Max Planck Research Groups

Max Planck Research Groups

Complex Adaptive Traits (CATs) - Dr. Ilka Bischofs-Pfeifer

The Bischofs lab studies complex adaptive traits (CATs) of stressed bacteria. Our goals are to understand, to control and to engineer such traits. Using tools from molecular biology, microscopy and mathematical modelling we investigate how signaling networks regulate CATs. We seek to reveal fundamental organizing principles that relate the molecular network design to population-level behavior and vice versa. This should facilitate rational manipulations of bacterial populations and the implementation of novel functionalities into “smart” communities in the future.


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Bacterial Biofilms - Prof. Dr. Knut Drescher

The lab of Dr. Knut Drescher focuses on understanding collective bacterial behaviors, using biofilm formation as a model system. Bacterial biofilms are surface-associated bacterial communities that are held together by an extracellular matrix. Cells within these communities are highly resistant to antibiotics and display strong phenotypic heterogeneity. Using microscopy, molecular biology techniques, and mathematical modeling, we study how bacteria form these complex multicellular biofilm communities, and how biofilms affect bacterial ecology. 

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Prokaryotic Small RNA Biology - Dr. Lennart Randau

The research of the Max Planck Research Group "Prokaryotic Small RNA Biology", led by Dr. Lennart Randau, aims to understand the processing of small RNAs involved in the defense against integrative elements (e.g. viruses) in Bacteria and Archaea. The group uses an interdisciplinary approach combining computational, biochemical and microbiological techniques to investigate (i) the RNAs that play the central role in the prokaryotic CRISPR immune system and (ii) the evolution of diverse disruptive elements within archaeal transfer RNA genes. These systems will be exploited for the modulation of prokaryotic immunity and the creation of gene knock-down technology.

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