October 13, 2017

Metaorganism Research in Kiel


October 6, 2017

Thomas Bosch about Metaorganism Research in Kiel


September 26, 2017

Nerves control the body’s bacterial community

The Bosch lab proves, that there is close cooperation between the nervous system and the microbial population of the body

Nerve cells

Nerve cells (in green) of the freshwater polyp Hydra produce antimicrobial peptides and thus shape the animal’s microbiome. Rod-shaped bacteria can be seen at the base of the tentacles, marked in red. Image: Christoph Giez, Dr. Alexander Klimovich

A central aspect of life sciences is to explore the symbiotic cohabitation of animals, plants and humans with their specific bacterial communities. Scientists refer to the full set of microorganisms living on and inside a host organism as the microbiome. Over the past years, evidence has accumulated that the composition and balance of this microbiome contributes to the organism’s health. For instance, alterations in the composition of the bacterial community are implicated in the origin of various so-called environmental diseases. However, it is still largely unknown just how the cooperation between organism and bacteria works at the molecular level and how the microbiome and body exactly act as a functional unit. An important breakthrough in deciphering these highly complex relationships has now been achieved by the Bosch lab. Using the freshwater polyp Hydra as a model organism, the Kiel-based researchers and their international colleagues investigated how the simple nervous system of these animals interacts with the microbiome. They were able to demonstrate, for the first time, that small molecules secreted by nerve cells help to regulate the composition and colonisation of specific types of beneficial bacteria along the Hydra’s body column. The scientists published their new findings in Nature Communications this Tuesday September 26 2017


Fibres of intestinal tissue (in red) surround the nerve cells (in green) of the freshwater polyp Hydra. Image: Christoph Giez, Dr. Alexander Klimovich

Original publication:
René Augustin, Katja Schröder, Andrea P. Murillo Rincón, Sebastian Fraune, Friederike Anton-Erxleben, Ava-Maria Herbst, Jörg Wittlieb, Martin Schwentner, Joachim Grötzinger, Trudy M. Wassenaar, Thomas C.G. Bosch (2017): “A secreted antibacterial neuropeptide shapes the microbiome of Hydra”. Nature Communications, Published on September 26, 2017, doi:10.1038/s41467-017-00625-1


August 23, 2017

Soeben erschienen:
Thomas C.G. Bosch “Der Mensch als Holobiont”
(Taschenbuch im Ludwig-Verlag; über Amazon bestellbar)

Der Mensch als HolobiontAlle lebendigen Organismen – auch der Mensch – können nicht alleine bestehen, sondern sind Holobionten oder Metaorganismen. Unzählige, gutartige Mikroorganismen besiedeln den gesamten Körper, die äußerst wichtige Funktionen übernehmen und ohne die kein Lebewesen existieren kann. Thomas Bosch zeigt in diesem Taschenbuch, wie die Forschung immer tiefer in das komplexe Zusammenwirken von Mikroben und Wirtskörper eindringt. Er zeigt auf, wie diese völlig neue Sicht auf den Menschen als Ökosystem nicht nur unser Verständnis von Lebensprozessen revolutioniert sondern auch ganz neue Ansätze in der Therapie von chronischen Erkrankungen wie z.B. Darmentzündungen oder Krebs liefert. Eine veränderte Lebensweise, die auch unsere „Mitbewohner“ beachtet, erscheint als der neue Schlüssel zu langfristiger Gesundheit.
ISBN 978-3869353241

March 22, 2017

In a joint book project with artists, Thomas Bosch argues for a dialogue between the life sciences and the arts in order to acknowledge the deeply creative and expressive processes embodied in all living organisms.

Bosch TCG (2017) Augmenting the Life Sciences with Contributions from the Arts. In: Sensing the Ocean: A Collaboration between Art, Design and Science (eds Duscher T, Sachs S, Schulz M). Revolver Publishing Berlin,
ISBN 978-3-95763-388-0  pdficon

March 21, 2017

Joint Meeting of the German and Japanese Societies of Developmental Biologists, 15 – 18 March 2017 Kiel, Germany.

As President of the Society of Developmental Biology (GfE) , Thomas Bosch organized a joint meeting of the German and Japanese Societies of Developmental Biologists,
15 – 18 March 2017 Kiel, Germany

December 13, 2016

CRC1182 / KAUST Workshop “Metaorganisms in Extreme Environments”, Kiel March 29/30 2017


The workshop “Metaorganisms in Extreme Environments” to be held at Kiel University in March 29-30 2017 will bring together researchers from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the Collaborative Research Centre 1182 at Kiel University using plant and animal model systems to gain insight into the cellular and genomic events underpinning the origin and evolution of metaorganism diversity and complexity in extreme environments.

December 6, 2016

Joint Meeting of the German and Japanese Societies of Developmental Biologists, 15 – 18 March 2017 Kiel, Germany.

As President of the Society of Developmental Biology (GfE) , Thomas Bosch is inviting to a joint meeting of the German and Japanese Societies of Developmental Biologists, 15 – 18 March 2017 Kiel, Germany. For more information please visit the homepage of the meeting:



October 24, 2016

Labor Journal features metaorganism research in Bosch lab
(article in German)


September 20, 2016

CRC 1182-Mini Symposium on Animal-Microbe Symbioses @ DZG Meeting

bosch_dzg_meeting_2016-855x480As a novelty, the German Zoological Society (DZG) this year introduced a new mini symposium into their meetings.

Prof. Thomas Bosch, conference chair of the 109th Annual Meeting of the DZG and head of the Collaborative Research Centre 1182 “Origin and Function of Metaorganisms”, used this oppurtunity to hold a mini symposium on animal-microbe symbioses – and thus presented the research scope of Kiel University’s new research centre to a broad audience of fellow scientists.

July 28, 2016


Mensch und Mikrobiom und Kieler Forschung

… “Vielleicht kommt die Botschaft, dass Arbeitsteilung, Kooperation und Partnerschaft fundamentale Merkmale aller Lebewesen sind, gerade recht. Noch steht die Mikrobiomforschung am Anfang ihrer Entwicklung, eines ist aber schon jetzt klar: Zum Miteinander gibt es keine Alternative. Wir haben allen Grund, die Mikroben, die zu unserer metaorganismischen Existenz gehören, zu schonen und wertzuschätzen. In diesem Sinne: Mögen unsere Symbionten noch lange mit uns sein!” Hier der ganze Artikel

Juni, 22, 2016

Canadian Institute of Advanced Research (CIFAR) publishes the names of the new fellows


June, 17, 2016

World’s leading experts on host bacteria relationships come together in Kiel University

First international conference on metaorganism research in Kiel

March 31, 2016

Thomas Bosch named CIFAR Fellow

Recently, the ongoing study of microoCIFARrganisms and their relationship to the animal and human body has raised questions about the fundamental mechanisms involved in these interactions. Thomas Bosch, whose work engages with questions of how organisms have evolved and are functioning as metaorganisms, has recently been named a Senior Fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR). Bosch will be working on CIFAR’s Humans and the Microbiome program, which will meet regularly to discuss the reciprocal influence between humans and microbes. The Humans and The Microbiome program at CIFAR engages with questions that have major implications for the future of health care.

CIFAR’s mission is to bring together interdisciplinary groups of researchers from around the world to engage with questions that have potential impacts on society, government and business. The organization is comprised of 350 fellows from more than 115 institutions across 17 countries.

March 18, 2016

FrauneCongratulation! Sebastian Fraune was awarded a three year grant from the HUMAN FRONTIER SCIENCE PROGRAM (HFSP) program. In the project “Beyond the genome: impact of microbial communities and epigenetic regulations for adaptation” Sebastian Fraune and his collaborators Dr. Adam Reitzel (USA) and Dr. Sylvain Foret (Australia) aim to determine the combinatorial effect of genome polymorphism, epigenetic regulation and the microbiome in holobiont thermal acclimation using the model species Nematostella vectensis.

February 22, 2016

February 18/19th 2016 :
The Bosch lab retreat at Noer Castle was a great success!

The objective of the retreat  was to have some quality time together to review our current research approaches, to learn together, have fun and support each other. Invited evening speaker Natacha Kremer from the University of Lyon, France, inspired us with her talk on “Rapid evolution of symbiotic interactions in response to stress”.  P1080103P1080085P1080132b - KopieP1080130 - KopieP1080109P1080118P1080126

January 20, 2016

Coming soon: a new book will be released soon on “The Holobiont Imperative”. Written by Thomas C.G. Bosch and David J. Miller, this book examines how the growing knowledge of animal-bacterial interactions, whether in shared ecosystems or intimate symbioses, is fundamentally altering our understanding of animal biology. This new view may have profound impact on understanding a strictly microbe/symbiont-dependent life style and its evolutionary consequences. The scope of this book is best described as an attempt to understand animal evolution in terms of symbiotic interactions and in light of the realization that we animals are intruders that have evolved within a microbial world.

January 18, 2016

Science Pub at Weinbar Idéal

Das Individuum als Metaorganismus: Neue Perspektiven für Biologie und Medizin by Prof. Thomas Bosch

The MGSE acts as co-organizer of a Science sciencepubPub to quench the thirst for knowledge of Münster’s citizens. It brings together scientists and the public for easy-to-understand presentations and thought-provoking discussions combined with food and drinks in an informal atmosphere. The overall aim is to promote understanding of and enthusiasm for science in the public. At the same time, researchers get the chance to receive feedback from a diverse audience and get people excited about their work outside the lab.

December 10, 2015

Tim Lachnit Grant

The VolkswagenStiftung has awarded Postdoc Tim Lachnit a major grant to study  “Bacteriophages, the so far neglected part of our immune system”.
Congratulation, Tim !

November 20, 2015

logo-enThe Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has decided to fund a new Collaborative Research Center (CRC 1182 /SFB 1182 ) on “Origin and Function of Metaorganisms”. Principal investigator and coordinator Thomas Bosch and his colleagues in North Germany will use the 10 million Euro to explore the multi-organismic interactions in plants, animals and humans.SFB_1182_Members

November 16, 2015


The newly founded interdisciplinary centre for applied life sciences – Kiel Life Science (KLS) – links up research from the fields of agricultural and nutritional sciences, the natural sciences and medicine at Kiel University. With Thomas Bosch as coordinator and Stefan Schreiber as co-coordinator, KLS forms one of four research foci at Kiel University. KLS wants to achieve a better understanding of the cellular and molecular processes with which organisms respond to environmental influences. This covers a  broad spectrum from how agricultural crop plants adapt to specific growth conditions, or how, in the interaction of genes, individual lifestyle and environmental factors, illnesses can arise. Within this framework, health is always viewed holistically in the evolutionary context.

November 15, 2015

Thomas Bosch and Kiel’s General Music Director (GMD) Georg Fritzsch invite Composer Shih to make the Zoological Museum in Kiel swing. The Première of the sound installation “Tanzendes Meer” (dancing ocean) was a plea for the freedom of art and science2015-423-2


April 10, 2015

April 10. 2015

Keep on top of what’s new in the world of metaorganisms, with Bernhard Kegel´s new book (so far in German only). The book serves as an excellent introduction into the emerging new research field “Environmental Genomics” and the role of microbes in health and disease. Kegel´s book also covers the studies done in the Hydra metaorganism over the last few years.

January 10, 2015

Summer Course ALERT!

Frontiers in Host-Microbe Interactions
Course Date: August 3 – August 20, 2015

January 10, 2015


International Workshop
Animal evolution: new perspectives from early emerging metazoans
Evangelische Akademie Tutzing, Germany,
14-17 September 2015

January 2, 2015


Host-microbe symbiosis: old friends and foes – Summer School for PhD students
19 July  – 1 August, 2015,
Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Portugal

November 10, 2014

International Conference on
Roscoff (Brittany), France, October 12-16, 2015

Chairperson: Eric GILSON, Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging, University of Nice, France
Vice-chairperson: THOMAS BOSCH, Zoological Institute, University of Kiel, Germany

Deadline for application: June 26, 2015


January 10, 2015



“Animal-Microbe Symbioses”
Identifying the Common Language of Host-Microbe Associations

Waterville Valley, NH
June 21-26, 2015


Oktober 30, 2014

Exciting new data sets available on

29th October, 2014 – New Data Sets from the Adamska lab on sponge Sycon ciliatum (Genome, Transcriptome and Protein translations) and Leucosolenia complicata (Transcriptome and Protein translations). The sequence data are available in the DataSets and Blast sections.

Leininger S, Adamski M, Bergum B, Guder C, Liu J, Laplante M, Bråte J, Hoffmann F, Fortunato S, Jordal S, Rapp HT and Adamska M. 2014. Developmental gene expression provides clues to relationships between sponge and eumetazoan body plans. Nature Comm. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4905

22nd October, 2014 – New transcriptome sequences for Clytia hemisphaerica – CHEM_T-CDS_141022. Added to DataSets and Blast sections following publication of the research paper:

Lapébie, P., Ruggiero A., Barreau C., Chevalier, S., Chang, P., Dru, P., Houliston E., and Momose T (2014) Differential Responses to Wnt and PCP Disruption Predict Expression and Developmental Function of Conserved and Novel Genes in a Cnidarian. PLoS Genetics, 10(9): e1004590. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004590

June 24, 2014


 June 26, 2014

Washinton Post

June 24, 2014


Cancer: The roots of evil go deep in time

Discovery of a primordial cancer in a primitive animal

Foto/Copyright: Klimovich/CAU

Every year around 450,000 people in Germany are diagnosed with cancer. Each one of them dreams of a victory in the battle against it. But can cancer ever be completely defeated? Researchers at Kiel University (CAU) have now reached a sobering conclusion: “Cancer is as old as multi-cellular life on earth and will probably never be completely eradicated”, says Professor Thomas Bosch in his latest research results. The study by an international team led by Bosch was published today (Monday, June 24) in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Communications.

The so-called cancer genes are ancient

The causes of tumours are the so-called cancer genes. As from when evolution started producing tumours is an issue that the scientists Tomislav Domazet-Lošo and Diethard Tautz from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön have been investigating for several years, using novel bioinformatic methods. “During the search for the origin of the cancer gene, we unexpectedly found that many of these genes originate from the first animals”, explains Domazet-Lošo. He is co-lead author of the present study and is currently working at the Ruder Bošković Institute and the Catholic University of Croatia in Zagreb. “Our data predicted that the first multi-cellular animals already had most of the genes which can cause cancer in humans.” What was missing until now was, on the one hand, direct evidence that the first animals can actually suffer from tumours and, on the other, the molecular understanding of the mechanisms of tumour formation in these simple organisms.

Cause of tumours: error in the programming of cell death

The research team led by the evolutionary biologist Professor Thomas Bosch from the Zoological Institute of Kiel University have now achieved impressive understanding of the roots of cancer. Bosch has been investigating stem cells and the regulation of tissue growth in Hydra, a phylogenetic old polyp, for many years. “Now we have discovered tumour-bearing polyps in two different species of Hydra, an organism very similar to corals”, emphasises Bosch regarding the first result of the new study. This provides proof that tumours indeed exist in primitive and evolutionary old animals.

The team also tracked down the cellular cause of the tumours along the entire body axis. For the first time they were able to show that the stem cells, which are programmed for sex differentiation, accumulate in large quantities and are not removed naturally by programmed cell death. Interestingly, these tumours affect only female Hydra polyps and resemble ovarian cancers in humans.

“When undertaking more detailed molecular analysis of the tumours we found a gene that becomes active dramatically in tumour tissue and that normally prevents the programmed cell death”, explains Alexander Klimovich, a scholarship student at the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation at the Zoological Institute of Kiel University and co-lead author of the current study regarding the second finding of the study. “As a non-functioning cell death mechanism is also made responsible for the growth and spread of tumours in many types of human cancer, striking similarities appear here to cancer in humans”, continues Klimovich.

The third finding of the scientists was to show that tumour cells are invasive. This means that if tumour cells are introduced into a healthy organism, they can trigger tumour growth there. Therefore Bosch reaches the following conclusion from his research into Hydra species: “The invasive characteristic of cancer cells is also an evolutionary old feature.”

Tumours have deep roots in evolution

The funds that are being deployed throughout the world in the campaign against cancer are enormous. It was estimated that only in the US more than 500 billion dollars were invested in cancer research by 2012. The worldwide research has led to improved preventative, diagnostic and treatment methods, which can definitely record successes. However it is precisely as far as some frequent tumours are concerned where only slow progress has been achieved. Every second person affected by cancer still succumbs to the disease today. In Germany alone every fourth person dies of cancer and this trend is rising. (World Cancer Report 2014) These figures were an incentive for the National Institute of Health in the US to launch a network of Physical Science-Oncology Centers, a new initiative that seeks to bridge intellectual barriers between diverse scientific disciplines. Paul Davies, a well known theoretical physicist and popular science writer that now leads one such centers in Phoenix, Arizona, recently concluded: “Clearly, we will fully understand cancer only in the context of biological history.” (The Guardian, 2012)

According to the research team led by Bosch, the findings of primordial tumors in Hydra are a breakthrough step in that direction: “Our research reconfirms that primordial animals such as Hydra polyps provide an enormous amount of information to help us understand such complex problems as ‘cancer’. Our study also makes it unlikely that the ‘War on Cancer’ proclaimed in the 1970s can ever be won. However, knowing your enemy from it origins is the best way to fight it, and win many battles”, says Bosch.


ScienceShot: ThCurrent Biologye Transformation of a Jellyfish

We show in the moon jelly Aurelia aurita that the molecular machinery controlling transition of the sessile polyp into a free-swimming jellyfish consists of two parts. One is conserved and relies on retinoic acid signaling. The second, novel part is based on secreted proteins that are strongly upregulated prior to metamorphosis in response to the seasonal temperature changes. One of these proteins functions as a temperature-sensitive “timer” and encodes the precursor of the strobilation hscinence logoormone of Aurelia. ScienceShot

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Evolutionary Biology: Researchers Solve Toll-Receptor Puzzle

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