Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Texas at Austin

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas. My research aims to understand the lifestyle of marine bacteria using the most recent “omic”-techniques. More specifically, my current project tries to unravel the metabolic capacities present in bacterial genomes and their metabolic potential. One topic I am working on deals with bacteria enriched during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, addressing the question how bacteria cope with oil contamination.

I am a biologist with a background in molecular biology. More specifically, I graduated in plant genetics and during my PhD I obtained an additional background in microbiology to better understand how microbes and plants interact. My current goal is to gain a better background in bioinformatics to better be able to tackle the research questions I am interested in.

Currently, I want to understand:
What are the microbes that can be found in marine ecosystems?
How can we use “omics” to uncover novel bacterial lineages?
What are their genomic and metabolic features?

Where I come from:
I did my PhD (just finished this year, in 2015) at the Max-Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne. I investigated how rhizosphere and root-bacterial communities interact with Arabis alpina and two Brassicaceae plant species. I worked on 16S rRNA gene community profiling and also isolated numerous bacteria. The research questions of my PhD were (in a simplified way):
How are bacterial communities affected by their surroundings/ what determines how bacterial communities assemble on plant roots
(i.e. plant species, soil type, flowering time…)?
What is the effect of synthetic bacterial communities on plant growth?


  • –present
    Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Texas at Austin