Molecular microbiologist, studying the interactions between bacteria and their environment.
I studied biology at the University of Groningen (NL), followed by a PhD on heterologous protein production and secretion by Bacillus subtilus at the same university. During a postdoc at the Dove Marine Laboratory, Newcastle University (UK), I studied biofilm formation and dispersal by marine Bacillus species, funded by an EU Marie Curie fellowship. I returned to the Netherlands to work on biofilms of gram-positive pathogens and their interactions with the human and bovine immune systems, at the UMC Utrecht. For part of this work I was awarded the KNAW "Van Leeuwenhoek Award".
In 2014 I switched host organism, and joined Wageningen University to study the interactions of bacterial pathogens with their plant hosts. Recently, I moved back to the marine environment. My current focus is on the interactions between marine hosts and their microbes. Projects include bacteria in shellfish that produce tetrodotoxin (TTX), the effect of carbon dioxide on bacterial biofilms involved in ship hull fouling, and the effects of the microbiome on the germination and outgrowth of seagrasses.
I have a passion for marine biology and especially crabs. In 2000 I discovered a new species of crab in the Netherlands, Hemigrapsus penicillatus (now H. takanoi). I am frequently asked to share my knowlegde on crustaceans in national media, and recently got the opportunity to show my enthousism in the TV program "Vroege Vogels".
I enjoy scuba diving, underwater photography and underwater filming. This allows me to explore more and more of the fascinating marine environment. I filmed and produced a short film "De Steiger" ("The Jetty") about life underneath a popular diving jetty in lake Grevelingen, which was awarded first price in the 2014 Dutch open underwater filming competition.
My current position allows me to align my professional career with my personal interests, giving me possibly the best job in the world!