Dr. Cristina Moraru



Research interests and projects

I and my students are investigating viruses infecting the marine members of the Rhodobacteraceae family. Because their hosts are also known under the operational term “Roseobacter group”, their viruses are called roseophages. We are interested both in strictly lytic and in temperate roseophages.

I’m coordinating several projects currently:

  • Cobaviruses – a new roseophage group distributed in highly productive marine regions and is potentially infecting protest associated roseobacters.
  • Temperate viruses in Rhodobacteraceae genomes – from bioinformatics predictions to determination of factors inducing the lytic cycles, to life style characterization.
  • Optimization of protocols (e.g. direct-geneFISH) for the characterization of phage life cycles and phage-host interactions at single cell level, both in pure cultures and in environment.
  • Development of genePROBER, a web-service dedicated in assisting the design of polynucleotides probes necessary for phageFISH and direct-geneFISH.

Students interesting in learn more about viruses are welcome to join one of my projects, either in the context of a research project or of a master thesis. The students will have the opportunity to learn about virus enrichment and isolation, genome sequencing and annotation, sequence database search and metagenomics, programming in R language and characterization of phage life cycles under different environmental conditions using a combination of one step infection curves and direct-geneFISH.

Education and positions

Academic education


Bachelor of Biology University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania


Master of Biology, International Max Planck Research School for Marine Microbiology (IMPRES-MARMIC), Bremen, Germany

Academic degrees


2010, University of Bremen, Germany (supervisor: Prof. Rudolf Amann, PD Bernhard Fuchs)


2010-2012  Postdoctoral researcher

Molecular Ecology Department, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen, Germany. Principal Investigator - Rudolf Amann.

2012-2015  Marie Curie Postdoctoral researcher

Laboratory of Extremophiles, Centro de Astrobiologia, Madrid, Spain. This period included the maternity leave.

2015-present  Research Associate


Barrero-Canosa J, Moraru C*, Zeugner L, Fuchs B, Amann R* (2017). Direct-gene-FISH: a simplified protocol for the simultaneous detection and quantification of genes and rRNA in microorganisms. Environ Microbiol 19: 70-82. *corresponding authors.

Moraru C. and Allers E. (2014) Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for the identification and quantification of microorganisms, in Skovhus, T.L., Caffrey, S., and Hubert, C.R.J.. Molecular Methods and Applications in Microbiology (Norfolk, UK: Caister Academic Press).

Allers, E*., Moraru, C.*, Duhaime, M.B., Beneze, E., Solonenko, N., Canosa, J.B., Amann, R., and Sullivan, M.B. (2013). Single-cell and population level viral infection dynamics revealed by phageFISH, a method to visualize intracellular and free viruses. Environ Microbiol 15: 2306-2318. * Authors contributed equally to the work in this study.

Amann R, Moraru C (2012) Two decades of fluorescence in situ hybridization in systematic and applied microbiology . Syst Appl Microbiol 35/8 (SI):  483-484

Moraru, C., and Amann, R. (2012) Crystal ball: Fluorescence in situ hybridization in the age of super-resolution microscopy. Syst Appl Microbiol 35: 549-552.

Lenk, S., Moraru, C., Hahnke, S., Arnds, J., Richter, M., Kube, M., Reinhardt, R., Brinkhoff, T., Harder, J., Amann, R., and Musmann, M. (2012) Roseobacter clade bacteria are abundant in coastal sediments and encode a novel combination of sulfur oxidation genes. ISME J 6: 2178-2187.

Moraru, C., Moraru, G., Fuchs, B.M., and Amann, R. (2011) Concepts and software for a rational design of polynucleotide probes. Environ. Microbiol. Reports, 3: 69-78.

Petersen, J.M., Zielinski, F.U., Pape, T., Seifert, R., Moraru, C., Amann, R., Hourdez, S., Girguis, P.R., Wankel, S.D., Barbe, V., Pelletier, E., Fink, D., Borowski, C., Bach, W., and Dubilier, N. (2011) Hydrogen is an energy source for hydrothermal vent symbioses. Nature 476: 176-180.

Moraru, C., Lam, P., Fuchs, B.M., Kuypers, M.M.M. and Amann, R. (2010) GeneFISH – an in situ technique for linking gene presence and cell identity in environmental microorganisms. Environ. Microbiol. 12: 3057-3073.

Ploug H, Musat N, adam B, Moraru C, Lavik G, Vagner T, Bergmann B, Kuypers MMM (2010) Carbon and nitrogen fluxes associated with the cyanobacterium Aphanizomenon sp. in the Baltic Sea. ISME J 9: 1215-1223.



University of Oldenburg
Institute for Chemistry and Biology
of the Marine Environment (ICBM)
Biology of geological processes
26111 Oldenburg

E-Mail: liliana.cristina.moraru[at]uol.de
Tel.: +49 - 441 - 798 - 3416