I am currently working on....
A number of different things! For biobased economy projects I’m working on developing more sustainable routes and processes for the production of succinic acid, beta-lactam antibiotics, and yeast strains and enzymes that can convert agricultural waste into bioethanol. I’m also developing entirely new toolboxes for fast and safe engineering of our preferred microbial host and enzyme systems. Lastly, at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands I’m involved in projects to develop new cell engineering methods to accelerate the discovery of natural products for – among other things – new antibiotics.
The aspect of my work that excites and inspires me the most is...
The special interest and expertise that it takes to engineer enzymes and microbial cell factories for the sustainable production of enzymes, food ingredients, antibiotics and many other (bio)chemicals. I find the coaching and teaching of how to safely deploy these technologies really important. It provides the next generation with knowledge that aids the development of world-class competences and networks within the field of industrial biotechnology – and ultimately to meet our current and future societal and business needs.
The breakthrough I would most like to see made in my field is...
The development and acceptance of genetic and biotechnologies that enable simpler, faster and more predictable engineering of biological systems. This will lead to the discovery of novel solutions to the big challenges that lie ahead for society, especially in terms of population growth, health, climate change, energy and food security and sustainable development.
Key areas of expertise:
- Strain development
- Metabolic engineering
- Societal aspects of Industrial Biotechnology (especially rDNA and GMM)
- M.Sc. Chemistry (cum laude), University of Leiden (the Netherlands)
- Ph.D. Physiology and Molecular Biology, University of Utrecht (the Netherlands)
I represent DSM externally at:
- University of Groningen – Honorary professor in Cell Engineering and Synthetic Biology
- World Council on Industrial Biotechnology
- International Advisory Board of GIM (Genetics of Industrial Microorganisms)
- SBE AIChE Metabolic Engineering Conferences
- SynBERC (Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center, USA)
Delft, the Netherlands