Mission statement

The human environment and the earth’s ecosystems depend on cycles that are maintained by intricate relationships between microorganisms and the solid earth. These cycles are increasingly disturbed by human activity. A sustaining quality of life therefore requires a detailed understanding how microbes interact among each other and with other organisms, how they adapt to changing environments, how they influence energy, matter and information fluxes and how pollutants and nutrients influence microbial community function and human health. This doctoral program is unique in offering interdisciplinary training at the interfaces of microbiology, ecology, and environmental geosciences to address current challenges in the 21st century society, including the role of microbiomes, adaptation and resistance mechanisms, biogeochemistry, pollutant dynamics and nutrient fluxes in global change and for human, animal,  plant, and environmental health. Our students will acquire a comprehensive understanding of microbes at all levels, from molecular circuits determining the fate of single cells to microbial communities to ecosystem processes and of pollutant dynamics and nutrient and geochemical cycles. They are trained in the interdisciplinary environment at the Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science, which includes molecular microbiology, evolutionary and computational biology, and environmental sciences. Students have access to high-level infrastructure to study microbes, microbe-host interactions, and environmental processes at the forefront of fundamental and applied sciences.

The participating research institutes include: