in the fields of metabolomics and metallomics.

Within the ZIEL consortium we contribute to metabolomics analysis in targeted and non-targeted way of food and microbiomes in related nutritional studies.

Ph. Schmitt-Kopplin, D. Hemmler, F. Moritz, R. D. Gougeon, M. Lucio, M. Meringer, C. Müller, M. Harir, N. Hertkorn, Systems Chemical Analytics: Introduction to the challenges of chemical complexity analysis, Faraday discussions, 2019, DOI: 10.1039/c9fd00078j

Rychlik M., Ph. Schmitt-Kopplin, Reading From the Crystal Ball: The Laws of Moore and Kurzweil Applied to Mass Spectrometry in Food Analysis, Frontiers in Nutrition, 2020, 7, 9.

K. E. Haslauer, D. Hemmler, Ph. Schmitt-Kopplin, S. S. Heinzmann, Guidelines for the Use of Deuterium Oxide (D2O) in 1H NMR Metabolomics, Analytical Chemistry, 2019, 91, 11063-11069, DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.9b01580

Sillner, N., Walker, A., Hemmler, D., Bazanella, M., Heinzmann, S.S., Haller, D., Schmitt-Kopplin, Ph., Milk-Derived Amadori Products in Feces of Formula-Fed Infants, Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 2019, 67(28), 8061-8069, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.9b01889

Maier, TV, M. Lucio, L.H. Lee, N. VerBerkmoes, C.J. Brislawn, J. Bernhardt, R. Lamendella, J.E. McDermott, N. Bergeron, S.S. Heinzmann, J.T. Morton, A. González Peña, G. Ackermann, R. Knight, K. Riedel, R.M. Krauss, Ph. Schmitt-Kopplin, J.K. Jansson, Impact of Dietary Resistant Starch on the Human Gut Microbiome, Metaproteome, and Metabolome, MBio, 5(8),  e01343-17, DOI: 10.1128/mBio.01343-17

Professur für Umweltmikrobiologie
TUM, Weihenstephan

Helmholtz Zentrum München
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt (GmbH)
Abteilung für vergleichende Mikrobiomanalyse


E-Mail: schloter[at]helmholtz-muenchen.de

Weitere Informationen:
Michael Schloter leitet die Abteilung für „Vergleichende Mikrobiomanalysen“ am Helmholtz Zentrum München. Im Fokus stehen Mikrobiome aus unterschiedlichen Habitaten. Hierzu zählen Mikrobiome, die mit Pflanzen assoziiert sind, genauso wie mikrobielle Gemeinschaften, die mit Nutztieren wie Rindern und Schweinen oder mit Insekten Interaktionen bilden. Ein besonderes Augenmerk gilt der Analyse humaner Mikrobiome und deren Rolle für die Gesundheit des Menschen. Durch die Untersuchung dieser sehr unterschiedlichen Habitate erhofft sich Michael Schloter und seine Gruppe generelle Mechanismen und Gesetzmäßigkeiten zu identifizieren, wie Interaktionen zwischen Mikroorganismen ablaufen und wie sich Netzwerkstrukturen bzw. Kommunikationswegen ausbilden. Um diese Ziele zu erreichen nutzt die Abteilung eine Kombination aus Ansätzen die auf der Nutzung stabiler Isotope basieren in Kombination mit modernen Hochdurchsatz-Sequenzierverfahren zur Analyse von mikrobiellen Metagenomen und –transkriptomen.  

Durch die Anbindung an das ZIEL erhofft sich Michael Schloter die Rolle der Ernährung auf die Struktur und Funktion humaner Mikrobiome besser zu verstehen und mit dem Auftreten von chronischen und akuten Stoffwechselerkrankungen zu verknüpfen. Hierzu werden gemeinsam mit Partnern aus dem ZIEL gezielt Experimente in unterschiedlich komplexen Systemen durchgeführt, um mikrobielle Metabolite in Abhängigkeit der Ernährung zu identifizieren, die den Phänotyp der Wirtszellen beeinflussen. Ferner sollen gemeinsam mit den Mitgliedern des ZIEL Ansätze entwickelt werden metagenomische Informationen gezielt zu nutzen, um wichtige Mikroorganismen des humanen Mikrobioms zu isolieren, diese genotypisch zu charakterisieren und in bestehende künstliche Gemeinschaften zu integrieren, deren Wirkung dann im Tiermodell untersucht wird.   

Technische Universität München
Lehrstuhl für Nutritional Systems Biology
TUM School of Life Sciences
ZIEL - Institute for Food & Health

Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology
at the Technical University of Munich

Universität Wien
Fakultät für Chemie


E-Mail: v.somoza.leibniz-lsb[at]tum.de

Further information:
Our research aim is to improve our understanding of food constituents that determine the sensory quality and have an impact on body functions by applying an interdisciplinary Food Systems Biology approach. New solutions for complex questions in food research are achieved by combining food chemistry, molecular biology and bioinformatics, e.g. machine learning, network modeling and molecular analyses. Specifically, we are interested in the molecular sensory characterization of foods along the value chain, their metabolization upon digestion and absorption, and their impact on chemoreceptor-associated human biology with functional consequences affecting, e.g., food intake, and their prediction. In particular, our research aims at explaining the molecular mechanisms of chemoreceptors sensing odor, taste and chemesthetically-active food constituents on a cellular and systemic level by, e.g. CRISPR-Cas9 tailored cell lines and proof-of-concept human intervention trials. As a member of ZIEL, we provide our expertise in the field of bioactives-oriented food research. Additionally, we offer infrastructures within cooperation projects. These include, for example, our sensory laboratory, various high-performance analytical technologies and scientific databases (www.leibniz-lsb.de). Conversely, we benefit from the expertise of ZIEL, e.g. in the field of microbiome research or the ZIEL Core Facility for Human Studies. Our overall aim is to use the synergies available in the research network to explore complex, interdisciplinary issues in the field of "Food - Nutrition - Health", to broaden knowledge and to strength knowledge as well as to promote excellent young scientists.

Bitter sensing TAS2R50 mediates the trans-resveratrol-induced anti-inflammatory effect on interleukin 6 release in HGF-1 Cells in culture. Tiroch J, Sterneder S, Di Pizio A, Lieder B, Hoelz K, Holik AK, Pignitter M, Behrens M, Somoza M, Ley JP, Somoza V. J Agric Food Chem. 2021, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.0c07058. 

Sweet taste antagonist lactisole administered in combination with sucrose, but not glucose, increases energy intake and decreases peripheral serotonin in male subjects. Schweiger K, Grüneis V, Treml J, Galassi C, Karl CM, Ley JP, Krammer GE, Lieder B, Somoza V. Nutrients. 2020, 12(10):3133. DOI: 10.3390/nu12103133.

Caffeine induces gastric acid secretion via bitter taste signaling in gastric parietal cells.
Liszt KI, Ley JP, Lieder B, Behrens M, Stöger V, Reiner A, Hochkogler CM, Köck E, Marchiori A, Hans J, Widder S, Krammer G, Sanger GJ, Somoza MM, Meyerhof W, Somoza V. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017, 114(30):E6260-E6269. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1703728114.

Lehrstuhl für Umweltmedizin
Medizinische Fakultät, Universität Augsburg


E-Mail: c.traidl-hoffmann[at]tum.de

IEM Institut für Umweltmedizin, Helmholtz Zentrum München


General Research Expertise:
My overarching research theme relies upon the investigation of molecular mechanisms which operate during environmental impact on human health and disease. This includes the research on pollen and its microbiome as well as allergenic substances in general. The study of chronic inflammatory skin diseases goes along with the interest in environmentally triggered and caused non-communicable diseases including allergies. One emphasis is on inflammatory mechanisms, immunological proceedings, and on the study of the skin and gut microbiome. The interrelation of environmental factors such as nutrition with the body system is of major interest to me. Further topics are climate change and its effect on the above mentioned research fields, e. g. on pollen allergenicity and on microbiome abundance/hetereogeneity. As a medical specialist (board certificate: dermatology, venereology, allergology, environmental medicine), I have conducted translational research during the last two decades. The work with patients and the improvement of systemic therapy plus the development of resolute prevention methods are my motivating factors.

ZIEL-oriented Research Profile:
My aims comprises the analysis of the skin microbiome by means of:

1. descriptive research on chronically inflammable skin diseases

2. functional analyses of the epithelial-microbe interaction

3. thorough investigation of nutrition effects on the skin-microbiome composition

To achieve the above three aims, a doctoral candidate will work at the core facility of Dr. Thomas Clavel at the WZW. There, a sequencing device allows for a meticulous study of microbiota. The interdisciplinary ZIEL‑project between Professor Dirk Haller and me is supported by Professor Avidan Neumann and Dr. Matthias Reiger.

1. Kong HH, Andersson B, Clavel T, Common JE, Jackson SA, Olson ND, Segre JA, Traidl-Hoffmann C. “Performing Skin Microbiome Research: A Method to the Madness.” J Invest Dermatol. 2017 Jan 4. pii: S0022-202X(16)32621-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2016.10.033.

2. Obersteiner A, Gilles S, Frank U, Beck I, Häring F, Ernst D, Rothballer M, Hartmann A, Traidl-Hoffmann C, Schmid M. “Pollen-Associated Microbiome Correlates with Pollution Parameters and the Allergenicity of Pollen.” PLoS One. 2016 Feb 24;11(2):e0149545. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149545.

3. Lehmann S, Hiller J, van Bergenhenegouwen J, Knippels LM, Garssen J, Traidl-Hoffmann C. “In Vitro Evidence for Immune-Modulatory Properties of Non-Digestible Oligosaccharides: Direct Effect on Human Monocyte Derived Dendritic Cells.” PLoS One. 2015 Jul 6;10(7):e0132304. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0132304.

Technische Universität München
Lehrstuhl für Metabolic Programming
TUM School of Life Sciences


E-Mail: henriette.uhlenhaut[at]tum.de

Further information:
At the Chair for Metabolic Programming, we are studying hormone action in metabolism and immunity. The lab focusses on stress hormones such as cortisol, which bind to nuclear hormone receptors to control gene expression. We are combining cutting edge genomic technologies such as NGS together with bioinformatics, preclinical physiological models and molecular genetics to uncover gene networks controlling metabolism and innate immune responses. Our aim is to decode the DNA sequences governing mammalian physiology. Special areas of interest are transcriptional mechanisms in inflammatory reactions, circadian rhythms, and glucose and lipid metabolism.
Within the ZIEL, we aim to expand our expertise and to collaborate during the investigation of nutritional signals modulating hormone responses and innate immunity. We are excited about future translational studies and interactions within this metabolic network.


1.    Quagliarini F, Mir AA, Balazs K, Wierer M, Dyar KA, Jouffe C, Makris K, Hawe J, Heinig M, Filipp FV, Barish GD, Uhlenhaut NH. Cistromic Reprogramming of the Diurnal Glucocorticoid Hormone Response by High-Fat Diet. Mol Cell 2019;76:531-545.e5. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2019.10.007

2.    Hemmer MC, Wierer M, Schachtrup K, Downes M, Hübner N, Evans RM, Uhlenhaut NH. E47 modulates hepatic glucocorticoid action. Nat Commun 2019;10:306. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-08196-5

3.    Dyar KA, Hubert MJ, Mir AA, Ciciliot S, Lutter D, Greulich F, Quagliarini F, Kleinert M, Fischer K, Eichmann TO, Wright LE, Peña Paz MI, Casarin A, Pertegato V, Romanello V, Albiero M, Mazzucco S, Rizzuto R, Salviati L, Biolo G, Blaauw B, Schiaffino S, Uhlenhaut NH. Transcriptional programming of lipid and amino acid metabolism by the skeletal muscle circadian clock. PLoS Biol 2018;16:e2005886. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2005886