Dr. rer. nat. Karin Aistleitner
Karin successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled "Variations and conserved featuresof the cell envelope of environmental chlamydiae". The board of examiners included Isabella Moll, Johannes Hegemann, and Matthias Horn. Congratulations!
A day out at Lake Neusiedl
New paper in Science
Nitrospira are the key nitrite-oxidizing bacteria in most natural habitats and wastewater treatment plants. So far, they were considered as metabolically specialized and their presence was commonly associated with nitrification. Hanna Koch, Holger Daims, and a team of researchers from Vienna, Denmark, Germany, and France showed now that Nitrospira can also grow chemolithoautotrophically on hydrogen as alternative substrate. Being the first nitrifiers shown to have a lifestyle completely outside the N-cycle, Nitrospira are metabolically more flexible than previously assumed and their ecological roles must be reconsidered.
 Highlighted in Nature Geoscience
 News release [English]
 News release [German] [German]
 APA Natur&Technik [German]
Massive expansion of gene families within
the Chlamydiae

Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular bacteria comprising important pathogens of humans as well as ubiquitous symbionts of protists. In a recent study published in MBE, Daryl Domman, Matthias Horn and colleagues analyzed the gene family landscape of members of this phylum. They discovered massive and lineage-specific expansions of eukaryotic-like ubiquitination-related genes, unmatched among bacteria. Gene birth-and-death evolution in concert with genomic drift might be responsible for the evolution of these gene families, which represents a previously undescribed mechanism by which isolated bacterial populations diversify.
 International news release
 uni:view magazine [German]
 Die Presse [German]
 Der [German]
New paper in The ISME Journal
N2 fixation is an important process in photosynthetic microbial mats, but the contribution of different diazotrophs is still poorly understood. In an international collaboration, Dagmar Woebken, Faris Behnam, Arno Schintlmeister, and Michael Wagner showed that the cyanobacterium Lyngbya spp. is the most active diazotroph in microbial mats at Guerrero Negro, Mexico. Furthermore, the effect of CARD-FISH on the isotopic composition of microbial cells in SIP-NanoSIMS investigations was elucidated.
A preprint will be available shortly.
Michael Wagner Highly Cited Researcher in Microbiology
Thomson Reuters has generated in 2014 a new list of Highly Cited Researchers in the sciences and social sciences. In total 114 microbiologists earned this distinction. Among them less than 30 are working in Europe and Michael is one of two highly cited microbiologists working in Austria. In the 22 research fields analyzed over 3000 scientists were identified as Highly Cited Researchers, 20 of them have their primary affiliation in Austria.
 Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers
 APA-Science Report (German)
 uni:view Magazin (German)
 Austrian Academy of Sciences: News (German)
Dr. rer. nat. Jan Dolinsek
Jan successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled "Novel molecular tools for microbial ecology: development and application to decipher trophic structures of nitrifying communities". The board of examiners included Edouard Jurkevitch, Martin Wagner, and Holger Daims. Congratulations!
Video feature:
Dagmar Woebken on the trail of microbes

Dagmar talks about her research in this University of Vienna video feature (in German).
 Watch video
International FISH Course 2015: Vienna, February 16-20. Registration is now open!
more ...
Austrian microbiology prize for David Berry
David was awarded the prize from the Austrian Society for Hygiene, Microbiology and Preventative Medicine (ÖGHMP) in recognition of a study he performed together with Alexander Loy and colleagues from the Medical University of Vienna. In the study, which was recently published in American Journal of Gastroenterology, fecal microbiota transplantation was evaluated as novel therapy for individuals with ulcerative colitis.
Focus of Excellence Award for Dagmar Woebken
The Focus of Excellence Award of the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Vienna is granted annualy to promote young research scientists. DoME's group leader Dagmar Woebken received this year's award for her work on diazotrophy and cellulose degradation in terrestrial ecosystems.
 Focus of Excellence awardees
Welcome, Craig!
DoME welcomes Dr. Craig Herbold. Craig was a postdoc at the University of Waikato (NZ), a research affiliate at the
Joint Genome Institute and is now senior scientist for bioinformatics
at DoME.
Honorary doctorate for Michael Wagner
Michael received an honorary doctorate from Aalborg University (Denmark) in the framework of its 40 year jubilee for his distinguished efforts in the field of Natural Sciences. The certificate was presented to him in the presence of crown prince Frederik. Michael is also visiting professor at Aalborg University and has intensively collaborated with the group of Prof. Per Nielsen for 15 years.
 uni:view Magazin (German)
 Aalborg University News (Danish)
 Aalborg University Event Website (Danish)
"We all start out as scientists"
"Science is passion, vision, and life and none of that is necessarily synonymous with sacrifice", says Celine Lesaulnier who received a Back-to-Research Grant from the University of Vienna, supporting researchers who reduced or interrupted their academic research in order to care for their children.
 univ:view Magazin
Invading the nucleus of amoebae
In a new paper published in the ISME journal, Frederik Schulz, Matthias Horn and co-authors describe the discovery of a bacterial symbiont with an unusual intracellular niche. Within few hours after infection the bacteria have invaded the amoeba nucleus, where they mutliply with surprisingly little effect on host fitness. This microbial association is an ideal model system to further investigate evolution and molecular mechanisms of the rare phenomenon of intranuclear symbiosis.
 univ:view Magazin [German]
 Frankfurter Allgemeine [German] [German]
New Paper in The ISME Journal
If the biogeography of microorganisms in the environment is also determined by limitations in passive dispersal is still under debate. By using endospores of thermophilic bacteria in cold marine sediments as indicators, Albert Müller and Alexander Loy now show that marine microbial biogeography is indeed impacted by geographic dispersal barriers such as limited connectivity of local water masses to world ocean circulation.
 Press release [German]
 APA [German] [German]
 Kronen Zeitung [German]
New Paper in Nature Communications
The majority of bacteria possess a peptidoglycan sacculus consisting of a disaccharide backbone crosslinked by peptide chains, which is crucial for cell division, maintaining cell shape and resisting osmotic stress. Whether chlamydiae contain this structure has long been debated, but in an international collaboration Karin Aistleitner and Matthias Horn now show that the amoeba symbiont Protochlamydia amoebophila does synthesize peptidoglycan.
 Research Highlight in Nature Reviews Microbiology
 uni:view Magazn [German] [German]
Master curriculum Microbial Ecology
We have revised and updated the master curriculum Microbial Ecology. Studying microbial ecology is now part of the master studies Molecular Microbiology, Microbial Ecology, and Immunobiology. The new master is held completely in English; students are trained in microbial ecology, symbiosis research, molecular biology & evolution, genetics, environmental chemistry, and bioinformatics.
 Program overview and courses
 Announcement [German]
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