Department Environmental Microbiology

NCCR Microbiomes

Life as we know it is intimately tied to microorganisms. Often, these microorganisms live in communities called microbiomes. Microbiomes behave as more than the sum of their parts, displaying functions and roles not easily predicted. Importantly, they are a major force shaping human health, biogeochemical cycles, agricultural productivity, and nutrition, touching nearly every aspect of our lives.

In collaboration with over 20 research groups across Switzerland, we are combining computational and experimental approaches to develop a better understanding of how microbiomes develop and function. The discoveries made through this research may allow us to improve human and environmental health.

Our main contribution to this consortium is, on the one hand, the development of new concepts describing the drivers of metabolic interactions between members of a microbiome, and the testing of derived hypotheses via computational modeling and analyses of large data sets of environmental microbiome samples. On the other hand, we work on better understanding the factors that contribute to functional stability in microbial communities, specifically the relative importance of functional redundancy and weak and negative interactions. This work makes use of synthetic microbial communities and high-throughput imaging approaches and has the goal to advance our understanding of what shapes, sustains, and defines microbial systems. 


Alyssa Henderson PhD Student Tel. +41 58 765 5197 Send Mail
Dr. Anna Weiss Postdoctoral Researcher Tel. +41 58 765 6741 Send Mail


Swiss National Science Foundation

Project duration

2020 - 2024 (potentially 2028)

Official website