Insect gut microbiology and symbiosis (Prof. Dr. Andreas Brune)
Termite guts are tiny bioreactors converting lignocellulose to microbial fermentation products that fuel the metabolism of the host. My research group studies the role of the termite gut microbiota in the symbiotic digestion of wood, focusing on the biology of the prokaryotic and eukaryotic symbionts and their interactions, the structure and functions of the intestinal ecosystem, and the evolution of its microbiota. Other aspects are the microbial processes in the guts of humivorous soil macrofauna, such as soil-feeding termites and scarab beetle larvae.
Methanotrophic bacteria, and environmental genomics/transcriptomics (PD Dr. Werner Liesack)
The main theme of our research is microbial ecology. The projects cover topics at the molecular, genomic, cellular, and community levels. The current research is focused on (i) the molecular biology and ecophysiology of Methylocystis sp. strain SC2, (ii) soil metatranscriptomics, and (iii) microbial communities in Sphagnum-dominated peatlands. The main findings are described in Recent Research (Liesack 2012-2014).
Microbial protein structure (Seigo Shima, Ph.D.)
This group is presently working on three projects: (i)analysis of the structure and the catalytic mechanism of [Fe]-hydrogenase (Hmd), (ii) crystal structure analysis of tetrahydromethanopterin (H4MPT)- and F420-dependent enzymes, and (iii) characterization of enzymes involved in anaerobic oxidation of methane.
Biochemistry of anaerobic microorganisms (Prof. Dr. Rudolf K. Thauer / Emeritus)
Biochemistry, physiology and ecology of anaerobic bacteria and archaea with a focus on the enzymes and coenzymes involved in the energy metabolism of Clostridia, of sulfate-reducing bacteria and archaea, of methanogenic and methanotrophic archaea, and of aerobic methanotrophic bacteria.