Søren Johannes Sørensen

Søren Johannes Sørensen


I am currently team leader for a group of 12 scientists, 11 phd’s, three technicians and ten master students applying molecular techniques in microbial ecological studies. My research focuses on social interactions in microbial populations. My group’s studies evaluate the extent of genetic flow within natural communities and their response to environmental perturbations.

The section houses state of the art culture independent experimental infrastructure that enables us to examine how microbes interact at a scale that is relevant for such small organisms and to examine and identify the roles of the individual species that contribute to these interactions.

We investigate how microbes work together in in their natural state such as biofilms and the effect this has on microbial communities in in vivo systems such as human or animal gut, soil, or phase change communities. These are related to our in vitro model systems such as our bioflux biofilm system where we can evaluate our findings and examine phenomenon such as horizontal gene transfer or emergent community properties and evolutionary strategies. To do so we use techniques such as high throughput sequencing, flow cytometry and ultra-high resolution bioimaging or confocal microscopy and microbial reporter systems.

The pioneering work of the section has had been recognized for its impact in diverse areas in which microbial interactions are critical. These include, Soil biodiversity and bioremediation, the role of horizontal gene transfer, human disease progression, the effects of species diversity in plant animal and environmental microbiomes, how microbes interact in evolutionary strategies and the significance of cooperation verses antagonism in microbial systems.

Working in these areas necessitates close collaboration with international scientists from around the world that come to the section and to whom members of the section visit in scientific exchange programs. They span all corners of the globe including Dr. Duncan Veal, Macquarie University, Sydney Australia, Prof A. Spormann, Stanford University, Prof. S. Kjelleberg, University of NSW; Prof. M. Schloter, Helmholtz Zentrum München; and Prof. Md Hans Bisgaard COPSAC back here in Denmark.

These collaborations have helped more than 20 postdocs and 30 past Ph.D. fellows follow their career path both here and around the world to obtain successful positions in both academia and research.


1989-1992           Ph.D. at Faculty of Natural Science, University of Copenhagen

1980-1988           M.Sc in Molecular Ecology (Mark: 13)


Positions held

2005 – ongoing   Professor at Institute of Biology, University of Copenhagen

2002                   2 Months visiting scientist at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

2000 – 2004        Honourees Associate Lecturer at School of Biology Macquarie University, Australia

1999 – 2000        7 MTh’s visiting scientist at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

1997 – 2004        Associated professor at Dept. General Microbiology, University of Copenhagen

1993 – 1994        6 MTh’s visiting scientist at EPA's Environmental Research Laboratory, Florida, USA

1992 – 1996        Assistant professor at Dept. General Microbiology, University of Copenhagen

1989 – 1990        10 MTh’s visiting scientist at EPA's Environmental Research Laboratory, Florida, USA


Review boards and committees (last five years)

2009 – ongoing   Member of the Consulting Scientific Committee (FOKO) in the Danish Centre for Advanced Food Studies

2006 – ongoing   Member of the Institute of Biology’s research committee

2006 – ongoing   Deputy at the Faculty of Science’s research committee

2006                    International organizing committee for 9th International Symposium on Metal Ions in Biology and Medicine Lisbon

2002 – ongoing   Scientific evaluator for Research Council in several European countries

2001 – ongoing   Scientific member in Microbiology of The Environmental Appeal Board

2000 – ongoing   Scientific evaluator for the Natural Environment Research Council - UK

1999 – 2002        International co-ordinator of COST831 WorkGroup IV

1998 – 2002        Danish national delegate of COST831

1992 – ongoing   Referee at all major journals within Microbiology



Peer reviewed articles:                             >260                          

Peer reviewed book chapters:                    15

Public outreach activities:                            5

Scientific oral presentations:                  >100

(approx. 50% as invited speaker)

H-index:                                                 60



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