Our Research

The group’s mission is to gain a better quantitative understanding of the human microbiome as an important determinant of human health and disease using systems biology approaches. To be able to study the complex crosstalk between microbes and host cells in the human holobiont, we develop experimental techniques (sequencing and imaging protocols) and computational tools (taxonomic and functional profiling software as well as statistical and machine learning analysis workflows, see Tools page). We apply these tools in various interdisciplinary and collaborative projects to investigate factors shaping microbiome composition (e.g. diet and medication), how microbes modulate the impact of environmental factors on the host (e.g. through bacterial drug metabolization), how microbes and their metabolism may contribute to disease processes (such as inflammation or carcinogenesis in various organs) and how we can harness novel, more rational microbiome modulation approaches to restore human wellbeing or improve the outcome of medical treatments.

Current Projects

How can the microbiome be modulated to improve human health?
Can we obtain a quantitative understanding of gut dysbiosis to rationalise microbiome modulation?
In which cancers does an intra-tumoral microbiome exist and how does it interact with other cellular and molecular features of the tumour and its microenvironment?
How can we accurately identify and quantify microbes and their gene functions from various sequencing readouts including ones generated from low-biomass samples?
How does gut microbial secondary metabolism impact human diseases and drug treatments?
How to image diverse microbial communities in their natural environment to reveal spatial community architectures?
How to effectively utilise statistical modelling and machine learning to delineate microbiome-disease signatures and identify robust biomarkers for disease diagnosis and prognosis?
Can we predict the function of microbial genes – even if we know little about the organisms themselves?