Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

People

In CEM we count 10 members of the academic staff ranging from research assistant to professors. At the moment, we have 7 PhD students, 5 MSc students, and 6 BSc students. Furthermore, we have two visiting scholars and 3 members of the technical and administrative staff. Below you can read a short presentation of our members.

Academic Staff

Lars Peter Nielsen

Position: Professor, Head of Center

I have a PhD in Microbial Ecology from Aarhus University in 1989 and I have essentially worked there ever since.

My scientific interest is microbial life at the border between the oxic and the anoxic world and today it is all about cable bacteria. Before stumbling across electromicrobiology I mainly worked on filamentous sulfur bacteria, microbial nitrogen cycling, and emission of odour and greenhouse gases from agricultural environments.

I share my interests with my grandkids and enjoy family life and a few tours with the fishing rod.

PURE profile

Andreas Schramm

Position: Professor, Vice Head of Center

After my Masters in Biology at the Technical University Munich, a PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, postdoc years in Bayreuth (Germany) and Seattle (WA, USA), and an assistant professorship in Bayreuth, I have been at Aarhus University since 2004.

With a background in microbial nitrogen cycling, microsensor technology, and molecular microbial ecology, I have a broad interest in aquatic microbial ecology, geomicrobiology, and (symbiotic) interactions of microbes. After the discovery of electric currents in the seafloor, I became intrigued by their “who?” and “how?” and was part of the team eventually discovering cable bacteria, which I have studied ever since.

Outside of science, I enjoy playing (and listening to) music, spending time with my family, hiking (preferably in the Alpes), as well as playing volleyball.

PURE profile

Lars Riis Damgaard

Position: Researcher/academic co-worker

I have a Ph.D. degree from Aarhus University on the development and application of microsensors in microbial ecology. Before that I was Chief Scientific Officer at the microsensor company Unisense A/S.

My main focus at CEM is on technical experimental development and research, mainly within sensor techniques. Currently I am applying myself as project leader in the innovation project BIOMAP (bio.au.dk/BIOMAP) on soil pollution and cable bacteria.  

I spend my free time with my family, relaxing and walking the dog.

PURE profile

Thomas Boesen

Position: Senior Scientist and Cryo-EM Facility Manager

I finished my PhD in medical microbiology at Aarhus University in 2002 and subsequently took position as Assistant Professor and later Associate Professor at Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University. In 2016 I took position as Cryo-EM Facility Manager at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center, Aarhus University, and I have been deeply involved in establishing a National cryo-EM Facility (EMBION) with key stakeholders from the University. This facility now harbors two high-end Titan Krios microscopes and several accessory microscopes and other EM equipment (embion.au.dk).

I have a background in molecular and structural biology and primarily use X-ray crystallography and cryo-EM for atomic structure determination of proteins. I also employ several EM methods for ultrastructural analysis of bacteria, and I have started cryo-electron tomography studies on bacteria that will employ local cryoFIB/SEM and cryoCLEM equipment for lamella production and target localization, respectively.

My focus in CEM is the biochemical, functional, and structural analysis of conductor fibres from cable bacteria involved in electron transfer and cytochromes involved in up- and downloading electrons to/from the conductor.

In my spare time I enjoy family life and hiking.

PURE profile

Ian Marshall

Position: Assistant Professor

I received my PhD from Stanford University in 2012, and I have been working at Aarhus University since then.

I specialise in the sequencing and bioinformatic analysis of genomes and genes from microbes and microbial communities, and I am especially interested in the ecophysiological diversity of cable bacteria and microbes associated with cable bacteria.

PURE profile

Bo Barker Jørgensen

Position: Professor

PURE profile

Ugo Marzocchi

Position: Assistant Professor

I received my PhD at Aarhus University and then worked as a postdoc at Brussels University, University of Southern Denmark, and Stazione Zoologica Anton Dorhn.

My research focuses on the main factors that regulate macronutrients cycling in benthic systems. I am particularly fascinated by the activity of electro-active bacteria, among which cable bacteria. My work on this topic covers different aspects spanning between their metabolism, geochemical impact, diversity, and lastly, on how microbially-mediated currents can be applied to stimulate degradation and trapping of contaminants.

I address these topics primarily by applying isotopic tracers and sensing techniques such as microelectrodes and optodes.

My personal interests include diving, reading, music, and hang out with friends.

PURE profile

Nicola Camillini

Position: PostDoc

I did my shared PhD at SCU in Australia and SDU Denmark, during which I studied C and N cycling in seagrass ecosystems.

Now I am a PostDoc working on the BIOMAP project, which explores the interplay between electric potential differences on the soil surface and electro-active microorganisms in polluted soils. 

My personal interests include hiking, climbing and surfing.

PURE profile

Julia Otte

Position: PostDoc

After finishing my PhD at the University of Tübingen in 2018, I have been a PostDoc at the HGF-MPG group for Deep-sea Ecology and Technology at AWI in Bremerhaven and MPI in Bremen. The main focus of my research is on the biogeochemical iron and manganese cycle and on diverse connections with other element cycles, such as C and N. In addition, I am particularly fascinated by microbial communities, microbe-microbe interactions and electro-active bacteria such as cable bacteria.  

Now I am a PostDoc working in a lake restauration project in cooperation with the company Söll GmbH (Germany). Together with M.Sc. and B.Sc. students, we want to explore the interplay between sludge removal, the application of CaO2, and electro-active microorganisms in brackish and freshwater systems. The investigated fields include Schlei in Schleswig-Holstein, Burggraben in Schleswig-Holstein, and Mühlenteich in Niedersachen, Germany and we will hopefully discover the role of cable bacteria in surface water restoration.  

My personal interests include enjoying the nature by hiking, biking and photography, being creative by drawing, painting and baking and exploring the places where I live. 

PURE profile

Robin Bonné

Position: PostDoc

After getting my Master's degree in Physics and a Teacher's degree At Ghent University (Belgium), I searched for a way to combine physics with my other love for biology. I found the perfect PhD in biophysics at Hasselt University (Belgium) on the electrical and structural properties of cable bacteria. 

Still my hunger for understanding the true nature of these creatures was not satisfied. After a short break as a maths teacher in high school, I started as a postdoc at CEM. In more electrical experiments, I will try to help unravel the fundamental electron transport mechanism in cable bacteria.

Outside of the lab you can find me travelling and exploring, playing music or performing improv theatre. On high days you will have a better chance of finding me in a couch with a cat on my lap.

Lis Allaart

Position: Academic co-worker

I am truly fascinated by the Earth and how the Earth's system works (on large as well as small scale). My background is within Glacial Geology and I obtained a PhD-degree from UiT the Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø in March 2021. I have studied and worked in Arctic research environments since 2013, but have now switched research focus to soil pollution and some very cool bacteria here in Denmark as part of the BIOMAP project at CEM.

I highly enjoy to conduct fieldwork and deploy and test new instruments that can tell us more about surface and sub-surface processes, which is also my role in the BIOMAP project. 

In my spare time I enjoy to do all sorts of outdoor activities (skiing, hiking, surfing) but also to sing and play music and spend time with my family. 

PURE profile

PhD Students

Vincent Scholz

Position: PhD student

I studied Water Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen, which taught me about water-related processes at the interface of chemistry and microbiology. Then, during my Master´s project here at CEM, I have started to really like my project about cable bacteria around plant roots, the research environment, and the leisure activities I can do outside of university, such as sailing and surfing – and that is what I am still doing, but now as a PhD student.

PURE profile

Jamie Lustermans

Position: PhD student

After 1.5 years in 2017 I graduated my MSc. in Biology specialized in Microbiology from the Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. During my studies I spent 8 months researching ammonium oxidizing archaea and their partnerships with heterotrophs at DOME in Vienna and an additional 7 months in Nijmegen about comparative genomics of comammox and Nitrospira and additionally the localization of an NXR protein through EM.

From there I spend a year teaching students, setting up and managing 2 administrative projects at the same faculty of Science while interning at the microbiology department to do more Electron Microscopy.
I ended up in Aarhus in 2018 where I am working on my PhD with the exciting topic of cable bacteria, and whether they exchange electrons with the surrounding (natural) bacterial community.

For relaxing purposes I watch series, movies, read books and hike like a normal person, and in every other way I am creatively crazy enough to draw, paint, cook/bake and photograph. When I can detach myself from my beloved bacteria, I love travelling to experience more of the world, but Corona kind of killed that for now.

PURE profile

Benjamin Smed Korsgaard

Position: PhD student

In 2018 I received my Master's degree in Molecular Biology, and after a brief position as Research Assistant, I started my PhD at the Center for Electromicrobiology.

I primarily work with the purification and structural determination of proteins from cable bacteria. To do this, I use methods such as X-ray crystallography, small-angle X-ray scattering and electron microscopy.

I spend my spare time with friends and family.

PURE profile

Stefano Scilipoti

Position: PhD student

After my Bachelor's studies in Biology at the University of Turin, I moved closer to Microbiology with an Environmental Biology Master's degree in Trieste and several international research stays, among them at the Environmental Center Wales, and at the Max-Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology. I landed a PhD position at CEM in 2018 and I have been studying their physiology and metabolism for the last 3 years. 

I love to write, to explore my surroundings, and to get creative. When I am not working, you can find me jamming flamenco, playing the violin,  watching Formula 1, exploring innovative start-ups or planning my next trip - Iceland to come! 

PURE profile

Alexis Fonseca

Position: PhD student

I am a marine biologist, with a Master's degree in Biochemistry and Bioinformatics (2016) from the University of Concepción, Chile, doing my thesis on the identification of biosynthetic gene clusters in two uncultivated marine bacterial genomes, a filamentous bacteria and a spirochaete, collected from anoxic sediments in Chile.

Currently my project at CEM consists of studying the presence of cable bacteria in the sulfidic system along the Chilean coast. In this connection, my main interests are the ecological, genomics, evolutionary, and genomic aspects mixing experimental and bioinformatic approaches.

Outside of work I really enjoy listening to music (from folk to all styles of metal), I watch movies (especially thrillers and science fiction), I walk, everything related to football, and sometimes I try to read a book without feeling guilty because instead, I could be reading a paper :)

PURE profile

Ann-Sofie Dam

Position: PhD student 

I studied Biology at Aarhus University from 2014-2019. I did both my Bachelor’s project and Master’s thesis at CEM. In my Master’s thesis I found that salinity affected cable bacteria diversity and species composition. In my PhD project I intend to broaden the understanding of the environmental effects on the physiology and the evolutionary process of cable bacteria.   

My outside work activities include long walks on the beach and I like puppies but I don’t like cold coffee. I also like to make jokes and maybe that’s why I spend a lot of time alone. 

PURE profile

Leonid Digel

Position: PhD student 

I received my BSc degree in Biotechnology at Kazakh National University in 2019. In 2020 I obtained my Master’s Degree in Applied Blue Biotechnology from the University of La Rochelle. Right after that I came to Aarhus University to study cable bacteria for my PhD.

I have been and still am interested in different fields of the life sciences, however, I guess that my love for microbiology is mutual. Now, I focus on the structures and mechanisms which allow cable bacteria to perform Long Distance Electron Transfer.

Outside of working hours I all the same stand next to a table either playing tennis or board games. 

PURE profile

Guest Researchers

Fuxing Kang

Position: Visiting Scholar 

I have a PhD in Environmental Chemistry from Nanjing University in 2013. After that, I have worked as an Associate Professor at Nanjing Agricultural University since 2016. My scientific interest is environmental behaviour and fate of elements/pollutants controlled by physicochemical processes at microbial interfaces. My main focus at CEM is on chemical form of elements reshaped by a long-distance electron energy transfer and its effect on environmental health. 

My outside activities include hiking, running each day, and photography. 

PURE profile

Undergraduate Students

Lea Plum-Jensen

Position: MSc student

I am a master student at Biology and the Section of Microbiology. I am doing a biology project at the Center for Electromicrobiology (CEM), where I study different methods of DNA extraction, separation, purification, and sequencing of cable bacteria genomes to get the best method for whole-genome sequencing. The project will lead up to my master thesis, where I will also work with cable bacteria.

My spare time is mostly dedicated to taking care of my family (husband and two sons), but I also enjoy reading, knitting, and playing poker.

Theresa Hagen Van

Position: BSc student

I am a bachelor student in molecular biology at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. In my bachelor project, I will investigate if cable bacteria alter the efficiency of CaO2's ability to degrade sludge in marine sediment.

In my spare time I enjoy listening to music, embroider cross stitches, and playing Playstation.

Nikoline Madsen

Position: BSc student

I’m writing my bachelor thesis in molecular biology at Aarhus University’s Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics in collaboration with CEM. The project is focused on characterization of a periplasmic octaheme cytochrome (OCC) involved in the nitrate reduction system of cable bacteria.  

My spare time is mostly spent socializing with friends and family, reading, following NFL and doing paper crafts. When times allow it I also enjoy travelling and experiencing different cultures, art and nature.

Henrik Høi Liboriussen

Position: BSc student

I am a bachelor student from biology and is currently writing my bachelor project here at CEM. In my bachelor project I am testing a qPCR approach for quantifying cable bacteria in marine sediments. Using this method, I will also try to investigate how variable the abundance of cable bacteria can be on a small, local scale.

In my spare time I play football, spikeball and volley. Besides sports I also enjoy spending time in the nature, with my family and travelling whenever it is possible. 

Sam Meier

Position: BSc student

I'm a bachelor student at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. In my bachelor project, I work together with BIOMAP and use qPCR to identify and quantify desulfovibrio in polluted soil. For further identification, FISH is used.

I enjoy listening to music, and in my spare time, I maintain my self-hosted server and services, visit AROS, and riding Mountainbike trails in the summer.

Technical and Administrative Staff

Ronny Baaske

Position: Lab technician

My most recent degree is a vocational education as a lab technician for biology. Before coming to CEM, I was working at the "Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research", Warnemünde, Germany and "Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology", Dummerstorf, Germany.

Here at CEM I am now involved in almost all projects about cable bacteria. Most of my expertise lies in microscopy and cultivation. Additionally I work on projects using microfluidics, electrochemistry and optical sensing.

Outside of work I like to spend my time mostly climbing or enjoying any special beer the bars in Aarhus can offer.

PURE profile

Pia Bomholt Jensen

Position: Lab technician

I have been working as a lab technician at Aarhus University for many years. I started at Chemistry, then went to the Physics department and the last 10 years I have been at iNANO. My areas of work has been very diverse, ranging from synthesis of superconductors to solar cells and analysis of biological material, using high technological equipment as electron microscopy as TEM and SEM. 

My current work at CEM consists of ultrastructural analysis of cable bacteria as well as their conductive fibers using TEM and SEM. I am also involved in development of conductive fiber extraction methods to enable studies of fiber conductivity and the underlying molecular structure.

My interests are all about family and nature. I spent a lot of time in my orangery, growing exotic fruits and flowers. The holidays takes place either on skis or with hiking boots on, in the Alps of Austria

PURE profile

Mette Jepsen

Position: Centermanager

I started as a centermanager for CEM in November 2020. Before that, I was Assistant Professor in the lab of Ass. Prof. Ebbe S. Andersen at iNANO, AU. In 2014 I finished my PhD, which I did in the labs of Prof. Jørgen Kjems and Ass. Prof Victoria Birkedal, also at iNANO. My research was focussed on DNA and RNA origami, and in particular I worked with fluorescence in both types of structures.

During the past couple of years, my interest in the managerial and administrative parts of running a research group increased, and I started helping my PI with both. Therefore, the step to take a centermanager position came natural to me.

My interests in my spare time is spending time with family, knitting and crocheting, as well as playing volleyball.

PURE profile