First international conference on metaorganism research in Kiel

CRC 1182 conference brings the world’s leading experts on host bacteria relationships to Kiel University.

As of today, Wednesday 8 June, the international kick-off meeting of the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1182 “Origin and Function of Metaorganisms” will take place at Kiel University – making it the first major scientific conference of the relatively new collaborative research project. Up to and including Friday, the leading international experts in metaorganism research and a total of over 150 of their specialist colleagues will have the opportunity to exchange ideas on the current status of their research into the interaction between human, animal and plant host organisms with populating bacteria communities in the Wissenschaftszentrum Kiel.

The CRC 1182 collaborative research project, which has received approximately 10 million euros of sponsorship by the German Research Foundation (DFG) since the start of 2016, and which runs under the leadership of Thomas Bosch, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at Kiel University, is unique in Germany: it covers the new, revolutionary scientific field of metaorganism research at national level for the first time. In doing so, it has become a main pillar of the research focus “Kiel Life Science” at Kiel University.

Observing living organisms and microbes as a functional unit has the potential, in particular, to be able to combat serious environmental diseases more successfully in the future. Research into the metaorganism will facilitate improved treatment for various diseases, from chronic inflammation to cancer, for example. “Our first conference is directing the focus of the international scientific community to Kiel: at Kiel University the interaction between organisms and bacteria communities and the consequences for the health of people, animals and plants is being researched at the highest level. The innovative, cross-disciplinary research concept of CRC 1182 is making a fundamental contribution to incorporating the state capital in the community of internationally important scientific locations”, emphasised Bosch.

A total of eight thematic blocks during the three days will be devoted to such topics as the role of the organism-bacteria relationships in the occurrence of diseases, the development of new scientific methods or the future prospects and potential of the new area of research. A highlight and unusual conclusion of the conference will be the lecture by Professor Rainer W. Ernst from Berlin, an architect and former President of the Muthesius University in Kiel (MKH), who will present his artistic perspectives on the spacial dimension of the metaorganism. “The fascinating aspect of the new collaborative research centre is the opportunity to cross frontiers. Traditional disciplines in Biology and Medicine are being rethought here in Kiel and combined in a holistic approach. This opens up a completely new view of health and diseases, for example through the eyes of art, and makes this concept unique”, stressed Ernst on his impression of the new collaborative research centre.

Overall, the programme for the kick-off meeting includes approximately 30 lectures by guest scientists and researchers from Kiel. In addition to the comprehensive presentation of the current status of the research, the conference will also be a forum to present the trend-setting, interdisciplinary research concept of CRC 1182 with its 13 sub-projects to the international scientific community.

Prof. Thomas Bosch, Speaker of the CRC1182, welcomes the international experts in metaorganism research to Kiel. Photo: Christian Urban, Kiel University
Prof. Stefan Schreiber, Speaker of the Cluster of Excellence „Inflammation at Interfaces“, speaks on the synergies of metaorganism research and medical sciences. Photo: Christian Urban, Kiel University
The CRC1182 is proud to welcome Prof. Eugene Rosenberg of Tel Aviv University, one of the international pioneers in metaorganism research. Photo: Christian Urban, Kiel University
Dr. Ilana-Rosenberg, also of Tel Aviv University, together with her husband developed the Hologenome Theory of Evolution. Photo: Christian Urban, Kiel University
Around 150 international experts attend the conference at Wissenschaftszentrum Kiel. Photo: Christian Urban, Kiel University