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Molecular Biology and Microbial Food Safety

Group leader Stanley Brul

The mission of the 'Molecular Biology and Microbial Food Safety' group is to understand the interaction of microbes and their environment. We focus on microbiomes in the human gut and oral cavity in collaboration with our Amsterdam partners the Amsterdam UMC (location AMC) and ACTA. We study the gut microbiome in the context of Inflammatory Bowl disorders and the development of Depression whereas the oral microbiome is linked to Preventitive Dentistry.

An overriding issue in microbiome research is the presence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The group studies in particular de novo antibiotic resistance development as well as horizontal gene transfer in projects with the Dutch Food Safety Authority. As microbiomes are composed of many spore forming bacteria our fundamental knowledge deAn overriding issue in microbiome research is the presence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The group studies in particular de novo antibiotic resistance development as well as horizontal gene transfer in projects with the Dutch Food Safety Authority. As microbiomes are composed of many spore forming bacteria our fundamental knowledge development on spore formation and spore germination is deployed here too while we continue to focus in this area on the analysis of germinant receptors in germinosomes and the protein composition of spores. Finally the emerging role of fungi, in particular Candida species, is being addressed. We develop our insights with partners in SILS (Microbiology, Mass Spectrometry of Biomolecules, Omics and Advanced Microscopy) and partners outside (Food and pharma industry, TNO, NVWA, Amsterdam UMC). The group uses several in vivo modelsystems such as Caenorhabditis elegans.

Stress response in microbial systems

An overriding issue in biology is stress response to environmental challenge. We study these responses at the level of cellular bioenergetics including pH homeostasis and in the context of challenges with antimicrobials and antibiotics. As modelorganisms Escherichia coli (antibiotic resistance in the food chain), Bacillus subtilis (germination mechanisms and antimicrobial resistance in food, microbiomes humans), as well as strains of Candida albicans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae (microbiomes in humans) are used. Spin-off involves industrial biotechnology where microbiome knowledge is deployed to promote fermentation in microbial consortia for the generation of biomaterial or bioactive compounds. In our studies we address the hierarchy in decision making focussing on genome, transcript and proteome analyses as well as quantitative physiology.