Microbial cultures in Petri dishes, front: Streptomyces lividans

Profile Line LIFE

The Profile Line LIFE encompasses research in the areas Microbiology, Infection Biology, Biodiversity, Bio-Geo Interactions and Aging Research.
Microbial cultures in Petri dishes, front: Streptomyces lividans
Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

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Camera lens Camera lens Image: pixabay license

Call for pictures!

 LIFE goes Goethe Galerie: the profile line plans an exhibition in Jena's biggest shopping mall, sharing our passion for science with the public.

For this, we need your active support and are looking for all the beautiful, interesting, and impressive pictures that were created by or show science - photographs, microscopic images. We are looking forward to numerous contributions all across the life sciences: biology, chemistry, medicine, informatics, physics, geology and all interdisciplinary fields in between. The best pictures will be selected and will be shown for two weeks to the general public of the city of Jena in the Goethe Galerie.

Become part of this exhibition with your picture, and send your contribution (picture + short description, name, affiliation) to franziska.eberl@uni-jena.de until 28.02.2022. We are looking forward to numerous submissions!

New funding options within the Profile line LIFE

The profile line LIFE offers three types of funds for researchers in the life sciences. Check them out and apply now: Current Advertisements

Illustration research funding Illustration research funding Illustration: Franziska Eberl (emojis by Google/ backgorund by pixabay)
Graphical artwork. Graphical artwork. Graphic: Tamara Knapp (Bauhaus University Weimar)

FSU meets Bauhaus

As a follow-up initiative of the successful Arts & Science project "Entstehung einer künstlerischen Tatsache" we want to start a cooperation with Tamara Knapp, who is running the Space for Visual Research at the Bauhaus-University in Weimar, and therefore we need contributions from researchers of diverse research fields in the life sciences:

We are looking for doctoral researcher and post-doc volunteers to deliver short presentations (~ 30 min) on scientific visualisation to be part of the "Space for Visual Research" course. This course is attended by Bsc and MSc students in Visual Communication and Media Arts. 

Specifically, we are looking for presentations about tools, methodology and outputs of scientific  visualization, rather than the specific research questions behind it. We would like to cover a range of scientific visualisation platforms, so anything from microscopy and photography to molecular structure elucidation and statistical data analysis with graphical output (heatmaps, metabolic/interaction networks, PCAs, histograms/ data transformation etc) can be included. The presentation will be followed by a discussion with the Bauhaus University students.

When? Each Thursday, 10:00 – 12:00, starting in January

Where? Bauhaus University, Weimar / online (zoom)

If you are interested in taking part in this interdisciplinary Arts & Science initiative and in presenting your methods to an audience that might look at it from a very different perspective, then please email Hendrik Huthoff (Hendrik.huthoff@uni-jena.de; CC to Franziska.eberl@uni-jena.de) with a brief summary of your proposed contribution. 

About the Profile Line LIFE

The profile line LIFE supports existing structures within the current focal research areas in the life sciences and medicine, which have a long tradition in Jena. At the same time, new and innovative topics are identified and promoted. A high degree of interdisciplinarity within the profile line LIFE connects the different faculties of the Friedrich Schiller University and the non-university partners. The application of technical solutions in biological research interlinks the profile lines LIGHT and LIFE, whereas social and ethical aspects are explored in connection with the profile line LIBERTY.

Movie - Research in the profile line LIFE of the FSU Jena
Video: FREJM.net

Current Focal Research Areas

Honey mushroom in petridishes
Microbiology and Chemical Signals
Microbial communities and chemical communication
Fluorescence-microscopic capture of germinal centers, in which B cells mature after infection.
Infection Biology
Human pathogens, diagnostics and care
Field site Jena Experiment
Species diversity and ecosystems
Droplets are falling on a water surface.
Bio-Geo Interactions
Above- and belowground interactions, soil characterization
fluorescence imaging of a cell
Aging Research
Molecular mechanism of aging and age-related diseases
Generation of a virtual infection model.
Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
Data-driven approaches and digitalization

Life Sciences with Tradition

Portrait des Ökologie-Begründers Ernst Haeckel Portrait des Ökologie-Begründers Ernst Haeckel Image: Archiv Hoßfeld

Natural sciences in Jena have a long tradition. Specifically the disciplines botany, ecology and microbiology have a long-standing history in the science location Jena.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the botanist Matthias Jacob Schleiden was the first to describe cells in living plants, and with this became a pioneer of the modern cell theory. His collaborative efforts together with Carl Zeiss and Ernst Abbe built the basis for a lasting and strong connection  between the life sciences and the optical industry in Jena, which still is the driving force for innovations in the ‘science city’.

The term ‘Ecology’ was, in fact, born in Jena. With it, in 1866, the evolution scientist Ernst Haeckel defined a new sub-discipline within biology, which addresses the interactions between organisms and their environment. The chemical basis of such interactions is explored in the field of Chemical Ecology, which also is rooted in Jena by studies of the botanist Ernst Stahl.

The microbiologist Hans Knöll dedicated himself to drug discovery and production, in the early twentieth century. He was particularly interested in the production of penicillin and the tuberculosis vaccine BCG. The BCG institute that he founded in 1950 – later the Central Institute for Microbiology and Experimental Therapy (ZIMET) and now the Hans Knöll Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology (HKI) – was the first building at the Beutenberg campus, which is the central location for research and science in Jena today.

Structure-providing facilities Show content
Research Structures Show content

Units of Excellence and Research Centres:

Cluster of excellence "Balance of the Microverse"

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Halle-Jena-Leipzig


Collaborative Research Centres (CRCs) and Transregios (TRs):

ChemBioSys (CRC 1127), since 2014

FungiNet (CRC/TR 124), since 2013

AquaDiva (CRC1076), since 2013

NC3 (SFB/TRR 212), since 2018 (participation)


 Research Units (RUs) and Research Training Groups (RTGs):

QuaLiPerF (RU 5151), since 2020

Jena Experiment (RU 5000), since 2019 (participation)

SYNABS (RU 3004), since 2019

Mechanisms of Lysosomal Homeostasis (RU 2625), since 2017 (participation)

MAD Soil (RU 2179), since 2015

DynIon (RU 2518), since 2015

Active Perception (RU 2293), since 2015 (participation)

TreeDì (Interanational RTG 2324), since 2018 (participation)

TransTiP (International RTG 2309), since 2018 (participation)

ProMoAge (RTG 2155), since 2016

 Molecular Signatures of Adpative Stress Responses (RTG 1715), since 2012


Structured Doctoral Programmes:

Jena School for Microbial Communiaction (JSMC)

Jena School of Molecular Medicine (JSMM)

IMPRS "Exploration of Ecological Interactions with Molecular and Chemical Techniques"

IMPRS for Global Biogeochemical Cycles (IMPRS gBGC)

IMPRS for the Science of Human History (IMPRS SHH)

Helmholtz Interdisciplinary Graduate School for Environmental Research (HIGRDADE)

Leibniz Graduate School on Ageing and Age-Related Diseases (LGSA)

ILRS for Microbial and Biomolecular Interactions (ILRS Jena)

Young Biodiversity Graduate School (yDiv)


Further Projects and Facilities:

NFDI4Chem, DFG-funded consortium for the national research data infrastructure in chemistry

NFDI4Biodiversity, DFG-funded consortium for the national research data infrastructure in biodiversity (participation)

NFDI4Microbioloy, DFG-funded consortium for the national research data infrastructure in microbiology (participation)

Centre for Innovation Competence (ZIK), cross-faculty research centre

IMPULS, research consortium for the identification and manipulation of the physiological and psychological clocks of lifespan

WeCaRe, BMBF-funded alliance for health care in structurally weak regions (cooperation with LIBERTY)

Competence Cluster for Nutrition and Cardiovascular Health (NutriCARD), funded by the BMBF

Center for Sepsis Control & Care (CSCC), funded by the BMBF

InfectControl 2020, part of the BMBF Zwanzig20 funding programme

InfectoGnostics, BMBF Research Campus

Automated Multisensor Stations for Monitoring of BioDiversity (AMMOD), funded by the BMBF

Gut-brain-axis: Targets for improvement of cognition in the elderly (SmartAge), EU-financed Innovative Training Network

Understanding virus-host interactions (ViroInf), EU-financed Innovative Training Network

European Virus Bioinformatics Center (EVBC), center at the interface of bioinformatics and virology

OrganAge, Program for young clinician scientists

AntiAge, Research training group funded by the Else Kröner Foundation

Leibniz Center for Photonics in Infection Research (LPI), Leibniz Center

InfectoOptics, Leibniz ScienceCampus

Regenerative Aging, Leibniz ScienceCampus

Faculties involved Show content
Cooperation partners Show content


The 12-person coordination team serves as the reporting and strategic body within the LIFE profile line. The spokesperson (currently Prof. E. Kothe) and deputy (currently Prof. M. Bauer) are elected every 3 years. Additionally, the steering committee is supported by a coordinator (Dr. Franziska Eberl). A list of all members of the steering committee can be found here [pdf, 50 kb] de.

Erika Kothe, Univ.-Prof. Dr
Spokesperson Profile Line LIFE
Erika Kothe
Mikrobielle Kommunikation
Neugasse 25
07743 Jena
Michael Bauer, Prof. Dr
Deputy Spokesperson Profile Line LIFE
Michael Bauer
Jena University Hospital, Department for Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine
Erlanger Allee 101
07747 Jena
Franziska Eberl, Dr
Coordinator Profile Line LIFE
Franziska Eberl
Hellfeldsches Haus
Neugasse 23
07743 Jena
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