My research explores the microenvironmental landscape, wherein aquatic microbes interact with each other and their surrounding abiotic and biotic environment – be it in microbial biofilm communities or in corals that harbor symbionts and microbiomes. I am trained in marine biology and microbial ecology but have broad interdisciplinary interests ranging from technicalities of sensor development to a fascination with single cell behavior. I enjoy working at the boundaries and interfaces of different scientific disciplines and implement sensor chemistry, photonics, 3D bioprinting and advanced imaging approaches in my research.
My research group has demonstrated the fundamental importance of light, temperature and chemical gradients for impacting the biology of symbiont-bearing corals (and other aquatic photosymbioses and biofilm communities). We have developed and applied microsensors and advanced bioimaging methods to unravel the basic optical properties of coral tissue and skeleton.
Recently, we have also started to employ 3D bioprinting in combination with chemical imaging and mathematical modeling to construct in vivo-like experimental coral model systems – for laboratory study – that mimic coral systems in nature.
Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems