Our Research

Organic Chemistry

We synthesize chemical probes and 
inhibitors that target individual proteins or entire enzyme families. We then apply our compounds to in vitro assays or live microbes.


We cultivate and study bacteria, and we use protein biochemistry methods such as recombinant protein expression or activity assays to characterize enzymes.


We use protein mass spectrometry and chemoproteomics to study enzyme activities in complex biological samples and to identify the cellular targets of small molecules.

Our lab studies the Chemical Biology of microbes and their molecular interactions.

One main interest of our group is the human gut microbiota, the diverse community of microbes that resides in our gastrointestinal tract. When the delicate balance between microbes and humans is disturbed, illnesses such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) ensue. In order to develop novel therapeutic approaches, it is imperative to understand the impact of individual microbes and the molecules they produce.

The overall goal of our research is to unravel the molecular mechanisms that drive microbe-microbe as well as microbe-host interactions. We are particularly interested how extracellular enzymes and outer membrane vesicles modulate inter-species interactions and affect human health and disease.

In order to elucidate the mysteries of microbes, we follow a highly interdisciplinary approach that combines organic synthesis, protein biochemistry, microbiology and protein mass spectrometry. We develop chemical tool compounds and inhibitors that we apply in custom chemoproteomic workflows to study microbial enzymes in complex systems. 

We are part of the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Macromolecular Chemistry at the Friedrich-Schiller University, the CRC ChemBioSys and the Cluster of Excellence Balance of the Microverse.


We are thankful for ongoing support by:

LIFE profile area of

Friedrich-Schiller University Jena

Emmy Noether Program, DFG

Liebig Fellowship
Fonds der Chemischen Industrie

DFG Excellence Cluster 2051
Balance of the Microverse

DFG CRC 1127