Christoph Keuschnig has been awarded a prestigious Marie Skłodowska Curie Action (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowship to investigate the impact of fungal-bacterial interactions on soil structure formation. The highly competitive funding program provides the opportunity to carry out research abroad while transferring expertise knowledge between the host institution and the fellow.
Dr. Keuschnig completed his Master studies in Biotechnology and Agriculture at the BOKU in Vienna, Austria before he moved to France to pursue his PhD in Microbial Ecology at the Ecole Centrale de Lyon. He specialized in molecular and metagenomic analysis of microbiomes from soil, permafrost, and snow. Last year, he joined the team of Prof. Liane G. Benning within the ERC project DEEP PURPLE. He will continue his work in Section 3.5 Interface Geochemistry during the now awarded 2-year fellowship.
MICOL-FUNTRANS (Microbial colonization by fungal hyphae mediated transport), aims to develop a novel microcosm system for the on-line observation of microbial processes in soil at the micro-scale. This work will introduce new collaborations to the GFZ with Dr. Claire Stanley from the Imperial College London and Dr. Lukas Y. Wick from the UFZ in Leipzig, both experts in microbial interactions. Finally, the results gained in the lab will be upscaled to the ecosystem-level by a field experiment exploiting a glacier in Greenland.
The expertise in high-resolution analysis of soil and overall infrastructure found at the GFZ and Section 3.5 provide an excellent environment for the project. Dr. Keuschnig's research will contribute to the broader understanding of fungal-bacterial interactions and their role in soil ecosystem functioning and will inform pressing environmental questions related to soil health and quality.