Petras Lab

Modern mass spectrometry allows us to identify a wide range of metabolites in complex environments. While this enables us to catalog thousands of compounds, we still have little knowledge about the ecological relevance of most molecules.


The Functional Metabolomics Lab, led by Daniel Petras, combines a multidisciplinary approach at the interface of natural product research, mass-spectrometry-based metabolomics, and proteomics as well as chemical biology. The lab aims to systematically determine the influence of small molecules on complex microbial communities and to mine novel bioactive compounds.

In particular, by using native mass spectrometry, sequencing and laboratory-based microbiome model systems, Daniel Petras and his team investigate the molecular function of natural products in shaping the structure of microbial communities and the interactions with their hosts.

Dr. Daniel Petras

Daniel Petras received his diploma degree in Biotechnology in 2012 from the University of Applied Science Darmstadt after finishing his diploma thesis on the proteomic analysis of snake venoms in the groups of Stefan Hüttenhain in Darmstadt and Juan Calvete at CSIC IBV in Valencia.

For his PhD studies, Daniel worked in the lab of Roderich Suessmuth at the Technical University Berlin from 2012-2016, on the discovery, structure elucidation and biosynthesis of peptide toxins, including albicidins, a group of potent antimicrobial non-ribosomal peptides from sugarcane pathogen.

Daniel’s postdoctoral research from 2016 to 2021 in the groups of Pieter Dorrestein, Lihini Aluwihare, and Kim Prather at the University of California San Diego focused on large scale environmental metabolomics of marine microbial communities and plant-microbe interactions.

In 2021 Daniel launched the Functional Metabolomics Lab in the Cluster of Excellence - CMFI at the University of Tübingen as an independent Junior Research Group. The work of his lab focuses on the development and application of mass spectrometry and sequencing-based methods to visualize and functionally assess the chemical exchange within microbial communities in the environment, host, and synthetic model systems.