Michael Kuhl

Michael Kuhl


I am trained in marine biology and microbial ecology but have broad interdisciplinary interests ranging from technicalities of sensor development, over a fascination of single cell microbiology and behaviour, to studies of microenvironmental controls and microbial interactions in aquatic communities and ecosystems, but also in medical biofilms and chronic infections. I enjoy working at the boundaries and interfaces of different scientific disciplines and implement sensor chemistry, photonics, 3D bioprinting and advanced imaging approaches in my research.

Microenvironmental Ecology and Symbiosis Research Group:
5 postdocs, 2 PhD students, 2 external PhD students (at University of Aveiro, Portugal and UTS), 1 technician, 1 technician student

Research interests:
Microenvironmental ecology of surface-associated microbial communities, aquatic plants and marine symbioses; Microsensor and imaging techniques for biogeochemical analysis of microenvironments, mass transfer and metabolic rates; Optical properties and photobiology of sediments, photosynthetic tissues and biofilms; Microbial behaviour and activity in gradient systems; 3D Bioprinting; Biophotonics.


BSc Biology study:
Marine Field Biology, Applied Marine Biology, Biochemistry
MSc Biology study: Arctic Biology; Advanced Bacteriology; Marine Biology; Marine Microbiology and Virology.
Bi-annual Ph.D. course: Microsensor Analysis in Environmental Science.
Annual Ph.D. course: Advanced Biofilm Course.

Experimental techniques:

Electrochemical and fiber-optic microsensors; Ratiometric and life-time based luminescence imaging of oxygen and pH; Variable chlorophyll fluorescence imaging; Confocal microscopy and light sheet microscopy; Microspectrometry and hyper-spectral imaging; 3D Bioprinting; Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT); Digital holotomographic microscopy; Planar and nano/micro particle-based chemical sensing; Cultivation.

Current projects
Photobiology of surface-associated microbial communities and symbioses.
Microbiology and biogeochemistry of microbial mats in hot springs (Yellowstone National Park, USA).
Marine symbiosis and coral bleaching (Great Barrier Reef, Australia).
Microscopic imaging of oxygen, pH and active chlorophyll fluorescence.
Optics and photobiology of photosynthetic biofilms, plant and animal tissues.
Hyper-spectral imaging of photosynthetic communities and tissues.
Microenvironment and microbiology of Ikka columns (Greenland).
Microenvironmental analysis of biofilms. 3D Bioprinting of living structures.
Biophotonics of corals and diatoms.
Microenvironment of macroalgae and seagrasses.
Oxidative stress in biofilms, corals and other symbioses.
Microenvironmental Ecology of chronic Infections.

Other activities
Member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters (2006-present).
Scientific cruise leader on the Galathea 3 expedition 2006 (Leg. Accra,Ghana-Cape Town, South Africa).
Associate editor of Environmental Microbiology, Biofilm and Frontiers of Marine Science - Coral Research; Member of the Faculty of 1000 /Biology/Environmental Microbiology

Institutional activities

Deputy head for research at the Department of Biology (2006-2015).

Other affiliations

(2010-2020) Adjunct professor, Climate Change Cluster, Universuty of Technology Sydney, Australia.

(2011-2015) Visiting professor, Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering, Nanyang technological University, Singapore.

Current funding:

2023-2025, Australian Research Council: “Functional dynamics of skeletal microbiota in healthy and bleached corals”
(ARC Discovery grant, 3 years, Co-PI, 3.5 million DKK)

2023, Leister Foundation: “Microbial Life in Greenland’s Hottest Ecosystems (MILE)”
(Participation in the Leister Southeast Greenland Expedition, August 2023, all costs covered by the foundation)

2022-2025, European Union:  Doctoral network on 3D fluorescence lifetime imaging and analysis, FLimagin3D (MSCA DN ITN grant, Co-PI and main supervisor for 1 PhD student, 2 million DKK)

2022, Ministry of Higher Education and Science: “Breathing Corals” (Grant for outreach on climate change effects on corals as an event during the Danish Science Festival 2022, PI, 0.63 million DKK)

2021, Carlsberg Foundation: “A 3D Holo-Tomographic Live Cell Imaging Microscope for Biophotonic and Photobiological Studies of Cells/Tissues” (Infrastructure grant, PI, 1.1 million DKK)

2020-2025 Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation: “Microenvironmental landscape ecology of coral holobionts”
(Investigator grant, 5 years, PI, 12.9 million DKK)

2020-2023, Australian Research Council: “Functional dynamics of skeletal microbiota in healthy and bleached corals”
(ARC Discovery grant, 3 years, Co-PI, 3.5 million DKK)

2018-2022, Independent Research Fund Denmark | Natural Sciences (FNU): “Ecophysiology of far-red light absorbing cyanobacteria” (PI, type-2 grant, 6.1 million DKK)

2018-2023, Independent Research Fund Denmark | Technical and Production Sciences (FTP): “Resolving chemical microenvironments of large microbes” (PI, Project type-1 grant, 2.5 million DKK)

Main supervisor/host for postdoctoral career grants:

2023-2025, Villum Foundation: “Imaging of temperature distributions over flow-exposed aquatic surfaces”
(Villum Experiment grant, 24 months, main host for Maria Mosshammer, 2 million DKK)

2023-2024, European Union: “MedCorP”
(Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship 24 months, main host for Walter Dellisanti, 1.5 million DKK)

2020-2022, Villum Foundation: “Solving the Carbon Paradox in Marine Plants”
(Villum Experiment Grant, 24 months, main host/mentor for Kasper E. Brodersen, 2 million DKK)

2020-2022, European Union: “Bio-inspired and bionic materials for enhanced photosynthesis (BEEP)”
(EU ITN Grant, PhD fellowship 36 months, Co-PI and main supervisor for Gabriel Ferreira, 2 million DKK)

Research output (1992-present):

A total of 329 publications (published or in press) from 1992-present, consisting of 304 papers in peer-reviewed journals, proceedings and books, 12 proceedings papers and reports, 3 edited e-books, and 10 popular science papers. Includes 2 Nature [IF>69], 1 Trends in Plant Science [IF>22], 1 Nature Climate Change [IF>21], 1 Trends in Ecology and Evolution [IF>20], 1 Advanced Functional Materials [IF>19], 1 Trends in Microbiology [IF>18], 1 Nature Communications [IF>17], 1 Biotechnology Advances [IF>17], 1 Microbiome [IF>16], 1 International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents [IF>15], 1 FEMS Microbiology Reviews [IF>15], 1 Science Advances [IF>14], 1 Water Research [IF>13], 1 Global Change Biology [IF>13], 2 PNAS [IF >12], 12 ISME Journal [IF>11], 2 Environmental Science & Technology [IF>11], 1 Journal of Membrane Science [IF>10], and 3 New Phytologist [IF>10] papers.

Web-of-Science (>13500 citations; H-index of 65), Google Scholar (>20400 citations; H-index of 79)

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