The Bischofs lab studies complex adaptive traits (CATs) of stressed bacteria. Our goals are to understand, to control and to engineer such traits. Using tools from molecular biology, microscopy and mathematical modelling we investigate how signaling networks regulate CATs. We seek to reveal fundamental organizing principles that relate the molecular network design to population-level behavior and vice versa. This should facilitate rational manipulations of bacterial populations and the implementation of novel functionalities into “smart” communities in the future.

The µCATs Lab is an external Max Planck Research Group of the MPI for Terrestrial Microbiology. We work in close collaboration with other groups from the BioQuant and the University of Heidelberg and also enjoy collaborating with external groups.

 Selected Publications

  • A. Mutlu, S. Trauth, M. Ziesack, K. Nagler, J. Bergeest, K. Rohr, N. Becker, T. Höfer and I. B. Bischofs
    Phenotypic memory in Bacillus subtilis links dormancy entry and exit by a spore quantity-quality tradeoff
    Nature Communications 9:69, 2018
  • H. Babel and I. B. Bischofs
    Molecular and cellular factors control signal transduction via switchable allosteric modulator proteins (SAMPs)
    BMC Systems Biology 10:35, 2016
  • D. Wolf, V. Rippa, J.C. Mobarec, P.Sauer, L. Adlung, P. Kolb and I. B. Bischofs
    The quorum sensing regulator ComA from Bacillus subtilis activates transcription using topologically distinct DNA motifs
    Nucleic Acids Research 44, No.5, 2160-2172, 2016
  • S. Pande, S. Shitut, L. Freund, M. Westermann, F. Bertels, C. Colesie, I. B. Bischofs and C. Kost
    Metabolic cross-feeding via inter-cellular nanotubes among bacteria
    Nature Communications 6: 6238, 2015
Contact: E-Mail (Last update: 05/02/2018)

Ilka Bischofs

Phone: +49 6221 54 51365
Email: ilka.bischofs(at)
BioQuant, INF 267, Room 602

Research News

Read about our latest research on B.subtilis spores here.

Watch all videos here.

Read the "Behind the paper" blog here .

People News

Alper Mutlu defended his PhD thesis. Congratulations!

Lab News: BacStream

Theresa Kordaß launches the database BacStream.

Thanks also to Stephi Trauth and Bernhard Kordaß and all µCATs for their contributions!


M.S. student Franziska Wölfl (MoBi) has joined us for an internship.