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University of Vienna

Country: Austria
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515 Projects, page 1 of 103
  • Funder: EC Project Code: 224747
    Partners: University of Vienna
  • Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
    Funder: EC Project Code: 101042570
    Overall Budget: 1,460,600 EURFunder Contribution: 1,460,600 EUR
    Partners: University of Vienna

    Modern humans are defined and sustained by interactions and networks. In Paleolithic contexts, reconstructing interactions and networks is limited to inferences based on material culture or direct evidence of biological relatedness, but evidence on the latter in the form of human fossils is very rare. Still, archaeogenetic research can formulate supra-regional models for broad time periods based on only a few genomes by distinguishing ancient clades, but not to the level of interactions between human groups of particular cultural complexes. Recently, archaeological sediments and speleothems - karstic cave formations - have been revealed as a further genomic archive for past environments and past human populations initiating a new phase in archaeogenetic research. These new archives have the potential to greatly expand the archaeogenetic record as they stem from ubiquitous environmental sources and they do provide the spatial and temporal resolution to zoom into population dynamics at the group level. However, what this ancient DNA (aDNA) originates from and under what conditions it preserves over time are still open questions. I here suggest placing this paleogenomic data into a microstratigraphic framework, where individual depositional events are recorded in microscopic features, to overcome these problems and to provide high-resolution time series of population interactions. Using an interdisciplinary tool kit, I will (I) reconstruct the source, origin, and deposition of sedimentary and speleothem aDNA in archaeological contexts, (II) identify ideal preservation contexts for this type of aDNA with a focus on in-field assessments and (III) extract genomic time series from archaeological sediments and speleothems. I will apply this approach to Upper Paleolithic sites in Georgia to reconstruct the relatedness of the people using individual sites over time and across contemporaneous sites set against regional expressions of climate and paleoenvironment change.

  • Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
    Funder: EC Project Code: 101064476
    Funder Contribution: 183,601 EUR
    Partners: University of Vienna

    Particulate organic carbon generated by primary production in surface waters is exported into the ocean’s interior through the biological pump, contributing to the regulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide and partial sequestration of ocean carbon. Microbial transformation mechanisms on sinking aggregates directly impact the quantity and quality of organic matter reaching the deep sea. Due to their importance in biogeochemical cycles, sinking particles and their microbial components have received increasing attention in the past few years. However, microbial interactions and mechanisms involved in particle formation and degradation remain largely unexplored. The overarching goal of the current project is to explore for the first time the specific functions of particle-associated prokaryotes in determining the fate of sinking particulate organic matter (POM). First aim is to investigate in situ the RNA-based functional and genomic characteristics of sinking particle-attached microbes over time at different depths, using metatranscriptomics and metagenomics analyses. We also aim to elucidate the protein-based functional profiles of microbial communities on sinking particles and uncover linkages between microbial enzymes involved in the degradation of POM, using a comparative metaproetomics and metagenomics approach. Additionally, we aim to examine the carbon uptake, metabolic activity and colonization patterns of sinking-particle-attached microbes, using stable isotope probing coupled with amino acid tagging and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry. It is anticipated that the insights provided into microbially mediated processes regulating POM transformation will set the basis for better understanding the oceanic carbon cycle, and further improve predictions on future ocean biogeochemical cycles and climate change.

  • Open Access mandate for Publications
    Funder: EC Project Code: 658718
    Overall Budget: 166,157 EURFunder Contribution: 166,157 EUR
    Partners: University of Vienna

    Clostridium difficile is a Gram-positive, anaerobic bacterium that relies on the disturbance of the normal gut microbiota to colonize the human intestinal tract and cause infection and disease. In the last decade new strains of C. difficile have emerged to cause outbreaks of increased disease severity and higher recurrence and mortality rates. C. difficile infection (CDI) is becoming refractory to the conventional antibiotic treatments and probiotic-based approaches are viewed as promising alternative therapies to effectively treat CDI. The development of such bacterial-based treatments requires the identification of the mechanisms by which the commensal members of the gut microbiota are able to eradicate C. difficile, as well as of the identity of the members of the gut microbiota that orchestrate those mechanisms. Since nutrient competition is an important mechanism by which the colonic microbiota suppresses the growth of many enteric pathogens, I focus here on competition for limited nutrient sources, such as the gut mucosal sugars N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) and sialic acid, as a mechanism by which the members of the gut microbiota can eradicate C. difficile. I will investigate in detail the importance of GlcNAc catabolism, both alone and in combination with the catabolism of sialic acid, for C. difficile expansion in the gut. Furthermore, by combining stable isotope probing (SIP) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with high resolution secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS) I propose to identify commensal members of the gut microbiota that can efficiently catabolize these mucosal carbohydrates in vivo and to evaluate the ability of the identified organisms to outcompete C. difficile. Thus, this work will contribute to elucidate the mechanisms by which the gut microbiota prevents C. difficile colonization and to identify members of the gut microbiota that can be the basis for an effective, safe and standardized treatment to cure CDI.

  • Funder: EC Project Code: 274895
    Partners: University of Vienna