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College of Computing and Mathematics


Information & Computer Science Department


Presents an Online Seminar


"The analysis of genetic dark matter in the genomes of cyanobacteria reveals energy-related regulatory RNAs and small proteins"



Date: Wednesday, 9th November 2022

Time:  10:00 am – 10:40 am

Location: Online via Zoom (Zoom ID: 87181422523    PW: 188654)



Dr. Wolfgang Hess,


Genetics and Experimental Bioinformatics Department

University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany



Cyanobacteria are the only prokaryotes that utilize solar energy to synthesize organic molecules, i.e. to perform oxygenic photosynthesis. Therefore, they are at the center of analyses targeting biological energy conversion for biotechnology or studying their ecological relevance.

We are aiming at the identification of so-called genetic dark matter: genomic regions encoding entirely unknown products. Using newly developed biocomputational and experimental approaches we identified hundreds of candidate genes for novel, regulatory small RNAs and for small proteins that exist even in the small and compact genomes of unicellular cyanobacteria such as Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. I will present several examples that show that these small RNA and protein molecules have impressive functions especially in governing the energy metabolism.


Short bio of presenter:

Prof. Hess studied biology at the Universities of Rostock and Berlin in Germany, and received his Ph.D. in Genetics from the Humboldt-University Berlin in 1990. He received his habilitation from the same university in 1999 in the same field. Supported by an EMBO grant he worked as post-doctoral fellow at the Friedrich-Miescher-Institute in Basel, Switzerland, with support from a European Capital and Mobility fellowship at the CNRS Institute for Oceanography in Roscoff, France and with support from the Human Frontiers and Science Program as visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, U.S. In 2003 to 2004 he was the funding director of the Ocean Genome Legacy Foundation, a spin-off from New England Biolabs, in Beverly, U.S.

He was appointed as professor for Experimental Bioinformatics at the University of Freiburg from 2004 till 2008 and after declining an offer for a full professorship at the University of Greifswald in 2008, he became appointed as full professor for Genetics and Experimental Bioinformatics at the University of Freiburg. His main research focus is RNA biology, post-transcriptional regulation and microbial systems biology, with a focus on cyanobacteria. Further research interests include native CRISPR-Cas systems and the study of marine microbial populations. Since the year 2010 he is the director of the Institute of Biology 3 at the Faculty of Biology at the University of Freiburg.


All faculty, researchers and graduate students are invited to attend.


Information & Computer Science Department, College of Computing and Mathematics

Telephone: +966 (13) 860 2175, Email:, Website:


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09 Nov 2022


10:00 AM to 10:40 AM