Expertise Group Leader Fermentation
Fermentation based processes are widespread in the food and pharmaceutical industry, delivering a wide range of products ranging from cheese to drugs. Due to the complex nature of living organisms these processes are not always easy to understand and control. Important characteristics for industrial purposes are good reproducibility and cost efficiency. With our research we have been able to help many customers to improve their processes but I am convinced that new technological possibilities will allow further optimisations.
The focus of my work since my PhD at Wageningen University has been on the behaviour of lactic acid bacteria in a dairy environment, which I investigate using molecular tools, -omics technologies and evolutionary engineering. I have developed protocols for high-throughput, in-product screening and for the selection of organisms with increased biomass yield. Currently I am also project leader at the Top Institute Food and Nutrition and I hold a part-time position as an assistant professor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. There I work on microdroplet based technologies to increase the product yield in fermentation based processes. My background is instrumental in my current position at NIZO, where we try to help our customers to select or develop new strains or optimise their process conditions.
I am fascinated by the technological developments in my field over the past decade (including high throughput screening, next generation sequencing and evolutionary engineering) and driven to translate this knowledge to improve industrial fermentation processes.