This profile line encompasses the fields of microbiology and biodiversity. The tradition of microbiology research in Jena was established by Hans Knöll and carried over from the Central Institute of Microbiology and Experimental Therapy Jena (ZIMET) to the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology - Hans Knöll Institute (HKI), which works closely with the Institute of Microbiology and Jena University Hospital as well as the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology. Microbial communication, infection research and research into the fundamental principles and therapy of sepsis are the main thematic focuses. A link is also made to ecological research with work on the interactions of microorganisms with their environment including cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry. The development of microbial interactions over time are exploited with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. Development of techniques to address microbial interactions are exploited with the Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technology (IPHT) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF).

The term “ecology” was, in fact, born in Jena. With it, in 1866, Ernst Haeckel defined a new sub-discipline within biology which addresses the interactions between organisms and their environment. Research activities in this field have developed at an impressive rate over the last few years. At the heart of scientific interest in this field is the analysis of causes and effects of the loss of biodiversity, the interaction between geological and (micro)biological factors above and below the Earth’s surface as well as the influence of biodiversity on ecosystem functions.

The integrated development field of gerontology addresses research into biological aging processes as well as the resultant health-related and social effects.