No one had ever imagined life based on internal electric wires.
Cable bacteria conduct electrons with an efficiency that physics and molecular biology so far can’t explain, and nothing is known on how they control their energy and growth metabolism, when the respiratory electron transport chain is split between cells centimeters apart.
Center for Electromicrobiology aims to unravel how this unique form of life functions.
Center for Electromicrobiology is a Center of Excellence - funded by the Danish National Research Foundation in October 2017.
Centers are expected to engage in pondering some of the large unsolved questions and address the challenges that intrigue them the most. The philosophy is that when excellent people work with problems they are most passionate about, groundbreaking results will follow. In other words, the foundation welcomes curiosity-driven research or what might be described as exceptional researchers’ “dream projects.”
Center for Electromicrobiology is hosted at AU Bioscience as an independent unit on the main AU Campus and share the state-of-the-art laboratories, facilities and instruments with the Section for Microbiology, an internationally leading research group in microbial ecology and biogeochemistry.
Center for Electromicrobiology is also tapping into expertise and analytical facilities at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and the iNANO Center, all within 4 minutes walking distance.
A multidisciplinary core group of PI’s and supervisors supports and coordinates the research in currently associated projects at CEM.
The CEM leader, Professor Lars Peter Nielsen, has a strong record of leading groundbreaking and interdisciplinary science projects, often at the interface between microbiology and geochemistry.
Vice head of CEM, Professor Andreas Schramm, has a background in molecular ecology, symbiosis, and microbial genome evolution. His main research areas in CEM are cable bacteria physiology and evolution, and electric interactions of cable bacteria with other microbes.
Researcher Lars Riis Damgaard is an expert on developing (micro)sensor technology and applying it in microbiological research.
Cryo-EM Facility Manager and Senior Scientist Thomas Boesenis an acclaimed scientist of structural biology and advanced electron microscopy and has investigated bacterial nanowires and cable bacteria.
Assistant Professor Ian Marshall is an expert in microbial genomics, and uses nucleic acid-based methods to study the ecophysiology of microbial communities.
Professor Bo Barker Jørgensen is an expert in biogeochemistry and studies microbial processes using highly sensitive radiotracer methods.
Assistant Professor Ugo Marzocchi's main area of research in CEM is on the occurrence of bioelectric processes in aquatic sediments and on their implication for elemental cycling. His technical expertise include the application of electrochemical and optical sensors and of isotopic tracers.
Professor Mingdong Dong is applied physicist specializing in advanced surface sensitive scanning probe microscopy (SPM). He has developed several important quantitative SPM-based surface sensitive techniques to investigate electronic, mechanical, thermal, chemical, and magnetic properties in biological systems and nanomaterials, which have been critically important for a better understanding of structure-function relationship.
Associate Professor Niculina Musat is one of the pioneers of nano-scale Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (nanoSIMS) single-cell imaging in the field of environmental microbiology. She has developed an original research direction centered on the use of isotope tracers, fluorescent tagging and nanoSIMS imaging to study single-cell metabolism, cell-to-cell interactions, and their role in biogeochemical processes.