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Evolving interactions in microbial communities

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "EVOMICROCOMM" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: Quartier Unil-Centre Bâtiment Unicentre
postcode: 1015

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Switzerland [CH]
 Total cost 1˙498˙875 €
 EC max contribution 1˙498˙875 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2016-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-05-01   to  2022-04-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITE DE LAUSANNE CH (LAUSANNE) coordinator 1˙498˙875.00


 Project objective

Microbes play an important role in various aspects of our lives, from our own health to the health of our environment. In almost all of their natural habitats, microbes live in dense communities composed of different strains and species that interact with each other. As these microbes evolve, so do the interactions between them, which alters the functioning of the community as a whole.

In this project, I propose to develop theoretical and experimental tools to study and control evolving interactions between cells and species living in microbial ecosystems. This will involve three main research objectives: first, we will couple theory and experiments to disentangle and characterise the social interactions between five bacterial species that make up an ecosystem used to degrade pollutants. Our second objective will be to use this knowledge to control this same ecosystem, by directing it toward increased productivity and stability. Finally, our third objective will be to “breed” novel communities from scratch using experimental evolution to promote cooperative interactions between community members and thereby increase productivity.

This interdisciplinary and ambitious research will allow us to improve existing methods in pollution degradation, and to design new microbial communities for this and other purposes. More generally, our model system will provide an in-depth conceptual understanding of microbial ecosystems and their evolution, and the tools to investigate more complex microbial communities. My ultimate vision is to possess the technology to use microbial communities to degrade waste, generate efficient biofuels, and design customised treatments for intestinal diseases. This project promises to create the foundations needed to develop this technology, and open many exciting avenues for future research.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Shota Shibasaki, Sara Mitri
Controlling evolutionary dynamics to optimize microbial bioremediation
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI: 10.1101/705749
bioRxiv pre-print server 2020-02-04
2019 Philippe Piccardi, Björn Vessman, Sara Mitri
Toxicity drives facilitation between 4 bacterial species
published pages: 15979-15984, ISSN: 0027-8424, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1906172116
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116/32 2020-01-28
2019 Flor I. Arias-Sánchez, Björn Vessman, Sara Mitri
Artificially selecting microbial communities: If we can breed dogs, why not microbiomes?
published pages: e3000356, ISSN: 1545-7885, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000356
PLOS Biology 17/8 2020-01-30
2019 Samuele Testa, Sarah Berger, Philippe Piccardi, Frank Oechslin, Grégory Resch, Sara Mitri
Spatial structure affects phage efficacy in infecting dual-strain biofilms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa
published pages: , ISSN: 2399-3642, DOI: 10.1038/s42003-019-0633-x
Communications Biology 2/1 2020-01-28

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