Assistant professor at Delft University of Technology.
I am fascinated by microbial life and its dazzling possibilities. It triggers me to grasp the underlying concepts and challenges, and to apply the resulting insight to exploit life and to harvest some of its benefits. My main areas of interest are interactions between cells, strains and species, and the development of high-throughput screening and selection systems. My research combines defined synthetic consortia, predictive models and laboratory experiments, to gain knowledge and insight that I use to improve biotechnological processes.
What attracted me to Delft University of Technology?
The above described challenges cannot be tackled by a single point of view, or by single researchers. Within the Industrial Microbiology section at the TU Delft I have the pleasure to work with an excellent and inspiring team consisting of my fellow PI’s, BSc-, MSc- and PhD-students, postdocs and technicians. I furthermore collaborate with scientists from inside and outside the Biotechnology Department of the TU Delft, to enable relevant, creative and novel research.
What is my most favorite project at this moment?
With a team of 12 tenure track assistant professors from the Department of Biotechnology, we are setting up a combined project around the theme “zero-emission biotechnology”. I very much enjoy the team-work and inter-disciplinary discussions and collaborations!
What are my fondest hopes for my research and teaching for the next few years?
I hope to enthuse and inspire students for science and to stimulate their critical thinking and independency, such that they can add value in their future work and projects.
For my research, I have two major aims. First, with a focus on the long term, I hope that my work will help us to understand and predict how microbial communities behave and evolve. In addition, on the shorter term, I hope that my projects can improve current biotechnological processes and make them more efficient and sustainable.
What one thing would I invent if I could?
The perfect screening and selection system for industrial biotechnology: high throughput, low volumes (i.e. cheap), sensitive and high-throughput measurements of the relevant strain characteristics, perfect mimicking of the large-scale heterogeneous process conditions, etc...
What would I like to explore / learn / do with other scientists?
I would like to collaborate with microfluidic experts, chemists with experience with surface-modifications, and enzyme-assay experts.
I offer expertise in screening and selection using water-in-oil emulsions, microbial flow cytometry and synthetic microbial consortia.