Molecular Ecology group - Laboratory of Microbiology 2

Molecular microbial ecology is the field of research in which the occurrence and activity of microbes are studied at the DNA/RNA or protein level.
The current research programme developed in the group is focused on bacterial diversity, evolution and activity in natural and man-made ecosystems. The Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract is one of the selected ecosystems in which microorganisms (Bacteria, Archaea) play a major role.

Key persons involved

Hauke Smidt, PhD, is head of the Molecular Ecology group and has built ample experience in research and management. He is involved in several international research projects related to the mammalian GIT. He is involved in functional (meta)genomics of several new isolates and microbial communities, and is coordinator of the FP7-funded project INTERPLAY, focusing on the interplay of gut microbiota, immune system and host physiology during early stages of life in piglets. He is (co)author of more than 100 publications, and has recently been awarded Personal Chair at Wageningen University.

3 key publications

  • van Passel MWJ, Kant R, Zoetendal EG, Plugge CM, Derrien M, Malfatti SA, Chain PSG, Woyke T, Palva A, De Vos WM, Smidt H (2011) The genome of Akkermansia muciniphila, a dedicated intestinal mucin degrader, and its use in exploring intestinal metagenomes. PLoS ONE 6: e16876.[Pubmed]
  • Gerritsen J, Timmerman HM, Fuentes S, van Minnen LP, Panneman H, Konstantinov SR, Rombouts FM, Gooszen HG, Akkermans LM, Smidt H, Rijkers GT (2011) Correlation between protection against sepsis by probiotic therapy and stimulation of a novel bacterial phylotype. Appl Environ Microbiol 77: 7749-56.[Pubmed]
  • Rajilić-Stojanović M, Heilig GHJ, Molenaar D, Kajander K, Surakka A, Smidt H, de Vos WM (2009) Development and application of the Human Intestinal Tract Chip (HITChip), a phylogenetic microarray: analysis of universally conserved phylotypes in the abundant microbiota of young and elderly adults. Environ Microbiol 11: 1736–51.[Pubmed]