Sami Ben Said

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In a world interconnected by biological, social, economic, and electrical networks, the creation of a model to describe systems followed by its analysis provides a glimpse of the complex behaviors that arise from the relatively simple interactions linking its members.

My experience navigating the complexities of biological networks coupled with my multidisciplinary background have prepared me to advance the field of environmental sciences through investigating and creating mathematical models of biological networks and analyzing their interactions and behavior.


Engineering modular microbial consortia

Microbes are omnipresent on our planet. In most environmental niche, myriads of micro-organisms are forced to interact as they share a common space and resources. The majority of microbial species are thus part of a community and most likely depend on one or more of its members in order to survive.

My research project aims at harvesting the benefits of microbial communities for potential biotechnological applications while using a new approach for their cultivation.

Microbial communities are cultured either as mixed-cultures (anaerobic or aerobic culture of sometimes unknown micro-organisms that may be conducted under septic conditions) or co-culture (anaerobic or aerobic culture of selected microbial strains under aseptic conditions), where the different members of the consortia are exposed to the same set of environmental conditions (pH, temperature, oxygen levels, nutrients,..) as they grow in a common medium.
Our idea consists in segregating the members of a community in separate bioreactors while allowing them to interact/communicate by connecting and controlling the fluxes between those chambers.

With this separation of processes, we aim to provide each microbial species with an optimal set of environmental conditions which would hopefully increase the productivity of the community.


Tel: +41 44 633 60 13


ETH Zurich

Umweltphysik Terrestrischer Syst.

Sami Ben Said

CHN E 33

Universitätstrasse 16

8092 Zürich


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Fri Jun 23 15:42:18 CEST 2017
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