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.

Recent Publications

  • 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
  • Liluashvili V.,Bergeest J.-P., Harder N., Ziesack M., Mutlu A., Bischofs I.B. and K. Rohr
    Automatic Single-Cell Segmentation and Tracking of Bacterial Cells in Fluorescence Microscopy Images
    Informatik aktuell, H. Handels et al., Springer Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, 2015
  • B. Drees, M. Reiger, K. Jung, I.B. Bischofs
    A Modular View of the Diversity of Cell-Density-Encoding Schemes in Bacterial Quorum-Sensing Systems
    Biophysical Journal 107(1) 266-77, 2014
  • S. Trauth, I.B. Bischofs
    Ectopic Integration Vectors for Generating Fluorescent Promoter Fusions in Bacillus subtilis with Minimal Dark Noise
    PLoS ONE 9(5) e98360, 2014, featured by Bacillus Genetic Stock Center, June 2014
  • Contact: E-Mail (Last update: 07/12/2017)

    Ilka Bischofs

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

    People News

    Alper Mutlu has submitted his PhD thesis and is looking forward to having his results published in Nature Communications.

    Lab News: BacStream


    Theresa Kordaß launches her database BacStream.


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



    M.S. student Alexander Penning (MCB) has joined us for an internship.


    M.S. student Juan Estupinan (Systemsbiology) has joined us for an internship.