We are interested in the co-evolution of humans with their microbiomes

The Department of Microbiome Science was founded in 2016 at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany. Located on a campus that includes the MPI for Intelligent Systems, the MPI for Developmental Biology is host to research that cuts across disciplines in the biological sciences, integrating work focused on various model systems and conducted at molecular, gene regulatory, developmental, and evolutionary scales. The Department of Microbiome Science takes an evolutionary perspective to asking how microbial communities in the gut adapted to life in the human host.

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Latest News


Ruth Ley and Stacey Heaver presented work on sphingolipids in host-microbiome interactions at the Keystone...

to Stacey Heaver and Elizabeth Johnson for the publication of their review "Sphingolipids in host-microbiobial interactions".

Victor celebrating with the MPI/CERMEL field team and some study participants after a successful day near Waka National Park, Gabon.

Selected Publications

Goodrich, J. K. , E. R. Davenport, M. A. Jackson, M. Beaumont, R. Knight, T. D. Spector, J. T. Bell, A. G. Clark, R. E. Ley. Genetic determinants of the gut microbiome assessed in UK Twins. Cell Host & Microbe 19:731-43. (2016)

Goodrich*, J. K., E. R. Davenport*, J. L. Waters*, A. G. Clark and R. E. Ley. Cross-species comparisons of host genetic associations with the microbiome. Science 352: 532-535. (2016)

Goodrich, J. K.,  J. L. Waters, A. C. Poole, J. L. Sutter, O. Koren, R. Blekhman, M. Beaumont, W. Van Treuren, R. Knight, J. T. Bell, T. D. Spector, A. G. Clark and R. E. Ley. Human genetics shape the gut microbiome. Cell 159: 789-799. (2014)

Cullender, T. C., B. Chassaing, A. Janzon, K. Kumar, C. Muller, J. J. Werner, L. T. Angenent, M. E. Bell, A. G. Hay, D. A. Peterson, J. Walter, M. Vijay-Kumar, A. T. Gewirtz and R. E. Ley. Innate and adaptive immunity interact to quench microbiome flagellar motility in the gut. Cell Host Microbe 14: 571-581. (2013)

DiRienzi*, S. C., I. Sharon*, K. C. Wrighton, O. Koren, L. A. Hug, B. C. Thomas, J. K. Goodrich, J. T. Bell, T. D. Spector, J. F. Banfielda and R. E. Ley.  The human gut and groundwater harbor non-photosynthetic bacteria belonging to a new candidate phylum sibling to Cyanobacteria. eLife 2:e01102 (2013)

Koren, O., J. K. Goodrich, T. C. Cullender, A. Spor, K. Laitinen, H. Backhed, A. Gonzalez, J. J. Werner, L. T. Angenent, R. Knight, F. Backhed, E. Isolauri, S. Salminen and R. E. Ley. Remodeling of the gut microbiome and metabolic changes during pregnancy. Cell 150: 1-11 (2012).