My main research interest is the interplay and interactions among bacteria of different species within diverse communities. It is becoming more and more clear that the activity of bacteria are highly dependent on and determined by the microbial community they live in, and that the total functions of a multispecies bacterial community can’t be explained by examining each part of the community in isolation. Thus, a deeper exploration of the interactions shaping these communities is vital for understanding bacterial activity, physiology, function and evolution.
My current research aims at understanding the prevalence and underlying mechanism of interspecific interactions; both with respect to interaction characterization (synergism vs. antagonism), main facilitator (co-metabolism, co-aggregation etc.) and molecular mechanism. This includes characterisation of the impact of quorum sensing and horizontal gene transfer. I study bacterial interactions in strain collections from various natural and human health-related environments including soil, marine, freshwater, day care facilities and food processing environments.
In most cases, tight bacterial associations in a structured community are prerequisites for the interactions to develop; therefore biofilms are perfect settings for studies of interspecific bacterial interactions. I my group, different types of biofilm models, including static, batch biofilms and the newly established biofilm flow system, Bioflux 1000z, have become our model systems of choice for study of multispecies interactions.