Dr. Nika Pende


My research addresses a very fundamental question: how do archaeal cells divide? While the majority of cell biology research have focused  on eukaryotes and bacteria, archaea have remained relatively understudied. Consequently, the molecular mechanisms directing their cell growth and division are poorly understood, compounded by the scarcity of well-established model organisms. I am working on methanogenic archaea, that possess a cell wall resembling the bacterial peptidoglycan cell wall. My model-organisms are human gut-associated Methanobrevibacter smithii and hyperthermophilic Methanopyrus kandleri. By dissecting the key components involved in archaeal cell growth and division, I aim to shed light on their biology and their influence on their hosts.To achieve this, I am using a combination of cell biology, bio-chemical and -physical approaches, high-resolution microscopy and phylogenomicsThis strategy enables me to uncover the intricate cellular processes that orchestrate cell growth and division in cell-walled methanogenic archaea, contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of these fascinating microorganisms.

Environmental Biology
Field sampling
Genetic manipulation
Plasmid-based expression
Molecular Biology
Protein purification
Western blot
Cellular Biology
Cell shape