Chemical Microbiology

Group leader: Ling Ding

Secondary metabolites play important roles in the natural microbial world. Many of those small molecules probably function as “languages” and “weapons” for microbial communications. They could be attractants or repellants. They could be competitive “weapons”, such as toxins and antibiotics. They also have regulation effects on producers themselves to regulate their morphology and secondary metabolites. For many microbial pathogens, secondary metabolites act as virulence factors. However, despite our understanding of some of their functions, most natural functions of these secondary metabolites are unknown.

Man-kind has used these molecules for our benefits and many has medicinal use as antibiotics, anticancer agents and other drugs that have revolutionized medicine and made our modern way of life possible.

The purpose of our work is to investigate the function of microbial secondary metabolites and their potential use. We combine metabolomics, microbiology and genetics in our work.

  1. Profiling secondary metabolites using modern metabolomics and genomics
  2. Isolation of natural products from hitherto underexploited niches, e.g. marine microbes, plant endophytes and those “unculturables”.
  3. Investigation of natural products biosynthesis
  4. Understanding natural roles of microbial natural products

We provide world-class education and training for graduates at all levels and provide new technologies and solutions for natural product research. The DTU Metabolomics Core is equipped with several high-resolution mass spectrometers, and DTU NMR Center is equipped with two 800 MHz NMR forming a strong base for our natural product research. We treasure collaborations with both academic and industrial partners.

Are you also keen on natural product research? You are welcome to join our new research group. If you are interested in joining us as a PhD or postdoc, please contact me and take a look at the following funding possibilities:


Ling Ding
Associate Professor
DTU Bioengineering