Linking the field-cereal-flour-sourdough-bread axis to microbial species diversity



Industrial Microbiology and Food Biotechnology

Functional starter cultures for improved food quality, safety and healthiness

The research of the Research Group of Industrial Microbiology and Food Biotechnology of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (IMDO) deals with the qualitative and quantitative study of the species diversity, community dynamics, and meta-metabolomics of fermented food ecosystems (fermented dairy products, fermented sausages, sourdough, cocoa, coffee and other fermented fruits, fermented vegetables, acidic beers, and water kefir). Further, the genomics, microbial physiology and modelling of fermentations with food-grade microorganisms, i.e. lactic acid bacteria (LAB), acetic acid bacteria (AAB), coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) and yeasts are studied. Also, the human colon fermentation process involving bifidobacteria, lactobacilli, and propionic acid/butyric acid-producing colon bacteria is studied in view of the bifidogenic, butyrogenic and/or propionogenic effects of inulin-type fructans and arabinoxylans. The fundamental aims of these studies are to unravel, by means of state-of-the-art technologies, why certain microorganisms prevail in certain microbial ecosystems and how their competitiveness and functionality in these ecosystems can be explained biochemically and molecularly. The ultimate purpose of these studies is the development of new, functional starter cultures, co-cultures, bio-protective cultures and health-promoting cultures for a controlled and/or steered fermentation process of milk, meat, cereals, cocoa beans, coffee berries, raw vegetables, tropical fruits, sour wort, etc., with respect to food safety, food quality (organoleptic properties such as texture and flavour) and authenticity, and the development of new functional food ingredients (in casu pro- and prebiotics). IMDO occupies a unique position in industrial food biotechnology research in Flanders and abroad in that it possesses the competences to combine field experiments, isolations, identifications, functionality studies (focusing on quantitative analyses and including modelling expertise) and applications in one laboratory facility, which gives the research group a particular competitive advantage and freedom-to-operate.

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Engineering of synthetic genetic circuits for dynamic pathway regulation in thermophiles



Molecular response to temperature stress in thermoacidophilic archaea



Mycorrhizas for sustainable agriculture and forestry



Research Group of Microbiology 

The Research Group of Microbiology led by Prof. Eveline Peeters and Prof. Joske Ruytinx performs research in the fields of molecular microbiology, focusing on a variety of microorganisms -bacteria, archaea and fungi- with a special interest for extremophiles and plant-microbe interactions (mycorrhiza). Fundamental research questions are related to molecular mechanisms of genetic adaptation and the use of these insights for a transition to a more sustainable biobased industry. 

We offer a dynamic and well-equipped research environment for state-of-the-art research in molecular microbiology and are interested in supporting the preparation of a competitive application for a MSCA postdoctoral fellowship in case a synergy can be created between the research profile and ambitions of the candidate and the research mission statement of the host research group. The abstracts presented on this website are only exemplary, please do not hesitate to contact us with your own ideas. 

Website of the Research Group: https://micr.research.vub.be 






The dynamics of DNA topology changes by human topoisomerase II studied by Atomic Force Microscopy



Optical nanomotion detection to screen pathogenic yeast antifungal susceptibility



The molecular basis of neurological disease: structural and mechanistic insights in enzymes and signal transduction pathways implicated in neurological disorders



Structural Biology Brussels

Structural Biology Brussels (SBB) is headed by Prof. Dr. ir. Jan Steyaert and focusses on research in structural biology. We study the structure of proteins and DNA from the molecular to the atomic level. By determining the position of atoms in a macromolecule (proteins, for example, contain thousands of atoms) we can derive how such molecules can act as tiny machines, and determine how they interact with each other. The end goal of this research is to unravel the complex machinery that makes cells work.

Our work on fundamental aspects of biology and biochemistry also leads to important industrial and biomedical applications. If you know how a protein works, you can also find out why these tiny machines sometimes fail to work as they should. For example, if we learn more about the molecular cause of certain hereditary diseases, or the reason why bacteria can resist antibiotics, then this serves as the first step in rational drug design: developing novel drugs based on knowledge of protein structure and their mode of action.

SBB is a large research groep with about ten principal investigators. This critical mass allows us to employ many complementary state-of-the-art techniques in the field, whose results we combine to obtain a picture of the macromolecules under study that is as accurate and correct as possible. The most important technique we use is X-ray diffraction on protein crystals, as well as NMR spectroscopy, SAXS and electron microscopy. These are supported by our expertise in biochemistry, protein engineering, molecular biophysics and computational structural biology.

At the SBB we also perform fundamental research into the crystallisation and nucleation of biological macromolecules; this goes as far as employing microgravity in the International Space Station.

Finally, the SBB is part of the Structural Biology Research Center (SBRC). The SBRC is part of the Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie (VIB), an institute which encompasses leading research groups with biotechnology interests over the Flemish universities. The aim of the VIB is to translate results from fundamental research in medicine, agriculture and industry.

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The Brussels Center for Redox Biology



The Brussels Center for Redox Biology

The Brussels Center for Redox Biology was founded in 2006 by Jean-François Collet and Joris Messens. Today, it results from a strong collaboration between the research groups of Joris Messens (VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology), Jean-François Collet (de Duve Institute, Université Catholique de Louvain), and Frank Van Breusegem (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology). The Center benefits from a combined expertise in biochemistry, structural biology, plant biology and microbiology.

We investigate proteins and pathways that are involved in redox signaling and oxidative protein folding. We want to understand the complex networks of interactions induced to survive cellular oxidative stress.

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