Current projects

DZIF - Functional genomics of microbial producers

Extending the database of microbial sequence space is a central measure for improving the discovery of novel antibiotics in DZIF. We apply high-throughput next generation genome sequencing of potential microbial producers and systematic microbial genome analyses for genome mining, to identify new types of natural producers outside of common bacterial groups. We integrate genome and transcriptome sequence analyses with metabolomics to investigate the genetic regulation of bacterial natural product biosynthesis, with the goal to discover novel antibiotic compounds and specifically induce and control their production. Presently, we focus on the biosynthetic potential of myxobacteria, in close collaboration with the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (Prof. Dr. Rolf Müller, Prof. Dr. Joachim Wink).

DZIF is funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung. 
Duration: 01.01.2021 - 31.12.2025

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SOARiAL - Spread of antibiotic resistance in an agrarian landscape

The SOARiAL project is an interdisciplinary cooperation of four Leibniz-Institutes (ATB, ZALF, TROPOS and DSMZ) and the FU Berlin. As a team of microbiologists, veterinarians, meteorologists and agricultural engineers, we investigate the wind-driven emission of pathogenic antibiotic-resistant bacteria from agricultural soils. 

Research work in this consortium is coordinated by the Leibniz Institute DSMZ (Prof. Dr. Ulrich Nübel) and funding is provided by the Leibniz Association.  
Duration: 01.02.2017 - 30.06.2021 

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Based on sequencing the genomes from multiple clinical C. difficile isolates, we investigate the spatiotemporal dynamics of C. difficile spread within a network of hospitals, and compare the results to patient referral patterns. By comparing isolates from hospital patients to those from community-associated C. difficile infections and from colonized inhabitants of long-term care facilities, respectively, we assess the significance of the community outside of healthcare institutions for providing C. difficile reservoirs. Collaboration with University Medical Center Göttingen (Prof. Dr. Uwe Groß), Christophorus-Kliniken Coesfeld (Prof. Dr. Lutz von Müller), and Alphaomega Labor (Dr. Henning Zaiß). 
To accelerate comparative analyses of many thousands of genomes from C. difficile isolates, we develop a genome database within the framework of EnteroBase, in cooperation with the University of Warwick (Prof. Mark Achtman). 

In collaboration with the Technical University Braunschweig (Prof. Stefan Dübel, Prof. Michael Hust), we study factors that cause susceptibility or protection against recurrence of C. difficile infections. To this end, we investigate the interaction of acquired host immunity and colonization resistance mediated by the microbiome. 
Project within the consortium 'Epidemiology and systems biology of the bacterial pathogen Clostridium difficile'.

Research in this consortium is coordinated by the Technical University Braunschweig (Prof. Dr. Dieter Jahn) and funded by the Federal State of Lower Saxony (Niedersächsisches Vorab) 
Duration: 01.07.2018 - 30.06.2021 

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The central goal of DUSTRISK is to evaluate the health effects of dust and its associated microorganisms on respiratory diseases and to develop an advisory dust-health-risk index. Specific objectives are (1) the identification of source regions of mineral dust, (2) the characterization of dust physicochemical and microbial compositions and the assessment of toxic effects on pulmonary cells, (3) the investigation of effects on respiratory diseases. To this end, a transdisciplinary team of atmospheric scientists, meteorologists, physicians, epidemiologists, toxicologists, biophysicists and microbiologists performs collaborative field, laboratory, clinical, epidemiological and modelling studies. Field measurements are carried out at the Cape Verde islands.

DUSTRISK is coordinated by the TROPOS institute and funding is provided by the Leibniz Association.
Duration: 01.07.2020 - 31.12.2023

Leibniz Research Alliance: INFECTIONS in an urbanizing world - humans, animals, environments

The Leibniz Research Alliance INFECTIONS ( is a consortium of 18 Leibniz Institutes that share their expertise to launch interdisciplinary studies on the emergence, persistence, transmission and control of antimicrobial resistance along environmental gradients. Collaborative projects are aligned along a virtual transect bridging natural, agricultural, and urban habitats.


INFECTIONS is funded by the Leibniz Association.

Duration: 01.04.2021 - 31.12.2025