Our Team

We are an enthusiastic, international team of researchers who aim to elucidate the secrets of the microbiome. 

Team members

more staff 

Lab management:
Lisa Wink (on leave)
Polona Mertelj
Tamara Zurabishvili

Master students:
Anna Eberhard
Kerstin Kalt
Marina Cecovini
Sarah Moser
David Strauß
Melanie Dragovan
Tanja Kobal
Kai Xu

Alexander Mahnert

About Me 


I am a trained microbiologist investigating diverse host (human, plants) and non-host (built environments) associated microbiomes by (mainly) bioinformatics methods. My main interest is the complex interaction of microbes with their surrounding habitat and how to translate such knowledge into future diagnostic applications. The ultimate goal of my research is to improve human health by personalized medical monitoring, treatment and prognostics on Earth and beyond. 


Short CV 


I studied molecular microbiology (Bachelor 2009, Masters 2012, PhD 2016) at the Karl Franzens and the Technical University in Graz. My education and Postdoc career was accompanied by diverse research stays at the Archaea Center at the University in Regensburg (Germany), the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech in Pasadena, CA, USA, the UCSD and Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, CA, USA and the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, WA, USA. Specifically, my acquired experiences from versatile labs around the world consolidated my interdisciplinary research profile, which lead to >20 publications and which were honored with five awards. 

Christina Kumpitsch

Torben Kühnast

Former team members


  • Thomas Vogl (2021-22) (ERC Starting Grant awardee)
  • Kaisa Koskinen (2015-19)

PhD students

  • Christina Kumpitsch (2021) 
  • Manuela-Raluca Pausan (2020) (L'Oreal scholarship winner)
  • Maximilian Mora (2019)
  • Alexandra Perras (2017) (Life Science PhD award ÖGMBT) 
  • Alexander Probst (2015) (VAAM dissertation award)

Diploma/ Master students

  • Simone Vrbancic (2023)
  • Laura Schmidberger (2023)
  • Julia Zollner (2022) 
  • Kevin Brunnader (2021)
  • Lukas Gulden (2021)
  • Daniela Fulterer (2021)
  • Valentin Trinkl (2021)
  • Elisabeth Orgler (2020)
  • ...