Dr. Li Deng
Institute of Virology
Ingolstädter Landstrasse 1
Viruses, especially (bacterio)phages (viruses infecting bacteria), typically outnumber microbial cells ~10-fold in aquatic systems, recasting them from environmentally insignificant to the most abundant biological entities on Earth. Viruses are now considered as ubiquitous players that impact microbial communities through mortality and horizontal gene transfer to modulate microbial metabolism. During the last years diverse phenomena critical to the biology of microbes have been described to be driven by viruses, especially with respect to rapid environmental changes. The view that viruses are “only” parasites is no longer valid but viruses rather are able to transfer and store genetic information of their hosts and influence biogeochemical cycles in ecosystems. Consequently biogeochemical processes in microbial ecosystems and their potential for novel niche adaptation in response to changing environmental conditions can be understood only when this large dynamic gene pool carried by lytic and temporary viruses is recognized. In our lab, we take an integrated approach to investigate microbes-viruses interactions by combining microcosm experiments employing model microbes and viruses, and culture-independent, high-throughput metagenomics. We are currently focusing on viruses from both human (especially lung) and environment (especially groundwater).
Students looking for an internship, Bachelor or Master thesis are always most welcome! If you’re interested, please contact Dr. Li Deng directly!