My current research interest includes:
Transport of phages in the subsurface
Here, I mainly focus on the transport of marine phages (also called tracer phages) in soil systems and aim to test their suitability as biological tracers for water flow or colloidal transport. With this aim, I use physical and biological quantification methods to reveal the changes of tracer phages during their transport in laboratory systems and under field conditions.
Non-specific phage-bacteria interactions
Phages and bacteria are the two most abundant biological entities in the subsurface soil environment. There, phages frequently collide into surfaces of different bacteria in a sorption/desorption manner, which is a potential but yet neglected aspect of phage-bacteria interaction in natural environments. In this respect, I aim to quantify the interaction between phages and non-host bacteria with different surface properties and understand its potential ecological implication.
The mycosphere is the microhabitat surrounding fungal mycelia. As mycelia vastly extend in soil (e.g. up to 20’000 km/m3 in a forest soil), the mycosphere is considered to be a hotspot for microbial interactions and activity. Few is known however on the effect of fungi and the mycosphere on phages. Here, I focus on understanding the role of fungi and the mycosphere for phage activities.
- Bacteriophage research methods (incl. phage isolation, selection, purification, characterization and production; training aquired at Eliava Institute
- Laboratory column transport experiments
- Surface physico-chemical interaction (DLVO theory)
- Tunable Resistive Pulse Sensing (TRPS)
- Enumeration of phages (plaque forming unit, qNano, DLS) and bacteria (colony forming unit, cell counter)
- Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR, in collaboration with Dr. René Kallies at Microbial Interaction Ecology UFZ )
- Epifluorecsent microscopic visualization at single cell level
- Helium Ion Microscopy (HIM) in collaboration with Dr. Matthias Schmidt at ProVis UFZ )
If you are interested in my research topic or one of those technical aspects above, please do not hesitate to write me (or Dr. Lukas Wick) an informal email expressing your interest and introducing yourself and we will see if there would be a suitable topic for you ( Regardless of the topics, all thesis offered by us can be written in either German or English).
'Quantifying phage-transport through porous media by physical and biological methods' ( Bachelor thesis, 03/2018 - 09/2018, co-supervised with Dr. René Kallies)
- Language skills:
- Native in Mandarin
- Fluent in English and German
- Beginner in Portuguese
- Science communication:
- Blogger for the Helmholtz Juniors' blog (2020 - now)
- Science slam at the 3rd Microbe Slam of the DGHM & VAAM (2020, Leipzig)
- Best contribution (2nd) to the science slam at N2 Event 2019: from research to application (2019, Berlin)