Manuel Kleiner joined NC State in August 2017 as a Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program cluster hire in Microbiomes and Complex Microbial Communities. Kleiner, an assistant professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, studies the metabolism, physiology, and evolutionary ecology of microbial symbioses and uncultured microorganisms. He also develops new mass spectrometry-based methods (metaproteomics) to characterize the physiology and metabolism of large numbers of species in complex microbial communities.
Kleiner obtained his diploma in biology (master’s degree equivalent) in 2008 from the University of Greifswald, Germany. He received his Ph.D. from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, where he worked in the lab of Nicole Dubilier. In his dissertation research he used metagenomics, metaproteomics and single-cell imaging to understand how chemosynthetic marine animals can survive in nutrient limited habitats by relying on their bacterial symbionts for food production. For his discoveries of novel metabolic pathways in these symbionts and an animal that can feed on the poisonous gas carbon monoxide, he received the Friedrich Hirzebruch Ph.D. Thesis Prize for outstanding work in the fields of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Engineering from the German National Academic Foundation in 2012. As a guest faculty member in the lab of Lora Hooper at UT Southwestern Medical Center he worked from 2013 to 2014 on bacteriophages and their role in the intestinal microbiota of mammals. As a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Marc Strous at the University of Calgary, he developed novel metaproteomic approaches and applied them to microbial symbioses and phototrophic bioreactors.