Research

The group's research focus is on the development and application of mass spectrometry-based tools to map and understand chemical exchange in complex biological systems

Native Metabolomics

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Microbiome Model Systems

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We work on the integration of native mass spectrometry techniques into our non-targeted metabolomics pipeline. This allows for the direct investigation of binding behavior (e.g. with proteins or metals) of small molecules from complex samples.

To better understand the influence of small molecules onto microbial communities we work on the development of scalable co-culture systems and synthetic microbial communities.

Marine Microbial Communities and Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM)

Computational Mass Spectrometry

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Marine microbial communities are of fundamental importance for global planetary process and offer an tremendous potential of chemical and bio-active novelty. At the same time, the community metabolome of marine ecosystems, a.k.a. the dissolved organic matter (DOM) pool, is one of the most complex and challenging samples for non-targeted mass spectrometry. The lab actively contributes to the development of new methods to unravel the DOM black-box.

With the recent technical improvement in high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry, we are at a point where we can obtain detailed chemical inventories of ultra-complex samples. However, the structural annotation of most detected compounds, transparent and reproducible data analysis, and data sharing are still major bottlenecks in the community.

We actively work with the developers of GNPS and MZmine to tackle MS/MS spectrum annotation, improve data processing, and remove entry barriers for LC-MS/MS data analysis.

Plant-Microbe Interactions

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Plant-microbe interactions are a fascinating systems of chemical interactions and offer huge potential for establishing sustainable agriculture. We are involved in multiple collaborations that investigate plant microbe and microbe-microbe chemical exchange in on plants and the rhizosphere.

Venom System

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Most animal venom are comprised of a multitude of small proteins and peptides that are heavily translationally modified. Top-down mass spectrometry offers an excellent tool to grasp this molecular diversity in order to improve the evolutionary understanding of venom toxins and to both battle and utilize venom in medical context.

Besides better understanding venom diversity from a host perspective, we are interested in the role of the microbiome in venom systems and are part of the iVAMP working group.