Nika Pende

University of Vienna, Archaea Biology and Ecogenomics Unit

Email nikapende[at]
Project Name DivDynA
Publication Page
Field of research Prokaryotic cell biology
Keywords Archaea | methanogens | cell growth and division | evolution

My main research focus is prokaryotic cell biology, the cellular adaptations to various lifestyles and the evolutionary history of prokaryotes. Originally, I studied ecology with an emphasis on marine biology at the University of Vienna. Always fascinated by symbioses, I studied the cell division and growth modes of bacteria that are attached to the surface of marine nematodes as a master’s student supervised by Ao. Prof. Dr. S. Bulgheresi. I received the uni:docs fellowship from the University of Vienna to continue this work during my PhD. The results obtained from the work on the ecotsymbionts of these nematodes showed that even the fundamental processes of growth and division can be repositioned as a consequence of a symbiotic lifestyle without replacing the underlying key molecular mechanisms. After my thesis, I obtained the Pasteur-Roux-Cantarini fellowship from the Institut Pasteur in Paris and joined the group of Prof. Simonetta Gribaldo, with a project focused on cell growth and division in human-associated archaea. I have been studying the mechanisms underlying cell growth and division of pseudo-peptidoglycan bearing, methanogenic archaea through a combination of bioinformatic, phylogenetic, and experimental approaches. The Elise Richter grant allows me to return to the University of Vienna to continue elucidating important players in archaeal cytokinesis, thereby paving the way for future research in the emerging field of archaeal cell biology.