Large numbers of microbes team up on our body surfaces, mainly in the gastrointestinal tract. These microbes have coevolved with the human host and form an integral part of the human body: together they constitute a true “metaorganism”. Intestinal homeostasis between microbiota and the host is not only a key component for the development and maturation of the immune system, but it also provides protection against pathogens and enhances the production of metabolites needed for the normal host physiology.
Microbiota is emerging as a key environmental factor that could alter host physiology and influence or trigger the disease pathogenesis directly or indirectly. Our research thus investigates altered states of host microbiota interaction in the inflammatory milieu (especially in inflammatory bowel disease) in clinical samples and/or in vivo models, and the influence of genotype and environment (e.g. nutrition). A special focus is the comparative analysis of basic principles of host-microbe interactions in invertebrate, mostly marine animal models (e.g. Bobtail Squid, Jelly fish and mussels). We apply innovative high throughput sequencing methods to study the microbiota and host genomic profiles and their functional interplay (e.g. 16S rRNA, phylogenomics, meta-genomics and meta-transcriptomics and mRNAseq).