Microbiome analysis, inoculant technology, microbiology
TechniqueBioinformatics, microbiome analysis, cultivation, screening
UsersMicrobiologists, seedcoating companies
Bacteria-host interaction for beneficial microbes and probiotics (lactobacilli in gut, vagina, ...) Microbial analyses and identification (Microbiome research) Bacterial genetics Mutagenesis and heterologous expression in bacterial Biochemical and functional analysis of bacterial cell wall molecules Bacterial glycoproteins Cell and gene biotechnology Genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metagenomics Cell culture of epithelial and monocytic cells Immunology and inflammation Determination of microbial air quality, incl. LAL assay (endotoxins) Air pollution: biomonitoring of proinflammatory capacity
Techniquemicrobial identification, bacterial mutagenesis and heterologous expression, esp. in lactobacilli cell culture, LAL assay, ELISA, qRT-PCR, microbial DNA, RNA and protein extraction, biofilm assay
Anti-inflammatory activity, Fermentation, Intestinal inflammation, Bacteria, Airway inflammation, Bacterial ecology
Host-bacteria interaction, especially for probiotics: focussed on lactobacilli, their role in the vaginal microbial community and their activity against pathogens of the vagina and skin Identification of microbial communities i.e. microbiomestudies with next-generation sequencing Cell culture of epithelial, monocytic and primary cells Immunology and inflammation: e.g. cytokine assays through qPCR
TechniqueGeneral microbiology Antipathogenic assays Bacterial identfication Cell culture General molecular biology (DNA/RNA extraction, PCR,...) Next-generation sequencing- Illumina qPCR
Vaginal pathogens, Beneficial microbes, Microbiome, Microbiology
The Laboratory of Environmental and Urban Ecology (EUREC-Air) of which I am spokesman, is one of the two laboratories belonging to the Research Group ENdEMIC (Research Group on Environmental Ecology and Applied Microbiology). EUREC-Air focusses on the following research topics, which are of huge scientific and social interest: (i) air quality monitoring and its ecological impacts, (ii) nature-based solutions for sustainable and ecological cities and (iii) air pollution and human health. To cover these topics EUREC- AIR makes use of specific tools, i.e. (i) enviromagnetic monitoring, (ii) citizen science, (iii) low-cost sensors for air quality and meteorological monitoring, (iv) biomonitoring and (v) modelling. The first research line on air quality monitoring and its ecological impacts comprises the biomagnetic monitoring of particulate matter (PM) pollution, or enviromagnetic monitoring. The laboratory aims to optimise the technique, so that the contributions of different PM sources (like traffic and industry) can be distinguished from each other. EUREC-AIR has a strong track record in biomonitoring of air pollution, not only via leaves but also via other plant parts (including stems and branches), and by insects and birds as indicators of urban environmental quality. Moreover, EUREC-Air also includes the study of the soil compartment (as an indicator of historical air pollution) in comparison with vegetation (as indicator of actual air pollution). By combining air pollution measurements with enviromagnetic monitoring of plants, soil, river beds and animals, EUREC-Air wants to gain holistic insight in the fate of metal containing PM in the environment. EUREC-Air has a very broad experience in the use of citizen science as a tool to obtain data, but especially to raise awareness for the problem and danger of air pollution in densely inhabited and highly urbanized areas as Flanders. EUREC-Air complements is integrative biomonitoring and enviromagnetic approach with the use of low-cost and low-tech sensors for air pollution monitoring. The second research line is build on nature-based solutions for sustainable and ecological cities. EUREC-Air investigates the role of green and blue infrastructure (GBI) on the reduction of urban heat stress, the so-called urban-heat-island (UHI), and their air pollution mitigation potential. Besides the potential of GBI, also the role of phyllosphere microorganisms for air pollution mitigation is studied. The role of GBI on urban biodiversity is also an important research topic of the laboratory, thereby considering biodiversity from the level of microorganisms up to ecosystem level over all kind of GBI. Because of their importance in the urban ecosystem, and in relation to the limited space in cities, the study of ecosystem services of urban trees remains an important research topic, to support deliberate species’ choices for those species best fulfilling the city’s needs at the considered place. The third and last research line focusses on the link between air pollution and human health. EUREC-Air investigates the dynamic exposure of different transport modes (e.g. cycling, walking, public transport, cars) and helps assessing the effect of PM pollution on respiratory functioning.
TechniqueThe Laboratory of Environmental and Urban Ecology (EUREC-Air) can, for the realisation of its research lines, make use of specific tools, i.e. (i) enviromagnetic monitoring, (ii) citizen science, (iii) low-cost sensors for air quality and meteorological monitoring, (iv) biomonitoring and (v) modelling.
UsersBecause air pollution is a non-evitable problem for all living humans, and as most people in Flanders, and an ever increasing number of people worldwide live in cities, our research is of importance for all citizens worldwide. Our research yields sound scientific evidence which supports the design of sustainble and ecological cities, and is thus of relevance also for policy-makers and companies active in relevant aspects of urbanisation. Of course our research is also relevant for colleague scientists to build further upon the new knowledge we gathered.
Biomonitoring, Air quality, Sustainable technologies, Citizen involvement, Ecological urbanism, Healthy cities, Green spaces, Biodiversity, Air pollution, Air particulate matter, Climate change, Phytoremediation
TechniqueCulturing bacteria, PCR, Gel electrophoresis, bacterial DNA extraction, DNA sequencing, bioinformatics of microbial DNA, statistics
UsersGovernmental bodies focused on conserving or improving the urban and natural environment. Agricultural sector. Individuals concerned about air pollution.
Microbiology, Bacterial ecology, Plant microbe interaction
My research expertise involves studying probiotic-host and probiotic-pathogen interactions. Specifically, I focus on the immunological and anti-inflammatory effects of wild type and recombinant probiotic strains.
TechniqueI apply standard molecular and cloning techniques for genetic modification of Lactobacillus strains. Furthermore, I use in vitro cell cultures (e.g. primary skin cells and THP-1 reporter cells) in combination with probiotic and pathogenic bacteria. Finally, I apply mouse models of respiratory disease, specifically allergic asthma and RSV.
UsersResearchers and companies working on probiotics, as well as prevention and treatment of inflammatory airway and skin diseases.
Mouse models, Probiotics, Staphylococcus aureus, Respiratory syncytial virus (rsv), Lactobacillus, Asthma, Microbiology, Allergy
My research focuses on finding and valorizing microorganisms for novel applications, for the household and industry. My expertize is the genetic and functional caharacterization and manipulation of (novel) microorganisms, in search of novel applications.
Technique- Spray drying biological, heat-sensitive molecules and cells. - Genetic characterization and manipulation of different microorganisms (bacteria, bacteriophage). - Sequencing and characterization of microbial genomes. - Microbiome study
UsersAcademic groups Industry Focus groups NGOs
Probiotics, Microbial genetics, Probiotic treatment, Probiotherapy, Nasal probiotics, Bacteriophage, Molecular biology, Microbiology, Virology
Ronnie Willaert (PhD in Applied Biological Sciences, research professor) has an extended expertise in yeast research (Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Candida albicans and C. glabrata) and single-molecule biophysics (high-resolution microscopy, i.e. confocal laser microscopy, AFM, force spectroscopy, and dip-pen nanolithography), yeast space biology research and hardware development, protein science (yeast adhesins), cell (yeast) immobilisation biotechnology, fermentation technology, brewing science and technology, and mathematical analysis (bioinformatics, mass transport and fluid flow modelling).
TechniqueMicrobiology techniques (yeast, bacteria) Fermentation technology (bioreactors) Nanobiotechnology: Atomic Force Microscopy, fluorescence microscopy Transcriptomics, proteomics, genomics Microfluidics Bone cells Cell printing
UsersBiotech/pharma companies Breweries Food companies
Biochemical engineering, Nanobiotechnology, Yeast, Biotechnology