Thomas Bosch

Thomas Bosch

Kiel, Germany

René Touraine Lecture
Title: The Holobiont Imperative:  Towards an holistic understanding of complex diseases
Date: Thursday 23 September 2021, 11.40 – 12.05

Thomas Bosch studied biology at the University of Munich, Germany, and Swansea, United Kingdom and earned his doctorate in 1986. Since 2000, Bosch has been a professor of general zoology at Kiel University. From 2010 to 2013, he served as vice president of Kiel University. Since 2013 Thomas Bosch is heading the interdisciplinary research center “Kiel Life Science” (KLS). He is also principal investigator and coordinator of the Collaborative Research Center (CRC/SFB 1182) “Origin and Function of Metaorganisms” which addresses the relatively newly recognized role of multi-organismic interactions for health and disease. Bosch is the recipient of numerous awards including in 2004 an honorary doctorate degree from St. Petersburg State University, Russia.

Research statement

Individuals are not solitary, homogenous entities but consist of complex communities of many species that likely evolved during a billion years of coexistence. Holobionts (hosts and their microbes) and hologenomes (all genomes of the holobiont) are multipartite entities that result from ecological, evolutionary and genetic processes. Any disturbance within the complex community of host and microbial cells has drastic consequences for the wellbeing of the individual member of this association. Health, therefore, is fundamental multi-organismal. The Bosch lab studies the intricate interactions within holobionts in a simple animal model, the non-senescent cnidarian Hydra. The newfound awareness of the dependency of phenotypes on other species and environmental conditions presents additional layers of complexity for the life sciences including medicine and evolutionary theory; and raises many questions that are currently addressed in our lab.

Selected References

Rathje K, Mortzfeld B, Hoeppner MP, Taubenheim J, Bosch TCG, Klimovich A (2020) Dynamic interactions within the host-associated microbiota cause tumor formation in the basal metazoan Hydra. PLOS Pathogen, in press
Finlay BB, Blaser MJ, Bosch TCG, Dominguez-Bello MG, Elinav E, McFall-Ngai M, Melby MK, Muehlmann SR, Sansonetti PJ (2020) Are non-communicable diseases communicable? Science 367, 250-251
Mortzfeld BM, Taubenheim J, Klimovich AV, Fraune S, Rosenstiel P, Bosch TCG (2019). Temperature and insulin signaling regulate body size in Hydra by the Wnt and TGF-beta pathways. Nature Comm. 10(1):3257
Sieber M, Pita L, Weiland-Bräuer N, Dirksen P, Wang J, Mortzfeld B, Franzenburg S, Schmitz RA, Baines JF, Fraune S, Hentschel U, Schulenburg H, Bosch TCG, and Traulsen A (2019): Neutrality in the Metaorganism. PLoS Biology 17(6):e300029
Lachnit T, Bosch T, Deines P (2019) Exposure of the host-associated microbiome to nutrient-rich conditions may lead to dysbiosis and disease development – an evolutionary perspective. mBio, 10(3). pii: e00355-19.
T Rees, TCG Bosch, Douglas AE (2018) How the Microbiome Challenges our Concept of Self. PLoS Biology Feb 9; 16(2):e2005358.
Hamada M, Schröder K, Bathia J, Kürn U, Fraune S, Khalturina M, Khalturin K, Shinzato C,
Satoh N, Bosch TCG (2018) Metabolic co-dependence drives the evolutionarily ancient Hydra–Chlorella symbiosis. eLife 7:e35122

Klimovich AV and Bosch TCG (2018), Rethinking the Role of the Nervous System: Lessons from the Hydra Holobiont. BioEssays. doi:10.1002/bies.201800060

Augustin R, K Schröder, AP Murillo Rincón, S Fraune, F Anton-Erxleben, E-M Herbst, J Wittlieb1, M Schwentner, J Grötzinger, TM Wassenaar, TCG Bosch (2017) A secreted antibacterial neuropeptide shapes the microbiome in Hydra. Nature Comm., 8(1):698

Bosch TCG and D Miller (2016): The Holobiont Imperative – from an early metazoan´s eye view. Springer book. Springer New York.

Bosch TCG (2014) Rethinking the role of immunity: lessons from Hydra. Trends in Immunology, Volume 35, Issue 10, Pages 495–502