Microbial Biotechnology


Microbial Biotechnology focusses on the use of natural and engineered prokaryotic and eukaryotic micro-organisms for diverse biotechnological applications. In recent decades the field showed impressive progress in both process engineering and biological engineering techniques, including automation, genetic engineering, high-throughput ‘omics’ studies and the use of resulting data for predictive modeling and deep learning. Especially advances in genetic technologies have broadened the scope of microbial engineering, both in terms of the number of species that are now amenable for genetic manipulation as well as the breadth of new functions that can be added.

The use of engineering principles in biological systems is now commonly referred to as Synthetic Biology. This highly interdisciplinary field includes both research activities that engineer biological systems to understand fundamental biological questions, as well as research activities towards applications in biotechnology. The use of both engineered and non-engineered in all kind of processes provides solutions to many global challenges. An increasing number of innovative solutions has emerged from academic and industrial research activities, including more sustainable chemical and fuel production, the conversion of waste into valuable resources, novel therapeutics, biosensors, as well solutions for sustainable, high-quality food production. Research in Microbial Biotechnology is strongly rooted in the Dutch academic landscape already for many decades, including an increasing number of researchers and groups that identify with the field of Synthetic Biology.

The mission of the Microbial Biotechnology section is to foster interactions between the diverse researchers active in this field, for example by organizing and contributing to scientific meetings, including the KNVM Spring Meeting. In addition, we want to support interactions between early-career researchers in Microbial Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology. The section also aims to contribute to outreach activities to spread the knowledge on using microbes for various applications to the wider public.

Board members

Dr. Sonja Billerbeck (chair)

Groningen Biomolecular Sciences & Biotechnology Institute (GBB)
Faculty of Science and Engineering
University of Groningen

s.k.billerbeck [at] rug.nl

Dr. Nico Claassens

Department of Agrotechnology and Food Sciences
Laboratory of Microbiology
Wageningen University

nico.claassens [at]wur.nl