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CeMiSt is studying microbial secondary metabolites in both natural microbial systems and in semi-synthetic mock microbial communities. The Center is cross-disciplinary combining microbial ecology and genetics, natural product chemistry, sequence-based analyses and modelling. CeMiSt studies the taxonomic and functional diversity in natural microbial systems, and analyze the chemical compounds mediating interactions. This is done with a suite of omics techniques such as amplicon, genome and metagenomic sequencing and metabolomics using high-resolution mass spectrometry. Using genetic constructs (deletion mutants, overexpressing strains, gene reporter fusions etc), we can address, in natural and semi-natural systems, how secondary metabolite producing microorganisms affect the microbial community, its functionality and, potentially, a host.
Fundamental science driven by scientific questions
The center aims at answering fundamental scientific questions on why microorganisms produce such compounds, what is the diversity of secondary metabolite produce microbes in different ecological niches and or how do the genetic clusters encoding for secondary metabolites evolve in microbiomes on a temporal scale . In addition, answering these questions may lead to the discovery of new bioactive compounds that can have industrial or medical applications.
CeMiSt as a microbiome hub
CeMiSt is a hub for microbiome research since the Center not only employs experts in the field but also has established a network of leading scientists in the field. This is possible thanks to a scientific advisory board with experts in microbiomes, visiting professors, seminars and international conferences organized by CeMiSt. The Center is one of the major players in the Microbiome Lighthouse established at the Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine at DTU (DTU Bioengineering).
CeMiSt is generating a wealth of data: sequences, metabolomics, chemical structures, metadata, strain physiology and it is essential for the Center that these can be found, shared, read and analysed by the Center and by the scientific community as a whole. Therefore, CeMiSt is establishing a data management system keeping track of and linking all data. This is an essential aspect in microbiome research as the complexity of data types and scattered research results might hinder progress. The ultimate goal is to create a database with the searchable data generated by the Center.
The Center for Microbial Secondary Metabolites, CeMiSt, opened 1st January 2018 and is based at the Technical University of Denmark, and hosted by Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (DTU Bioengineering. Two other DTU units, DTU Chemistry and DTU Biosustain, are part of the Center. Currently (November 2020), there are 13 senior faculty, 9 PhD students and 3 postdocs in the Center.
Read more about a career at the Center for Microbial Secondary Metabolites here: www.cemist.dtu.dk