Specialisation Molecular Development and Gene Regulation

This specialisation focuses on the different development mechanisms of organisms and the gene regulations which play a role.

What will you learn?

For example, you learn to look at hormonal and enzymatic regulation in relation to diseases at the molecular level. You gain knowledge on microscopic techniques and skills and learn to make protein interactions in living cells visible for example. You can choose to focus on the regulation of the immune system at the molecular level.

Or you look at the mechanisms involved in the development of plants or animals. You can think of embryonic development in animals, flower induction in plants or cell differentiation. You can also research the various interactions between virus and host surveys.


In this specialisation you follow the course Control of cellular processes and Cell differentiation (MOB). In this course  the cell strategy to regulate cell processes stands central. In addition you choose from the following courses:

  • Genomics (ABG) in which the structure and function of genomes stands central;
  • Molecular regulation of health and disease (HAP) in which the mechanisms that play a central role in the healthy functioning of humans and animals are discussed;
  • Fundamental and applied virology (VIR) in which interactions between virus and host play a role and an introduction to virology, the biodiversity and spreading of virusses is discussed ;
  • Regulation of plant development (MOB) in which molecular and cell biological aspects of plant development are the main focus point;
  • Immunotechnology (CBI) in which immunological mechanisms at the molecular and cellular level are addressed;
  • Developmental biology of animals (EZO) in which you learn about cellular, molecular and physical mechanisms of morphogenetic processes that play a role in the physical development of animals.    

Thesis and internship

In the second year you will start your own research (thesis) at one of the following chair groups:

You can find examples of thesis subjects at the bottom of this page.

In the second half of your second year you will go on an internship. This can be a project at a company or organization outside Wageningen University. Recently, students following this specialisation have done the follwing internships:

  • Cell biological research on (the fungus) basidiomycete ustilago maydis (Exeter University);
  • Uses of zinc-finger nucleases in tomato (Keygene).

Thesis examples

In the second year of the master's programme you will start your own research (thesis) at one of the chair groups. Beneath you will find examples of thesis subjects.

Chair group Biochemistry

  • ARF-control of extra-embryonic cell fate
  • Imaging of proetein interactions in the ARF-Aux/IAA transcription network
  • Very little is known about the mechanisms that specify individual cells, or how cells communicate to form an ordered pattern. In our laboratory,  we use transcriptomic, proteomic and microscopy approaches to investigate the initiation of the root meristem, the source of the root system of the plant.

Chair group Cellbiology

  • A differential role for corticosteroid receptors in neuroendocrine-immune interactions in carp
  • Development of immunity in sea bass: a study towards vaccination against pseudotuberculosis

Chair group Experimental zoology

  • Mechanisms of temporary adhesion in benthic animals
  • Postnatal development of articular cartilage

Chair group Human and animal physiology

  • Flavenoids as bioactive ingredients against cardiovascular diseases
  • Ientification of molecuar mechanisms underlying metabolic set-points

Chair group Host-microbe interactomics

  • Innate defence mechanisms in the small intestine
  • Role of surface proteins in virulence and pathogenesis of disease caused by Streptococcus suis

Chair group Molecular biology

  • Nod factor signal transduction in the Rhizobium-legume symbiosis
  • The role of the Arabidopsis Somatic Embryogenesis Receptor-like Kinase 1 (AtSERK1) gene in embryogenic competence

Chair group Plant cell biology

  • Cross-linkers and motors organize dynamic microtubules to form stable bipolar arrays in fission yeast
  • Intracellular organization: a prerequisite for root hair elongation and cell wall deposition

Chair group Plant physiology

  • The mechanisms and regulation of seed dormancy and germination
  • Genetical genomics to unravel regulation of plant development

Chair group Systems and synthetic biology

  • Improving the prediction of Pseudomonas putida mt-2 growth kinetics with the use of a gene expression regulation model of the TOL plasmid
  • Identification of modules in Aspergillus niger by gene co-expression network analysis

Chair group Toxicology

  • Detection of thyroid hormone receptor disruptors by a novel stable in vitro reporter gene assay
  • Effects of C60 nanopartcle exposure on earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus) and implications for population dynamics

Chair group Virology

  • Replication and maturation of viruses
  • ApuA, a multifunctional x-glucan-degrading enzyme of Streptococcus suis. mediates adhesion to porcine epithelium and mucus