As a youngster I started programming on the ancient computers in the eighties. I studied biology at the University of Groningen (RUG), obtained my PhD also at the RUG on molecular biology of Gram-positive bacteria and found myself wondering what to do next. The molecular biology of bacteria as a work-field always drew me, but I could not satisfy my computational needs and needs for a broader view in biology. In 2002 I started working as a Post-Doc at the laboratory of Prof. Kuipers (Molecular Genetics; RUG) in the early days of microarrays and bioinformatics. The amazing speed at which the high-throughput experimental biology and bioinformatics develop and the unprecedented view on microbial metabolism and regulation soon drew my attention and firmly hold me in their grip ever since.
After Post-Docs at the RUG and the University of Greifswald (Germany) I started my job at NIZO where I work as senior scientist bioinformatics and leader of the bioinformatics group. In addition, I am successor of Prof. Roland Siezen and leader of the Bacterial Genomics group (CMBI; Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre). I work for 70% of my time as bioinformatics coordinator at the TI food and nutrition (TIFN), and the remainder of my time on contract research projects with various companies. My job is to keep track of the bioinformatics developments in the fermentation, health and safety themes and actively dissiminate this expertise in NIZO.
Research in the CMBI and NIZO groups is strongly linked to projects at TIFN, NIZO, the Kluyver Center for Genomics of Industrial Fermentations, the Netherlands Bioinformatics Centre (NBIC), and academic collaborations. Focus is on the bioinformatics analysis of ~omics data of (consortia of) bacteria in the context of industrial fermentations, health and safety. Consortia of bacteria are omnipresent and receive increasing interest from the academic and industrial points of view. Studying consortia of microorganisms involves many expertises, from molecular biology, IT, statistics, mathematics to bioinformatics. This allows me to "Lego" together all required expertise present in my groups and network. To facilitate knowledge sharing and expedite development of bioinformatics of consortia of bacteria, I started in early 2011 as principle investigator the new NBIC metagenomics taskforce. My research, and development of bioinformatics tools that work also for wet-lab biologists, involves (meta)genome sequencing and assembly, annotation, comparative genomics, RNA-seq, transcriptomics and multivariate analysis of ~omics datasets, all in relation to exploration and exploitation of the enormous microbial diversity that is found in Nature.
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