Microbiota engineering

Within the framework of a collaborative project MicroScapes, we have been investigating the usefulness of applying specific bacterial strains to remediate toxic compounds. With the help of transcriptomic and genetic studies we are trying to unravel which stress pathways become activated when such bacteria are re-implanted in a contaminated environment, and how this affects their capability to degrade the target chemicals. We are also developing new tools to study in high throughput the possible interactions between introduced and the resident bacteria in the soil.

In another project we are trying to understand the effects that pollutants and low concentrations may have on aquatic microbial communities. We are interested to study how we can detect growth of bacteria at very low pollutant concentrations using flow cytometry and ultra high throughput microcultivation plates.

Finally, in a set of collaborative projects with Antoine Guisan from the Department of Ecology and Evolution, we are studying microbial diversity in Alpine grasslands in order to understand how microbial diversity influences plant diversity, and how changing climate may influence microbial diversity.