Author Archive SSB


Edoardo Saccenti won the Kowalski Prize 2017 for Best Application Paper in Statistics/Chemometrics

Covariances Simultaneous Component Analysis: a new method within a framework for modeling covariances

 Published in the Journal of Chemometrics (


The motivation for the Prize is that the paper represents “an important work in the field of

-omics with a significant likelihood that COVSCA will become widely used” and that “has the potential to

find wide application in metabolomics and systems biology



Tjerko Kamminga published Science Advances paper

Tjerko Kamminga and coworkers published in Science Advances the article “Bacterial antisense RNAs are mainly the product of transcriptional noise”.

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Thesis Award for four excellent Wageningen theses

Four students from Wageningen University have received a Thesis Award from the University Fund Wageningen. Annelieke Wentzel won the Overall Thesis Award for MSc thesis, which the jury assessed as excellent. The other students who won the Thesis Awards were Shenglue Huang, Bas Groeneveld and Michiel Karrenbelt.

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Wageningen 2014 iGEM team awarded second best team in the Giant Jamboree final

The Wageningen 2014 iGEM team, The BananaGuards, were very successful in the international iGEM competition in Synthetic Biology. At the Giant Jamboree ( in Boston, USA, the team had first to present their project in the Food and Nutrition track. After all 245 teams had presented their projects, the judges selected the Wageningen team as one of the three iGEM finalists based on the overall excellence of the entire project. In the Jamboree final the team had to present their project to all judges and participants, in total more than 2500 people! They were awarded the following prizes:

–      First runner-up overall (Second best)

–      Best project in the Food and Nutrition track

–      Best poster

Furthermore, the BananaGuards met all the requirements to qualify for the gold iGEM medal.

It was a very tight decision: the Grand price (first overall) was taken by UC Davis, which were second in the Food and Nutrition track.

The Wageningen 2014 iGEM team was hosted by the Laboratory of Systems and Synthetic Biology and the Laboratory of Microbiology and consisted of 12 BSc and MSc students, 8 students are biotechnology students. The other 4 study bioinformatics, molecular life sciences, biology and plant biotechnology. Find more information about the BananaGuards on their Wiki page (


Successful Symposium on Systems Biology for Food, Feed, and Health

Tuesday, June 24th over 90 people participated in the Symposium Systems Biology for Food, Feed, and Health in Hotel Wageningsche Berg.


This symposium was organised by the Wageningen Centre for Systems Biology. Eight renowned scientists covered topics on different biological levels: from intracellular regulations via formation of cell tissue to the dynamic behaviour of ecosystems. The symposium was opened by Prof. Jaap Molenaar who presented the specific approach to Systems Biology at Wageningen University and closed by Prof. Vitor Martins Dos Santos who gave an overview about the development of the European Systems Biology infrastructure.  During the poster session students had the possibility to present their research.

WCSB symposium

  • Jaap Molenaar, Wageningen University
    The Wageningen approach to Systems Biology
  • Dolf Weijers, Wageningen University
    Genetic control of patterning and growth in plant embryo development
  • Marcel Janson, Wageningen University
    Self organisation of dynamic microtubule networks
  • Pauline Hogeweg, University of Utrecht
    Evolutionary Systems Biology: studying the interfaces between genome structure, regulatory networks, morphology and evolution
  • Johan van Leeuwen, Wageningen University
    Biomechanics of swimming in larval zebrafish
  • Frank Bruggeman, Vrije University Amsterdam
    Tracking single-cell responses one mRNA molecule at a time:application of RNA FISH to single yeast and human cells
  • Dick de Ridder, Wageningen University
    Redesigning biological sequences by learning from data
  • Wim van der Putten, NIOO, Wageningen University
    Scaling up systems biology by grafting community interactions into ecosystem processes
  • Vitor Martin dos Santos, Wageningen University
    ISBE- Infrastructure for Systems Biology in Europe

WCSB symposium


Participants listened critically and posed many questions to each speaker. The success of the meeting encourages us to organise this symposium again next year. Hope to see you there!

Kind regards,

Vitor Martins dos Santos, Jaap Molenaar, and Christian Fleck, Wageningen Centre for Systems Biology (WCSB)


Science paper published

On April 5th 2013 an article was published in Science magazine with the title: Archaeal (Per)Chlorate Reduction at High Temperature: An Interplay of Biotic and Abiotic Reactions.

This article has been written by Martin Liebensteiner and Alfonds Stams from the Laboratory of Microbiology and Peter Schaap of the Laboratory of Systems and Synthetic Biology. External writers are Martijn Pinkse from Analytical Biotechnology Section and Netherlands Proteomics Centre and Bart Lomans from Shell Global Solutions International B.V.


Perchlorate and chlorate anions [(per)chlorate] exist in the environment from natural and anthropogenic sources, where they can serve as electron acceptors for bacteria. We performed growth experiments combined with genomic and proteomic analyses of the hyperthermophile Archaeoglobus fulgidus that show (per)chlorate reduction also extends into the archaeal domain of life. The (per)chlorate reduction pathway in A. fulgidus relies on molybdo-enzymes that have similarity with bacterial enzymes; however, chlorite is not enzymatically split into chloride and oxygen. Evidence suggests that it is eliminated by an interplay of abiotic and biotic redox reactions involving sulfur compounds. Biological (per)chlorate reduction by ancient archaea at high temperature may have prevented accumulation of perchlorate in early terrestrial environments and consequently given rise to oxidizing conditions on Earth before the rise of oxygenic photosynthesis.

Link to the article


2013 HFSP Research Grant for Christian Fleck

The International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) is awarding $34 million to the 33 winning teams of the 2013 competition for the HFSP Research Grants.

Applicants went through a rigorous year-long selection process in a global competition that started with 715 submitted letters of intent. Each team member receives on average $110,000 – $125,000 per year for 3 years. One of the Program Grants has been awarded to the project of Christian Fleck of the Laboratory of Systems and Synthetic Biology for the project Evolution of light perception networks in plants. He will work together with Andreas Hiltbrunner, Dept. of Molecular Plant Physiology, Institute of Biology II, Freiburg (Germany) and Enamul Huq, Dept. of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Texas at Austin (USA).


HFSP collaborative research grants are given for a broad range of projects under the umbrella theme of “Complex mechanisms of living organisms”. Particular emphasis is placed on cutting-edge, risky projects. Two types of research grants are awarded: Young Investigator Grants for teams of scientists who are all within 5 years of obtaining their first independent position and Program Grants, which are open to teams of scientists at any stage of their careers. While there are bilateral or regional agreements for international collaboration, the HFSP grant program is unique because it is the only one that encourages bottom-up applications from teams involving scientists worldwide.

A strong preference is given to intercontinental collaborations. The awardees’ laboratories are located in 21 different countries, including 54 in Europe, 37 in N. America and 9 in Japan as well as laboratories in the non-member countries: Panama, Turkey, and Israel. In this round, the selected scientists are of 26 different nationalities with American, German and Japanese scientists being the most numerous. More information can be found on the website


Congratulations to iGEM team with results in World Championships!

From 2 to 5 November 2012 a team of students from the Laboratory of Systems and Synthetic Biology and the Laboratory of Microbiology took part in the “World Championships” iGEM in Boston.

The team from Groningen has been named the best team worldwide, but the iGEM-team from Wageningen also did an excellent job. It was one of the best 16 teams, the so called “sweet sixteen”.

Sweet 16 slide

The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) is the premiere undergraduate Synthetic Biology competition. Student teams are given a kit of biological parts at the beginning of the summer from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. Working at their own schools over the summer, they use these parts and new parts of their own design to build biological systems and operate them in living cells. This project design and competition format is an exceptionally motivating and effective teaching method.

iGEM members 2012

Worldwide 190 student-teams competed against each other in the preliminary rounds. Three Dutch teams (Groningen, Delft and Wageningen) went on to the World Championships. The team from Wageningen build “Virus-Like Particles” that are meant to transport medication to the sick cells in the body. More information about the team can be found here.

Soon the preparation for iGEM 2013 will start. Students who are interested in participating can contact Mark van Passel at


Publication iGEM in PLOS ONE Synthetic Biology Collection

On August 15th PLOS ONE announced the launch of the Synthetic Biology Collection, including over 50 papers publishes in the last six years that illustrate the many facets of this dynamically evolving research area.

And on the top of that list is the publication of the iGEM team!

The Synthetic Biology (2012) PLOS Collections can be found here: