Reimar Lüst Lecture 2015

Friday, 12 June 2015

3:00 p.m.   Social and Predictive Computing To Map Our Hidden Molecular World by Mass Spectrometry
Pieter Dorrestein, San Diego, USA
4:30 p.m.  Reception

Venue: Lecture Hall • Abbe Centre Beutenberg • Hans-Knöll-Straße 1 • 07745 Jena

Pieter C. Dorrestein
is an associate professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of California in San Diego, USA, and a member of the Moores Cancer Center and Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine.

Within different ecological habitats, organisms have evolved chemistries to interact with their neighboring organisms. In effect these chemistries drive niche differentiation at the micro as well as macro scale. The specialized metabolites drive population dynamics (e.g. insects), balance of health and disease within hosts (e.g. plants, humans), and niche specific colonization (e.g. bacterial communities). In principle, mass spectrometry is a unique detection tool to assist in our functional understanding of the roles of specialized metabolites in nature. Right now it is difficult to navigate molecular information and a Google-type query of data should become possible. We therefore have build a social networking site for the analysis of molecular information. Although not published, the site has 2600 users from 61 countries since its launch in April 2014. More than half of the users used the site more than 30 times. It is the only place where users can organize, visualize and socially curate the vast amounts of molecular information from natural samples that modern mass spectrometers provide. We will highlight how this infrastructure is used to understand microbe-microbe interactions (bacteria-bacteria and bacteria-fungal interactions), the chemistry of microbiome niches (insect, lichen, or human) and changes in host chemistries upon infections (e.g. coral, human or plant).

The Reimar Lüst Lecture series honors the achievements of astrophysicist, science manager and former president of the Max Planck Society, Reimar Lüst.
Reimar Lüst received his PhD from Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker in 1951. After several research stays at renowned universities in the USA, he was appointed director at the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics in Munich and became a scientific member of the Max Planck Society in 1960. From 1963, he was head of the Department of Extraterrestrial Physics, which later became the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching. His research achievements at the time laid the foundations for a successful space science in Germany. He was involved in the establishment of the European Space Research Organisation ESRO and was ESRO’s director and, from 1968 until 1970, vice president. In 1972, he took over the presidency of the Max Planck Society and stayed in this position for 12 years. After six years as general director of the European Space Agency ESA, he was president of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation from 1989 until 1999. Since 1992, he holds a professorship at the University of Hamburg.