The Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science (CeMESS) is dedicated to conducting excellent research at an internationally leading level. Researchers at CeMESS develop cutting-edge methods for structure-function analyses of microbial communities in environmental and medical systems. 

We perform functional microbiome research to obtain a comprehensive understanding of host-microbe interactions, which also offers exciting opportunities for prophylaxis, diagnosis and treatment of many diseases.

We investigate the role of microbial communities for the functioning of complex ecological systems as well as the impact of human activities on environmental systems in a changing world. This understanding can be used to solve some of the most pressing environmental and medical problems of today and tomorrow.

Established by the University of Vienna in 2019 as an organisational unit with full faculty status, CeMESS addresses key scientific disciplines of the 21st century with enormous potential for synergy across disciplines.


CeMESS consists of four research divisions:



The Division of Computational Systems Biology is a group of bioinformaticians and computational biologists. CUBE focuses on understanding biological systems, ranging from single species to multi-species systems and ecosystems. The research is based on data from large-scale bioanalytical methods. CUBE develops, improves and applies computational methods for the interpretation of molecular information in biology. Researchers at CUBE establish and analyse quantitative mathematical models.

The Division of Microbial Ecology seeks to understand the role of microorganisms in Earth’s nutrient cycles and as symbionts of other organisms. Researchers at DOME study the biodiversity, the ecology, and the evolutionary history of microbes.  Research at DOME ranges from ecophysiology, genomics, and evolution of key microorganisms to interactions of microbes among themselves and with eukaryotes, including the complex microbiomes of humans and animals.

The Division of Environmental Geosciences investigates key processes controlling the natural environment and anthropogenic impacts. Researchers at EDGE combine field observations with experimental work. EDGE accepts the challenges posed by the release of known and emerging pollutants and the need to understand their impact on soils, ground and surface waters by process-based and mechanistic research.

The Division of Terrestrial Ecosystem Research aims to advance the fundamental understanding of how plants and soil microorganisms respond to and in turn shape their abiotic and biotic environment. Researchers at TER address pressing environmental issues, such as the impact of climate change on ecosystem functioning and the role of soils in the global carbon cycle and in food security.