Daniel Unterweger

Please contact Daniel for further information on the project: d.unterweger@iem.uni-kiel.de

Bacterial evolution during chronic disease

We are a young international group with a track record in bacteria-bacteria interactions of bacterial communities. Our projects combine evolutionary biology with microbiology to better understand health and disease.

The basic evolutionary principle of adaptation by natural selection applies to bacteria in our intestine. Even within a person’s lifetime, bacteria evolve as members of the microbiota in healthy individuals. Evolutionary theory predicts that the intestinal environment during inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) creates additional selection pressures for the evolution of bacterial traits we are currently not aware of, and that we might take advantage of to help restore a patient’s microbiota. We perform evolution experiments in a mouse model of IBD to identify and characterize bacterial traits under selection in the context of disease. The techniques include work with mice, sequencing of bacterial isolates, bioinformatics, anaerobic cultivation of bacteria, molecular biology on evolved variants and imaging by microscopy. Our previous work on bacterial communities of the lung form the basis for our experimental studies on bacteria-bacteria interactions and serve as a reference for microbial evolution in the host.

We are looking for a creative mind that shares our fascination for biology.

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