Aarhus Universitets segl

CEM Team

Find below a current list of CEM members presently working at CEM, Aarhus University.

The Academic Staff members counts tenured and tenure-track professors, senior scientists, and postdocs as well as long-term guests and collaborators. The PhD students counts members fully covered by CEM grant as well as fellows with e.g., Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship. We are very grateful to welcome and supervise each semester talented bachelor’s and master’s students. The CEM research work is supported by our technical and administrative staff.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Mingdong Dong

Position: Professor

Mingdong Dong is Professor in the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center. He 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. His academic experience ranges from materials science, physical chemistry to biophysics, covers problems in life science and nanoscience, encompasses expertise in SPM. Dr. Dong has been a member of Royal Microscopical Society, ACS, MRS, Biophysical Society and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

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Niculina Musat

Position: Associate Professor

I received my PhD at the Max-Planck-Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen on microbial symbioses. I further continued as a postdoctoral fellow in the Biogeochemistry department at the same institute for 6 more years. During this time, I have developed and applied the nano-scale Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (nanoSIMS) methodology for single-cell analysis in microbial ecology. Starting from 2012, I was assuming the position of scientific head of the Centre for Chemical Microscopy (ProVIS) at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig. Here I focused on the development of correlative high resolution chemical imaging approaches to understand single cell metabolism, cell-to-cell interactions, and their role in biogeochemical processes. Since February 2023, I joined the Section of Microbiology at Aarhus University as part of the NNF founded project, ReFuel, where I focus on studying bacteria-archaea interactions and their role in anaerobic processes.   

I enjoy spending time with my family, listening to classical music and playing basketball.

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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.

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Yonggang Yang

Position: Guest Researcher

I have a PhD in Microbiology from Southern China University of Technology in 2011. From 2011 to 2022, I worked in Guangdong Institute of Microbiology and was awarded Professor in Microbiology in 2017. Now I am a professor in Foshan University, China. 

My research interests include electromicrobiology and bioelectrochemical technologies. I investigated electron transfer mechanisms and environmental effects of Shewanella, Lysinibacillus. and cable bacteria. I also developed bioelectrochemical technologies for pollutant degradation (e.g. PAHs, PBDEs, microplastics) and bioremediation in both Lab-scale and practical river environments.

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, or playing basketball and travel.

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Marta Lidia Sudo

Position: Postdoc

I hold degrees in both classical and microbial ecology from the University of Vienna. During my PhD, which was also at the University of Vienna, I studied the interactions between hosts, symbionts, and the environment in sulphur-oxidising symbioses under the guidance of Prof. Jillian Petersen. My main area of interest is exploring the interactions between organisms, their evolution, and how they impact biogeochemical processes, particularly sulphur cycling. I use a multidisciplinary approach in my research, combining field and laboratory experiments with diverse methods such as bioinformatics, biogeochemical analyses, and microscopy. 

In my free time, I enjoy listening to (heavy) music, reading sci-fi and fantasy literature, gardening, making candles, and all things folklore."

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Markéta Linhartová

Position: Postdoc

I received a Ph.D. from Molecular and Cell biology and Genetics from the University of South Bohemia in Czechia. My focus was on cyanobacteria and function of Type IV pili subunits in photosynthetic life strategy. I was supervised in Laboratory of Photosynthesis, Centre ALGATECH in Třeboň and had internships at universities in Giessen (Germany) and Turku (Finland). I stayed with ALGATECH also for my first postdoc and joined projects on biosynthesis and function of photosynthetic pigments, electron transport, metal cofactors, or assembly and maintenance of large photosynthetic membrane complexes.  

I like challenges and get inspired by meeting people. Being a mom leaves me little free time, but the best is being outside, hiking, cycling, books, music, theatre and learning new things.

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Kimia Zarean

Position: Postdoc

I'm an electrochemist with around five years of research experience, dedicated to advancing the field. I earned my Ph.D. in Electrochemistry from Isfahan University of Technology (IRAN) in 2023 and have specialized in synthesizing and characterizing nanocomposites for energy storage systems and electrochemical sensors.

With a passion for practical applications, I'm thrilled to embark on a postdoctoral journey to further apply my expertise and drive innovation in electrochemistry, aiming to expand our knowledge and create a meaningful impact in this dynamic field.

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Leonid Digel

Position: Postdoc

I am a microbiologist with a broad interest in natural sciences. My skills cover Biotechnology, Microbial Physiology, Cell and Structural Biology, and Electrochemistry. I did my PhD at the CEM and now continue as a Postdoc researching electron conduction in cable bacteria. 

In my free time, I also stand next to a table, either playing table tennis or board games.

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Perrine Marguerite Fernandez

Position: Postdoc

After an Engineering degree in Earth Sciences at Sorbonne University, in France, I completed my PhD at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, in Norway, and a first postdoc at Ben Gurion University, in Israel. I have also been teaching applied geophysics at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. 

I like to be at the crossroads between geophysics, geochemistry, and hydrogeology. I have worked on geophysical monitoring of redox degradation near the water table, remediation of acid mine drainage and metal leaching, as well as on the water cycle in the stems of living trees. Currently, I am trying to measure the effect of an electric field on ions transport.

 In my spare time, I like to travel, dive, take pictures, and when I am lucky, do all the above at the same time. I also like to read and get lost in imaginary worlds.

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Obinna Markraphael Ajunwa

Position: Postdoc

I had my early training in Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. I subsequently obtained a PhD in Microbial Electrophysiology and Electrobiotechnology from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria; enhancing extracellular electron transfer (EET) in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. I had postdoctoral research experience at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan working on tuning EET in bacterial biofilms for improved biosensing andelectrofermentation using bioelectrochemical systems. I currently work on mechanisms of electroactivity in weak electricigens and elucidating biopolymer-associated EET within biofilms. My hobbies include pencil drawing, singing, dancing, playing football and cooking.

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Ramya Veerubhotla

Position: Postdoc

I received my PhD from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur in India, during which, I worked on the development of sustainable batteries using electroactive microbes. I developed an immense fascination for these microbes. To explore the possibility of developing biosensors using them, I joined as a postdoc in the Microsensor lab at Aarhus University. I am currently working towards better understanding of these electroactive biofilms, particularly in terms of micro-scale phenomenon. My interest in the Center for Electromicrobiology stems from looking into the possibilities of capturing electrons from cable bacteria.

Outside the lab, you can find me cooking, swimming, or doing crazy science DIY experiments. 

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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.

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Kartik Ayier

Position: Postdoc

I am currently a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Electromicrobiology in Aarhus University, where I investigate electron transfer and physiology in cable bacteria. I completed my PhD in 2019 from the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning in India, followed by a postdoctoral stint at the Indian Institute of Technology at New Delhi. I worked on understanding the fundamentals of extracellular electron transfer in microbial communities for developing applications like biosensing and heavy metal recovery. My interest in electromicrobiology eventually lead me to work with cable bacteria.

Aside from research, I love writing and am a science writer with the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). I also practise yoga and meditation, and love playing and watching sports.

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Lasse Hyldgaard Klausen

Position: Postdoc

I received my PhD in nanoscience in 2016 from Aarhus University. Since then, I worked as postdoc at Copenhagen University and Stanford University before recently returning to Aarhus.

My research focuses on scanning probe microscopy and single-cell biophysics. I work at the interdisciplinary edge of nanoscience, biophysics and engineering, where I apply a combination of scanning probe, nanofabrication and molecular biology techniques.

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Bo Wang

Position: Postdoc

I earned an Engineering Bachelor’s degree with distinction in Environmental Engineering in 2017, and in 2020 I gained a Double Master’s Degrees in Environmental Science and Engineering with distinction granted by the two renowned universities: Copenhagen University and Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). My Master’s specialization is Water and Environment and Environmental Biotechnology. I obtained my Nature Science PhD degree in Biology at Aarhus University (AU) in 2023. My PhD’s specialization is Microbiology and Molecular Biology.

In my spare time I detach myself from science doing my favorite sports: volleyball and badminton, and doing diverse community volunteer initiatives to tackle societal issues such as climate change and extend support to those in need.

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Koen Wouters

Position: Postdoc

After obtaining my Master's degree in nanophysics at the the university of Antwerp (Belgium), I did a PhD at Hasselt University (Belgium) where I studied the conductive properties of cable bacteria from a physics perspective.

Now I continue this cross-disciplinary research here at CEM as I study the conductive fibre structure within cable bacteria on both the macroscopic and microscopic scale. Using various electrical experiments, I will try to unravel the electricaly conductive pathways in cable bacteria.

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Antonio Castellano Hinojosa

Position: Postdoc

I´m a visiting Marie Skłodowska-Curie postdoc at CEM working with Prof. Ian Marshall on bioinformatic analysis of genomes from microbial communities of microbial fuel cell systems. I have a PhD in Environmental Microbiology from Granada University (Spain) in 2019 and then worked as a postdoc at the University of Florida (USA) until 2022 when I returned to Granada as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow. My research focuses on the characterization of electroactive microorganisms in MFCs fed with wastewater and how this knowledge can be used to improve the system´s performance. I have a broad interest in environmental microbiology, particularly soil microbial ecology, greenhouse emissions, plant-microbe interactions, and microbes involved in water process engineering.

In my spare time, I enjoy working out and drinking coffee with friends and family.

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PhD Students

Lea Emilie Plum-Jensen

Position: PhD student

I am a PhD student studying the differences between certain species of cable bacteria. I will be studying both the genomic differences bioinformatically and the ecological differences experimentally in the lab. I will also try to find trends in the distribution of cable bacteria in different habitats.
My spare time is mostly spent with my family (husband and two kids), playing in the department band, and baking cakes.

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Mads Lykke Justesen

Position: PhD student

I am a PhD student from with a Bachelor's and Master's degree in molecular biology from Aarhus University, and I have a strong interest in structural cell biology.
Here at CEM, I study the structuring of cable bacteria cells with high-resolution cryogenic microscopy and attempt to resolve the tiniest of structures inside and outside cable bacteria. With this, I continue my work on cable bacteria that has also involved room-temperature electron microscopy and elemental analysis. With this work, I contributed to the understanding of how cable bacteria use nickel, sulfur, and iron-rich wires to conduct electrons over centimeter distances. Additionally, I contributed to the discovery of several new cellular features never before seen in cable bacteria.

In my free time, I enjoy exercising, writing fantasy, watching movies, and spending time with the people I love.

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Nikoline Madsen

Position: PhD student 

I am a Molecular Biologist from Aarhus University, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. During my PhD I will work towards gaining functional information on cable bacteria proteins using a variety of molecular methods. During my Bachelor and Master’s project, I worked with characterisation of cable bacteria metalloproteins.

My spare time is mostly spent socializing with friends and family or relaxing at home while reading or making art crafts. When time allows it, I also enjoy travelling and experiencing different cultures, art and nature. 

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Yi Ouyang

Position: PhD student

I received my Master´s degree from University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2020. My master thesis focuses on the study of synthesis and application of two-dimensional materials.

In 2022, I came to Aarhus University for my PhD.

My current research focuses on the application of scanning probe microscopy for two-dimensional materials based electrocatalytic devices.

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Yuge Zhang

Position: PhD student

I received my Master’s degree (2018-2021) from physical chemistry in Shandong University. My master thesis focuses on the study of nanofriction properties of 2D materials using AFM.

Currently, I investigate the conduction mechanism of cable bacterial via up-to date and in-situ SPM techniques including SECM and Fluid FM.

In my spare time, I am really into listening Chinese Gufeng music and playing badminton.

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Miya Tseng-West

Position: PhD Student

I am a PhD student at CEM with a master’s degree in Chemistry and bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Toronto. During my PhD I will be exploring the physiology and metabolism of cable bacteria, with a particular interest in investigating what affects their growth and activity, their capacity for extracellular electron transfer, and the influence of electric fields on their interactions with oxygen.

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my cat, walking in nature, and harnessing the power of microbes in the kitchen for fermentation. I also enjoy getting lost in the world of tea and collecting mini things.

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Undergraduate Students

Angela Calvo Susilla

Position: Erasmus internship student

I am a ERASMUS student from the University of the Basque Country at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. My previous experience in a microbiology laboratory includes the study of horizontal gene transfer in bacterial biofilms, and the use of magnetotactic bacteria as magnetic hyperthermia agents for cancer treatment. 

I am fascinated by bacterial diversity. Thus, I was thoroughly captivated by cable bacteria when I first stumbled upon them. At the CEM, I am working on my Bachelor’s thesis, which focuses on developing genetic methods for investigating the protein machinery involved in key metabolic pathways of cable bacteria.

When not immersed in learning about the intricacies of the microbial world, I like to dance, read, write, and draw (to create art in all sorts of forms!), and I try to satisfy my craving for connection with nature, family, friends, and myself. 

Mie Mai Corneliussen

Position: MSc student

I am a first year Master student after finishing my bachelor’s degree in Biology in June 2022. Currently, I am continuing the project I did while working on my bachelor thesis, also at CEM. The aim is to investigate the potential role cable bacteria might play in the production of nitrous oxide in marine sediments and subsequently their role in biogeochemical cycling.

In my spare time, when I’m not just recharging at home, I love cooking, watching football and doing yoga as well as enjoying the occasional beer with friends.  

Jeppe Otkjær Sørensen

Position: BSc student

I study biology on 6th semester, and I am especially interested in applied microbiology, microbial ecology and bioinformatics. I am currently writing my bachelor thesis with Ian and Vincent as supervisors. The aim of my thesis is to sequence and determine the composition of the microbial communities in the sediment of rice fields with focus on cable bacteria. In my spare time, I love social activities such as hanging out with my girlfriend or family and drinking a couple beers with friends. I also enjoy long walks, video games and music.

August Bejder Rossing

Position: BSc student

I am a biology student on the 6th and final semester of the bachelor’s degree. I am interested in many widely different areas and topics in biology, but lately my focus has been on the microbial world. My bachelor's project will focus on the ecology of cable bacteria, specifically the predation of cable bacteria by other organisms (both eukaryotes and prokaryotes), and whether or not it plays an important role in their population control. The exact factors that control the population size of cable bacteria are currently unknown, so I am excited to test this hypothesis.

In my spare time I like to be active by doing gymnastics, working out, or going for walks/runs. Other than that I especially enjoy playing video games and spending time in nature.

Frederik Uhre

Position: BSc student

I am a Molecular Biologist from Aarhus University, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. I am writing my bachelor’s project under Thomas Boesen. During my bachelor’s project I will be working together with Katrine Skjøt Harbo, on characterizing cable bacteria proteins involved in electron transport and oxygen reduction using heterologous expression in E. coli

In my spare time I enjoy drinking coffee with friends and family, and I also do triathlon.

Katrine Skjøt Harbo

Position: BSc student

I am a bachelor's student in molecular medicine at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics.

Using heterogeneous expressions in E. coli, I will during my bachelor’s project be working with Frederik Uhre, on characterizing proteins involved in oxygen reduction, and electron transport in cable bacteria.

In my spare time, I enjoy crocheting, playing board games, and spending time with friends and family.

Technical and Administrative Staff

Dimitri Simon Stamatis

Position: Laboratory Technician

I am a laboratory technician graduated from University College South Denmark in Esbjerg. My current responsibilities here at CEM consist of cultivating of the cable bacteria, Microscopy and FISH/CARD-FISH. I have previously worked with cancer cell cultivation and done functional membrane studies on said cancer cells during my internship at University of South Denmark, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy – Odense.

Outside of work, I like to play video games, watch anime and listen to music, primarily punk.

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Josephine Caroline Ward

Position: Research Assistant

I recently finished my master's degree in molecular biology here at Aarhus University, where I studied different truncated hemoglobins from cable bacteria. Here, I mainly worked with protein purification, protein crystallization, UV-Visible spectroscopy, and X-ray absorption spectroscopy to further elucidate the roles of truncated hemoglobins in the cables. I am currently working as a research assistant, where I still work with truncated hemoglobins and multiheme cytochromes from cable bacteria, as well as ice nucleating proteins from other bacteria. 

In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, yoga, reading and writing, and spending lots of time with friends and family.

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Pia Bomholt Jensen

Position: Laboratory Technician

I have been working as a lab technician at Aarhus University for many years. I started at Department of Chemistry, then went to Department of Physics and Astronomy 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. I spend my holidays in the Alps in Austria, where I either ski or hike in the mountains.

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María Palomeque Sánchez

Position: Student Assistant

I assist my colleagues at CEM by taking on a variety of practical tasks as a student helper. Besides that I am also working as an AC Bachelor at the Section for Microbiology, as part of the DRAMA (Deciphering the Role of Atmospheric Microbial Aerosols) project.

I enjoy long walks, taking in the sun whenever there is a chance, and doing all kind of different plans with my friends. 

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Else Magård

Position: Center Manager

I took over as Center Manager at CEM August 2022. I have a Master’s degree in Biology from Aarhus University from 1999 and since then I have been working with management and research support in various academic fields e.g. Computer Science, Biology, Molecular Biology, and Biomedicin and in a diversity of settings e.g. at Aarhus University and in The Amazonian forest.

I enjoy providing support to individual researchers as well as to facilitate the general work aspects of an ambitious research center such as collaboration coordination, outreach, administration, reporting etc. etc.  

My spare time activities include nature exploring in all forms e.g., walking, sailing, running, cycling, all year swimming etc. Also, happiness comes in many forms however being with friends and family is especially important.

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