Evolutionary Biology
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Noémie Becker - Evolution of Humans and Pathogens

Research topics

Originally an evolutionary anthropologist, I am interested in human evolution and on that of its pathogens. Research in the group focuses mainly on the evolution of Borrelia bacteria responsible for Lyme disease but also on other projects related to human and bacterial evolution.

Borrelia and Lyme disease 

borrelia_bavariensis_skaliertLyme disease is one of the most frequent zoonoses in the Northern Hemisphere. It is caused by bacteria of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato species complex transmitted form host to host by tick vectors. Understanding the evolution of Borrelia bacteria in the context of their adaptation to their different hosts is crucial for the understanding of the geographical spread of the disease as well as their adaptation to the human immune system.

In collaboration with Dr. G. Margos and Dr. V. Fingerle from the Bayerisches Landesamt für Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit, I have developed a project focusing on the evolution of Borrelia from different species and on their adaptation to their hosts. The methods used are mainly those of population genomics.

Borrelia bavariensis stained with DAPI

Other research topics (contact me if you want to learn more!)

  • Evolution of demographic parameters in human populations
  • Evolution of KdpD proteins in bacteria
  • Evolution of African Pygmy populations

Publications 

 

Current students

Robert Rollings, Master EES, LMU
Robert is working on experimental evolution for host adaptation in Borrelia

Alexander Paulus, Master Biology, LMU
Alexander is working on plasmid content and genes associated with host immune evasion in Borrelia.


Former students

Katie Wolcott, Master EES, LMU
Theresa Puchner, Bachelor Biology, LMU
Christoph Netz, Master EES, LMU
Ekaterina Morozova, Master EES, LMU
Gwenna Breton, ENS, Lyon
Raul Gonzalez, Master EES, LMU
Cendy Zheng, Master EES, LMU
Sebastian Rehms, Bachelor Biology, LMU
Fanny Gatzmann, Master Bioinformatics, LMU-TU

 

Teaching

Please refer to the AG Metzler website 

 

Contact

nbecker@bio.lmu.de
Phone: 089 2180 74106
Office: B01.005