Discovery of bacterial defense systems at Biologisk Institut - Københavns Universitet

Project type: Master

Mobile genetic elements (MGEs), such as plasmids and phages, shape bacterial evolution by facilitating genetic exchange among community members, eg. antimicrobial resistance. However, MGEs often act as genetic parasites and bacteria have evolved immune systems to defend themselves against these invaders, including CRISPR-Cas, Restriction-Modification, Retrons, etc. The identification and functional characterization of new defense systems is crucial to understand gene flow across microbiomes and, thus, bacterial ecology and evolution. Moreover, defense systems comprise powerful machineries that are particularly well suited for the development of biotechnological tools (eg., in genome engineering, therapeutics, and diagnostics).
Types of projects:

Develop computational approaches for mining novel bacterial defense systems.

Develop experimental approaches for mining novel bacterial defense systems.

Functional screening of candidate defense systems against plasmids and phages.

Bioinformatic investigation of defense system prevalence, diversity, and taxonomic distribution.

Genetic and biochemical characterisation of novel defense systems.

Investigation of biotechnological applications of novel defense systems.
Techniques covered:


Comparative genomics

Bacterial handling


Molecular cloning

Phage & Plasmid manipulation
For more information, please contact:
Søren Sørensen,,
Rafael Pinilla,

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