Modern mass spectrometry allows us to identify a wide range of metabolites in complex environments. While this enables us to catalog thousands of compounds, we still have little knowledge about the ecological relevance of most molecules.
The Functional Metabolomics Lab, led by Daniel Petras, combines a multidisciplinary approach at the interface of natural product research, mass-spectrometry-based metabolomics, and proteomics as well as chemical biology. The lab aims to systematically determine the influence of small molecules on complex microbial communities and to mine novel bioactive compounds.
The exchange of primary and specialized metabolites are central drivers of microbial community function.
In particular, by using native mass spectrometry, sequencing and laboratory-based microbiome model systems, Daniel Petras and his team investigate the molecular function of natural products in shaping the structure of microbial communities and the interactions with their hosts.