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Ecosystem in a box: Dissecting the dynamics of a defined microbial community in vitro

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "EcoBox" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: OUDE MARKT 13
city: LEUVEN
postcode: 3000

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 Belgium [BE]
 Total cost 1˙493˙899 €
 EC max contribution 1˙493˙899 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2018-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2019
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2019-01-01   to  2023-12-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN BE (LEUVEN) coordinator 1˙493˙899.00


 Project objective

The dynamics of microbial communities may be driven by the interactions between community members, controlled by the environment, shaped by immigration or random events, influenced by evolutionary processes or result from an interplay of all these factors. This project aims to improve our understanding of how community structure and the environment impact community dynamics. Towards this aim, a defined in vitro community of human gut bacteria will be assembled, since their genomes are available and their metabolism is comparatively well resolved. In the first step, we will quantify the intrinsic variability of community dynamics and look for alternative stable states. Next, we will systematically vary community structure as well as nutrient supply and monitor their effects on the dynamics. Finally, we will measure model parameters, evaluate to what extent different community models predict observed community dynamics and validate the models by identifying and experimentally validating keystone species. Studies of microbial community dynamics are hampered by the cost of obtaining densely sampled time series in replicates and by the difficulty of community manipulation. We will address these challenges by setting up an in vitro system for parallel and automated cultivation in well-controlled conditions and by working with defined communities, where every community member is known. The proposed project will discern how external factors and community structure drive community dynamics and encode this knowledge in mathematical models. Moreover, the project has the potential to transform our view on alternative microbial communities and their interpretation. In addition, the project will extend our knowledge of human gut microorganisms and their interactions. These insights will ease the design of defined gut communities optimized for therapeutic purposes.


List of deliverables.
Data Management Plan Open Research Data Pilot 2019-07-23 16:52:23

Take a look to the deliverables list in detail:  detailed list of EcoBox deliverables.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2020 Lisa Röttjers, Karoline Faust
manta: a Clustering Algorithm for Weighted Ecological Networks
published pages: , ISSN: 2379-5077, DOI: 10.1128/msystems.00903-19
mSystems 5/1 2020-04-24
2019 Gino Vrancken, Ann C. Gregory, Geert R. B. Huys, Karoline Faust, Jeroen Raes
Synthetic ecology of the human gut microbiota
published pages: 754-763, ISSN: 1740-1526, DOI: 10.1038/s41579-019-0264-8
Nature Reviews Microbiology 17/12 2020-04-24

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The information about "ECOBOX" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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