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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.
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.