Böttcher Group

Biological Chemistry

By gaining a better understanding of how microorganisms control their behaviour through chemical compounds, we can create a new basis for the treatment of bacterial infections.
Dr. Thomas Böttcher

Chemical Strategies towards Disarming Bacteria

Bacteria are social organisms – at least sometimes. Generally speaking, they don’t act as individuals, but coordinate their behaviour at population level. Together, they create biofilms, simultaneously produce toxins or move over surfaces in groups. They communicate with each other via chemical substances – and it’s precisely here that Dr. Thomas Böttcher and his team come into play. “We investigate how microorganisms communicate via chemical substances, how they mutually affect each other’s behaviour, and how they defend themselves against other organisms,” Thomas Böttcher explains. “In particular, we’re interested in substances that allow us to manipulate the communication and population behaviour of bacteria. This enables us to intervene in infection processes in a highly targeted manner, for example by stopping bacteria from attacking us.”

In particular, Thomas Böttcher is interested in natural and synthetic products that can manipulate and control the behaviour of bacteria. His team searches systematically for such natural products, elucidates their chemical structure and investigates their potential for treating infectious diseases.

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