Xin You


Xin You
Doctoral Researcher

Department of Environmental Microbiology
Working Group Bioavailability
Helmholtz-Centre for
Environmental Research - UFZ
Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany

Phone +49 341 235-1371

Xin You

Research interest

My current research interest includes:

Transport of phage in soils
Transport of phages in the subsurface soil environment (credit: background modified from CRC AquaDiva film by Dahlmedia)

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.

Interaction between phages and non-host bacteria
Interactions between phages and non-host bacteria in the subsurface (credit: background @CRC AquaDiva)

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.

Effect of the fungal mycosphere on prophages
Effect of the fungal mycosphere on phage activities (credit: background @CRC AquaDiva)

Phage-mycosphere interaction

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.


Doctoral Researcher at Working Group Bioavailability
Dept. of Environmental Microbiology
Topic: Phage transport and phage-mycosphere interactions


Research stay at Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ), University of São Paulo
Hosted by Prof. Carlos E. P. Cerri, Department of Soil Science

Master of Science
Thesis "Atmospheric methane consumption by small-scale vertical distribution of microorganisms in soil"
Institute of Soil Science and Land Evaluation
University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart


Bachelor of Engineering
Thesis "Using virus-induced gene silencing and bioinformatics to select ripening-related genes in tomato"
College of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering
China Agricultural University, Beijing

  • 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).

Completed thesis:

'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)