SHUG doctoral award goes to Christoph Giez

Dr Christoph Giez recently received the doctoral prize of 3000 euros from the Schleswig-Holstein Universitätsgesellschaft (SHUG). The prize is awarded each year to two early career scientist who have distinguished themselves through special achievements in their research work.

His doctoral thesis, which he completed in the Cell and Developmental Biology group of Professor Thomas Bosch at the Zoological Institute of Kiel University, deals with the connections between the neural network and the control of behaviour in the freshwater polyp Hydra.

Giez was able to gain a number of significant insights: For the first time, he was able to provide mechanistic evidence that a microbiome with reduced diversity influences the activity of certain nerve cells and thus impairs the feeding behaviour of Hydra. He demonstrated that the spontaneous rhythmic contractions of the body wall have an effect on the microbiome composition and that an experimentally reduced frequency of these movements causes a change in the microbial species composition. Giez also discovered that the nervous system can ‘sense’ the internal metabolic state of the hydra and that the nervous system of the animals changes its activity depending on the state of satiety. Using a simple model organism as an example, he thus gained significant new insights into the interaction between the microbiome, nervous system and behaviour.

During his doctoral studies, Christoph Giez was supported in particular by the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1182 “Origin and Function of Metaorganisms” and, together with colleagues, made important contributions to research into host-microbiota interactions with his work in the Bosch lab. After successfully completing his doctoral studies at Kiel University, Giez will continue his scientific career at the renowned Francis Crick Institute in London.

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