Dr. Sabine Podmirseg is a lecturer and researcher in the Institute of Microbiology at the University of Innsbruk, Tyrol, Austria. It is also at the University of Innsbruck that she completed her PhD in Microbiology in 2011.
Sabine’s current research focuses on microbial consortia involved in organic waste treatment processes. In this field, anammox bacteria (involved in wastewater treatment) and the biogas process are her two particular areas of focus.
In 2010, Sabine attended the Special Interest Group Meeting on anaerobic fungi at the IMC 9 conference in Edinburgh. Not only did she get in touch with key players in the field of anaerobic fungi there, but she also discovered her passion for this unusual group of fungi. A passion that has not left her since.
Sabine’s first international anaerobic fungal project, together with the Czech Academy of Sciences (IAPG) and researcher Dr. Kateřina Fliegerová, set the basis for the establishment of anaerobic fungal research at her institute. A second project investigated the potential of anaerobic fungi to improve lignocellulosic biomass breakdown during biomethanation. During this project, she was a guest scientist at IAPG and in Gareth Griffith’s lab at IBERS in Aberystwyth University, UK. At IBERS, she assisted with the description of the genus Buwchfawromyces and deepened her anaerobic fungal knowledge base further.
Sabine is now leading the international research consortium “HiPoAF”. The team, which involves 30 researchers, is investigating several areas including:
- the establishment of new, and optimization of existing, molecular detection techniques,
- the syntrophic interactions and habitat distribution of anaerobic fungi
- optimizing handling- and cultivation techniques for anaerobic fungi.
Within HiPoAF, Sabine’s research is mainly focused on molecular detection tools to study the diversity of anaerobic fungi and their associated microorganisms. This also involves special techniques to visualize anaerobic fungi in environmental samples.
At the time of writing this article, Sabine has put the microscope briefly aside in order to deepen her parenting skills following the birth of her second daughter. Before long though she will be diving back into her research on anaerobic fungi.