Thomas Clavel

Microbiology Session

Friday, October, 1st, 2021, 11:00am – 12:30am

About the renewed interest for gut microbiome research by means of cultivation

Functional Microbiome Research Group, Institute of Medical Microbiology,
University Hospital of RWTH Aachen


The gut microbiome is important for health as well as the development and treatment of chronic diseases. Due to this, it has attracted a great deal of attention over the last two decades, mainly based on new sequencing technologies. However, more than half of the microbes colonizing the intestine of mammals remain unknowns, which hampers both our understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying microbe-host interactions and the implementation of microbiome-based applications. In this context, the lab uses cultivation approaches to study the diversity, taxonomy, and functions of gut bacteria. I will talk about multiple collections of isolates that we have established from different host species, share new biological and functional insights within these collections, and show examples of how to use isolates in experimental in vivo models. In the final part, I will introduce collaborative work on interactions between gut bacteria and immunoglobulin A based on sequencing and flow cytometry-based anaerobic cultivation.


I have been working in microbiome research for approx. 20 years. I studied agricultural sciences in France until 2002, including a Master thesis project on the molecular analysis of human fecal microbiota in the lab of Joël Doré (INRAE, Jouy-en-Josas, France). I then obtained my PhD in Microbiology in 2006 at the Institute of Human Nutrition under the supervision of Michael Blaut (Potsdam, Germany). Thereafter, I stayed for 11 years at the Technical University of Munich (Germany), first as a postdoc and then junior group leader under the mentoring of Dirk Haller. Since 2017, I have my own independent research group at the University Hospital of RWTH Aachen (Germany), with an excellent team of young researchers and students and great colleagues in our close surrounding (e.g. Oliver Pabst and Mathias Hornef).




Twitter: @clavellab


A collection of bacterial isolates from the pig intestine reveals functional and taxonomic diversity

High microbiota reactivity of adult human intestinal IgA requires somatic mutations

The Mouse Intestinal Bacterial Collection (miBC) provides host-specific insight into cultured diversity and functional potential of the gut microbiota