RESEARCH VISION & HIGHLIGHTS

The impressive ability of bacteria to thrive in very diverse environments as parts of multi-species communities is based on their enormous adaptivity. One highly understudied adaptive trait of bacteria is their cell biology, including morphology, cell division mechanism and chromosome organization. Research into morphology has provided emerging evidence that cell biological properties impact bacterial fitness and pathogenesis (van Teeseling et al., 2017), thus significantly impacting physiology and community interactions.


Therefore, it is our vision to study the molecular mechanisms underlying bacterial cell biology, and investigate how cell biological processes are modulated in response to microbial interactions. We plan to unravel how cell biological adaptations impact the fitness of bacteria as community members. To be able to identify common themes, we study four model systems, composed of a proteobacterium, often with
an environmental partner. To answer these research questions, we connect the fields of bacterial cell biology, molecular microbiology, environmental microbiology, biochemistry and physiology. Our research relies heavily on microscopy and image analysis.

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IMAGE ANALYSIS SOFTWARE TOOL FOR CELL BIOLOGY

BacStalk is one of our prefered tools for image analysis. We developed it specifically for the analysis of complex (Alpha)proteobacteria together with the lab of Knut Drescher. Dowload BacStalk and find documentation and tutorials at: https://drescherlab.org/data/bacstalk/.

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3D CHROMOSOME ORGANISATION IN HIGH RESOLUTION

In a longstanding collaboration with the Broederz group, we try to understand the 3D organization of the bacterial chromosome during their cell cycle and in response to environmental conditions. For this, we use super-resolution microscopy. See our manuscript on the chromosome of Caulobacter crescentus at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-22189-x.