I am broadly interested in bacterial interactions and how these behaviours evolved. A molecular microbiologist by training, I soon became fascinated by ecology and social evolution. Now, I aim to investigate how bacteria deal with competitors, and how they adapt their combat strategies to their environment.
When bacteria fight against other bacteria, they have a whole arsenal of weapons at their disposal, ranging from small diffusible toxins to poisonous spears. Whilst some species only attack when they sense danger, others are hyperaggressive and do not shy away from preemptive strikes in the absence of a competitor. Some strains even engage in suicidal attacks, which leaves the attacker cells dead and evolutionary biologists puzzled. I am currently investigating how and when bacteria employ their weapon systems, and how these fascinating behaviors might have evolved.