Our research focus is on deriving a deeper understanding of microbial systems by uncovering biological meaning from genome scale data and through multiscale data integration. All of our projects are in close collaborations with experimental partners. To answer biological questions we use a broad range of bioinformatics, computational, analytical mathematics and statistical methods.
Contact person: dr. Robert Smith, Robert1.Smith@wur.nl
A main goal of the Laboratory of Systems and Synthetic Biology is to gain a systems understanding of industrially relevant microorganisms and to translate this knowledge to high-added value applications.
Filamentous fungi such as Aspergillus niger form a class of relatively simple eukaryotic organisms that are popular in the bioproduction industry. We aim to develop fungal cell factories using genomics, synthetic biology and metabolic modeling approaches. Whenever necessary, we use Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model system or host for the analysis of fungal processes.
Pseudomonas putida is another industrially relevant organism that we are making ready for a life as cell factory. We are developing methods to make easy re-programming of the lifestyle of P. putida towards production of bulk and specialty chemicals possible. We are also aiming towards P. putida strains that are able to withstand the harsh conditions that are often met in industrial bioprocesses. Since we don’t want our strains to escape to the environment, we are designing and producing P. putida strains that will not be able to survive outside the lab or the factory.
Every now and then, we are performing projects involving other organisms than the two mentioned above. For details about these projects and the ones involving A. niger and P. putida please send an email.
Contact person: Dr. Robert Smith, Robert1.Smith@wur.nl
Finding a suitable thesis project requires some groundwork. Start by reading the research themes and research projects pages. Identify research ideas that interest you. Next contact the contact person of the research project(s) of your choice, agree with your supervisor(s) on the research topic, the duration (i.e. credit points) and starting date. Optimally do all of this at least 3 months in advance. Upon agreement fill in the BSc or MSc thesis contract, obtain a copy of the BSc or MSc thesis evaluation form and send a copy of the signed thesis contract to your study advisor for approval and send in the undersigned filled-in thesis contract to the SSB secretary.
On your first day, visit the SSB secretary to:
Normally there are two intermediate evaluations: A 10-min introductory presentation of the project is given for the workgroup within 3 weeks. After approximately 1.5 months, the thesis-project will be evaluated with your supervisor.
The thesis project ends with handing in the report and giving a 20-min oral presentation. Writing the thesis report is an important part of the research project and you should reserve enough time for this activity. Three weeks before the final date, at least an outline of thesis should be ready. A draft version (digital word version) should be handed in to the supervisor for suggestion and comments before giving the final presentation. Grading will be done after your final examination, which normally will take place directly after your final presentation.
Once you have completed all the required activities and have handed in the final version of the thesis by E-mail as pdf file to the secretary the grade will be submitted.