Institute of Applied Microbiology

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Miriam Agler-Rosenbaum
Juniorprofessor Miriam Agler-Rosenbaum
RWTH Aachen University
Rosenbaum Lab

Institute of Applied Microbiology - iAMB
Biology Department
Worringerweg 1
52074 Aachen / Germany

Phone: +49-241-80-26608
Fax: +49-241-80-622180

What drives me?

Physiological capabilities of microorganisms are stunningly extraordinary. In every corner of our world or facet of our life, microorganisms are responsible for holding it all together with their secret, often invisible functions... For many aspects of life, they represent the glue that connects our macroscopic biology to the inanimate environment. Lifting the curtain on some of these functions and utilizing them for new biotechnological applications is what drives my work. The special niche, on which I focus my work are the interactions of microorganisms with electrodes, which function as synthetic (adjustable and controlled) electron donors or acceptors for microbial biochemical reactions.

University education

2007-2008 Post-Doc, Washington University in St. Louis, MO / USDA-ARS Peoria, IL, USA
Advisors: Dr. Lars Angenent, Dr. Mike Cotta

2004-2006 PhD Studies, University of Greifswald, Germany
Thesis topic: "Development of microbial fuel cells for power generation from biomass"
Advisors: Dr. Uwe Schröder, Dr. Fritz Scholz
With a scholarship of the Fond der Chemischen Industrie

1999-2004 Diploma Studies in Biochemistry University of Greifswald
Majors in Microbiology and Environmental Chemistry
Thesis topic: "Development of microbial fuel cells based on phototrophic microorganisms"
Advisors: Dr. Uwe Schröder, Dr. Fritz Scholz

Professional employment

2011-present Juniorprofessor in the field of Microbiology of Defined Mixed Cultures
  Institute of Applied Microbiology, RWTH Aachen University, Germany; Successful mid-term evaluation in 2014

2009-2011 Research Associate
  Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

Current Projects

Microbial Electrocatalysis within the TMFB Research Cluster

Five of our scientists  are currently working within the Cluster of Excellence "Tailor-made fuels from biomass".
In the context of the cluster, Dr. Bastian Molitor, Thomas Kirchner, Tatiana Rodrigues and Kristina Kaufmann investigate strategies for the microbial electroreduction of biomass intermediates to fuel components.

Since October 2013, Ivan Schlembach is completing our TMFB research team to investigate the simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of cellulosic substrates to itaconic acid with defined microbial mixed cultures. Currently, Ivan is supported in his work by Bachelors thesis student Hannah Klasen. This project is a direct collaboration with the Chair of Biochemical Process Engineering run by Prof. Jochen Büchs (Bio-VT).

Pseudomonas aeruginosa Ecology in Bioelectrochemical Systems

In October 2012, Erick Bosire joined our team as a DAAD-funded PhD student. He is investigating ecological effects of different Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains in bioelectrochemical systems. These research efforts are now further strengthened by a new DFG grant and two new PhD students: Carola Berger (since April 2014) studies the physiological base of P. aeruginosa co-culture interactions in bioelectrochemcial systems and Simone Schmitz (since September 2014) studies the bioelectrochemical ecology of P. aeruginosa in defined microbial co-cultures.  

Further Research Activities

In 2013, we obtained SeedFunding from the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University to turn Pseudomonas putida into an anaerobic biocatalyst (together with Lars Blank). Then students, Simone Schmitz and Salome Nies successfully engineered and studied this organism for phenazine mediator production in bioelectrochemical systems (see Publication in Frontiers in Microbiology, 2015). This work will be continued. 

From another SeedFund through the University Exploratory Research Space, a research collaboration with the RWTH Institutes for Textile Research (ITA) and Water Management (ISA) originated to develop new BES electrode materials. With the outcome of our work we succeeded in the BMFB competition "New Products for the Bioeconomy" and PhD student Malte Heyer is now further developing this project in a BMBF-funded "Sondierungsphase".

Peer reviewed Articles
Oral Presentations