Meet the teams

MST consolidates expertise in microbiology, biotechnology, and data science to better understand microbial activity and microbial ecology. Six teams collaborate across the Departments of Biology, Bio-engineering, and Computer Science at the Faculty of Sciences.

We have complementary expertise in molecular biology, phenotypic characterization, process technology, and bioinformatics. Systems biology, omics technologies, and next-generation sequencing play a central role to better understand microbes and their environment. By joining forces, new and exciting developments can be quickly integrated into research & development, thus catalyzing novel microbial products and processes.

Meysman lab

This team studies biogeochemical cycling, and the large-scale interactions between biology, chemistry and geology. Projects focus on how marine ecosystems can be used to extract CO2 from the atmosphere via enhanced weathering. In a second research pillar, we investigate the intriguing and exciting phenomenon of microbial electricity in the ocean floor. We have identified microbial structures with future application in bio-electronics.

Lebeer lab

The focus of this team is the beneficial microbiome of humans, animals, and plants. Lactobacilli isolated from different habitats are of particular interest. We study their genetics, ecological behavior, and iteraction with the host. Applying molecular, physiological, immunological, and computational techniques, we develop novel biotechnological solutions for human, animal, and crop health. There is also a bacterial culture collection for further exploration.

Laukens lab

Data science is the central theme for this group. The team's core activities are introducing and applying innovative pattern mining and machine learning techniques to next-generation sequencing data, heterogeneous omics data, and clinical information. Using these techniques, computational and network models for biological systems and diseases are created. We develop innovative visualizations of complex life science data and pattern mining results.

Vlaeminck lab

Clean-tech and resource-efficient microbial technology for nutrient management is the team’s focus. Work includes the production of single-cell protein with purple bacteria, aerobic heterotrophic bacteria, and micro-algae. We have expertise in developing innovative bioreactor systems. Examples of successes are bio-fertilizer in horticulture and feed in animal husbandry and aquaculture. We complement biotechnology with sustainability evaluations using life cycle assessments and material flow analysis.

Verbruggen lab

In this lab, we study the microbial ecology of soils and plants. An overarching line is how soils and plants interact through microbial communities in terms of nutrient flows, plant community composition and biodiversity, and soil integrity. Land use, nutrient inputs, and drought may change these processes. We have a particular interest in mycorrhizal fungi, which are in symbiosis with plants. These fungi influence many plants' nutrient uptake and act as a gateway of plant sugars to the soil, influencing soil and its microbiome.

Beemster lab

We investigate the effects of environmental conditions (mainly drought, temperature, and CO2) and genetic differences during plant growth. The team uses growth analysis and kinematic approaches. Genome-wide transcriptomics focuses on plant growth zones. Besides, we perform mutation mapping and methylome analysis. The team has expertise in using molecular genetics tools to generate mutant and overexpression lines and promotor fusion lines to study gene function in Arabidopsis thaliana and Zea mais.