Alain Goossens obtained his Master in Biology-Plant Biotechnology at Ghent University (1992) and his PhD in Marc Van Montagu’s lab at the Laboratory of Genetics, Ghent University (1998), studying plant seed storage protein synthesis. Subsequently, he performed postdoctoral studies at the IBMCP-UPV in Valencia (Spain) in the lab of Ramón Serrano, working on yeast salt tolerance. He returned to VIB-Ghent University and started his own research group within the VIB Department of Plant Systems Biology at Ghent University in 2003, focusing on jasmonate signalling, gene discovery in plant specialized metabolism and metabolic engineering. He has been appointed as a Professor at Ghent University in 2010 and is teaching ‘Metabolic Engineering’.
Elia Lacchini obtained his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 2018 at the University of Milan, working on accelerated domestication of African rice by CRISPR mediated disruption of seed yield loci. Currently he works as postdoc in Alain Goossens’s lab to unravel the molecular mechanisms controlling the biosynthesis of specialized metabolites in medicinal plants and to increase the productivity of such compounds in planta.
Jacob Pollier obtained an engineering degree in chemistry from the University College Ghent (Belgium, 2003), a M. Sc. degree in biotechnology from Ghent University (2004) and a PhD degree in biotechnology in 2011. He carried out his PhD research in Alain Goossens' lab on the development of a combinatorial biosynthesis platform in plants using triterpene saponins as target compounds. During his postdoctoral research he studied the jasmonate-mediated regulation of triterpene saponin biosynthesis in Medicago truncatula and he was involved in the development and exploitation of a synthetic biology program for the production of natural and new-to-nature triterpenoids in the heterologous host Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Because of his expertise in metabolite profiling, he obtained a staff scientist position within the VIB Metabolomics Core Ghent in 2018 and continues his research in the Specialized Metabolism group part-time.
Maite Colinas studied biology at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, from where she obtained her B.Sc. degree in 2008. She then moved to the ETH Zürich, Switzerland, where she graduated as a M. Sc. with a major in plant biology in 2010. Thereafter she joined the group of Teresa B. Fitzpatrick at the University of Geneva and investigated vitamin B6 metabolism in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana for which she obtained her PhD in 2015. Her increasing interest in specialised metabolism prompted her to join the group of Alain Goossens as a post-doc in 2016. For her project on regulation of specialised metabolism in the medicinal plant Catharanthus roseus she has received two consecutive post doctoral fellowships from the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Francisco Javier Molina-Hidalgo obtained a Bachelor degree in Biology and a Master in Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Cordoba, Spain. He obtained his PhD in Biosciences in 2016, studying the functional characterization of strawberry genes of biotechnological interest and transcription factors related with fruit ripening in Juan Muñoz´s group at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Cordoba, Spain. As a postdoc, in the same lab, he was also involved in the study of plant-pathogen interactions in strawberry and olive tree. In May 2018 he joined the Specialized Metabolism group as a postdoctoral researcher in the EU H2020 project Newcotiana. He is studying pyridine alkaloid biosynthesis in tobacco plants, channelling metabolic fluxes towards accumulation of added-value metabolites.
Avanish Rai obtained his PhD in 2015 from Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow, India where he investigated the role of heteromeric and homomeric isoprenyl diphosphate synthases in regulation of the monoterpene indole alkaloid pathway from Catharanthus roseus. In 2017, Avanish received a postdoctoral fellowship from Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Govt. of India to join the group of Alain Goossens to understand the protein-protein interaction network for fine tuning of jasmonate signalling in Solanum lycopersicum.
Lei Wang is from China. He obtained his PhD in 2018 at Tuebingen University, Germany. His previous work, under the supervision of Georg Felix, has revealed the identity of two important tomato receptors, one for the bacterial cold shock protein and the other for the peptide hormone systemin. After 4 years great time studying tomato leaf immunity, he decided to explore some root immunity and joined the Goossens lab in late April 2018. His current work will focus on dissecting the link between pattern triggered immunity and JA/SA signalling in tomato roots.
Evi Ceulemans obtained her Master’s degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology, focus plant biotechnology, at the University of Ghent in 2016. During her master thesis in the Functional Interactomics lab of Geert De Jaeger at the PSB, she worked on optimizing new in planta interactomics techniques. She then started her PhD in the Specialized Metabolism group, funded by FWO-SB. Her research focuses on unravelling the infection mechanism of rhizogenic Agrobacteria in tomato roots. Essentially, she is identifying direct plant protein interactors of bacterial effector proteins using an optimized Y2H-seq platform.
Charlotte De Bruyn
Charlotte De Bruyn obtained a Master of Science in Bioscience Engineering: Cell and Gene Biotechnology at Ghent University in 2016. During her master thesis, she investigated the biosynthesis, regulation and secretion of cyclic lipopeptides in fluorescent Pseudomonas populations in the Laboratory of Phytopathology at UGent. In 2018 she started a PhD to unravel the biosynthetic pathway of sesquiterpene lactones in industrial chicory and witloof using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing. This PhD project is a collaboration between VIB and ILVO.
Seowoo Kim graduated as Master of Science in Plant Biotechnology at KyungHee University, South Korea in 2017. During her master thesis, she investigated the crosstalk between diurnal rhythm and water stress in rice. As a fellow of the VIB international PhD program of 2017, her research now focuses on the biosynthesis, signalling, and inflammatory roles of abscisic acid and salicylic acid in mammals.
Yuechen Bai obtained his Master`s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Sichuan Agricultural University, China, in 2013. During his master thesis, his research mainly focused on metabolic engineering of flavonoid biosynthesis in Tartary buckwheat. In September 2014, he joined the Specialized Metabolism lab at PSB to do his PhD. His research focuses on triterpenoid biosynthesis and its regulation in Arabidopsis thaliana.
Jhon Venegas Molina
Jhon Venegas-Molina graduated as Agricultural Engineer from the Universidad Central del Ecuador in 2013. For his research thesis, he worked at Antonio Leon-Reyes’s lab at Universidad San Francisco de Quito characterizing plant elicitors of induced systemic resistance. Subsequently, he worked in the same lab on several integrated pest management research projects in crops. Afterwards, he obtained his MSc in Plant Sciences specialisation Plant Pathology and Entomology at Wageningen University in 2017 performing two research theses. The first one, at Marcel Dicke’s lab studying the role of lipoxygenases in the jasmonate-induced plant defence against thrips. And the second one, at Corné Pieterse’s lab at Utrecht University studying the role of soil microbe-induced coumarins in plant immunity. Thereafter, he started his PhD in Alain Goossens’s lab at VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology in 2018, working on proteomics and transcriptomics approaches for discovering and characterizing novel jasmonate-signalling regulators.
Bianca Ribeiro graduated in 2014 as Master of Science in Genetics and Plant Breeding at the University of Sao Paulo/Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (USP/ESALQ) in Brazil. In her master thesis she investigated the role of the RALF (Rapid Alkalinization Factor) hormone peptide in Arabidopsis development. In January 2015 she started her PhD in the Specialized Metabolism group at PSB. Her PhD research focuses on the identification of transcriptional regulators of HMGR (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase) expression and the development of CRISPR/Cas technology in Medicago truncatula hairy roots.
Gwen Swinnen obtained a Master of Science degree in Biochemistry and Biotechnology from Ghent University in 2014. For her Master thesis in the Specialized Metabolism group, she studied how to increase the activity of a jasmonate-related transcription factor. After graduation, she started a PhD in the Specialized Metabolism group to elucidate the transcriptional network that controls steroid metabolism in tomato.
Clara Williams graduated in 2014 from University of California Davis. While there she studied the role of PXY signalling in Arabidopsis vascular development, as well as mechanisms of sex determination, and utilized NGS to study the dosage dependent effects of ploidy. In January 2016 she started her PhD in the Specialized Metabolism group at PSB. Her PhD research focuses on the regulation of the jasmonate receptor, COI1 and how this effects Arabidopsis defence responses.
Lore Gryffroy graduated in 2018 as a Master of Science in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Ghent University. During her master thesis in the Specialized Metabolism group, she investigated the molecular infection mechanism of tomato-rhizogenic agrobacteria interaction using Y2H-sequencing. In 2018 she started her PhD focusing on the functional re-annotation of tomato-rhizogenic agrobacteria interaction using a proteogenomics pipeline.
Robin Vanden Bossche
Robin Vanden Bossche graduated in 2005 as Bachelor in Biomedical Laboratory Technology at Hogeschool Gent, Departement Vesalius. After working in the microbiological lab of the OLV- hospital in Aalst, he moved to the pathology lab of the UZA in Antwerp (Prof. Dr. Eric Van Mark), to increase his skills in this area. Since 2008, he joined the Specialized Metabolism group in PSB, and contributes to the research on jasmonate signalling and secondary metabolism in Arabidopsis, tobacco and Catharanthus roseus.
Rebecca De Clercq
Rebecca De Clercq graduated in 1980 as Bachelor in Clinical Chemistry at Hogeschool Sint-Lieven, Gent and started working in the Lab of Medical Analysis of Dr. R. Mariën at Zwijnaarde. In 1986, she moved to the lab of Genetics of Prof. Dr. Marc Van Montagu, where she participated in several projects. Since 2011, she joined the Specialized Metabolism Group at PSB.
Keylla Bicalho, Brasilian, PhD – Left 2018 – Current position: Postdoctoral researcher at State University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brasil
Marie-Laure Erffelinck, Belgian, PhD – Left 2018 – Current position: Scientist yeast engineering at AgroSavfe, Gent, Belgium
Patricia Fernández Calvo, Spanish, PhD – Left 2018 – Current position: Postdoctoral researcher at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Petra Van Damme, Belgian, PhD – Left 2018 – Current position: ERC grant holder, Professor and Group Leader at Ghent University, Gent, Belgium
Maria Perassolo, Argentinian, PhD – Left 2018 – Current position: Group Leader at University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Karel Miettinen, Finnish, PhD – Left 2018 – Current position: Postdoctoral researcher at Cophenhagen University, Copenhagen, Denmark
Jan Mertens, Belgian, PhD – Left 2017 – Current position: Research Manager at Puratos, Belgium
Louisi Souza de Oliveira, Brasilian, PhD – Left 2017 – Current position: Postdoctoral researcher at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Linlin Qi, Chinese, PhD – Left 2017 – Current position: Associate Professor at LanZhou Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Acamey of Agricultural Sciences, Lanzhou, China
Tessa Moses, Indian, PhD – Left 2017 – Current position: Postdoctoral researcher at Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, Scotland
Sabrina Iñigo, Argentinian, PhD – Left 2016 – Current position: -
Laurens Pauwels, Belgian, PhD – Left 2016 – Current position: Leader Crop Genome Engineering Facility, VIB-UGent, Gent, Belgium
Fabian Schweizer, Swiss, PhD – Left 2016 – Current position: Postdoctoral Researcher at Lausanne University, Lausanne, Sweden
Alex Van Moerkercke, Belgian, PhD – Left 2016 – Current position: Postdoctoral Researcher at Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Andres Ritter, Chilean, PhD – Left 2016 – Current position: Postdoctoral Researcher at Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris, France
Jonas Goossens, Belgian, PhD – Left 2016 – Current position: Project Manager and Plant Physiologist at BASF Cropdesign, Gent, Belgium
Philipp Arendt, German, PhD – Left 2016 – Current position: Product Manager at Euroimmun, Luebeck, Germany
Gabriela Calegario, Brazilian – Left 2015 – Current position: PhD student at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Janine Colling, South-African, PhD – Left 2015 – Current position: Staff Scientist at Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South-Africa
Astrid Nagels Durand, Belgian, PhD – Left 2015 – Current position: Patent Adviser at Brantsandpatents, Gent, Belgium
Michiel Matthijs, Belgian, PhD – Left 2014 – Current position: Fermentation Specialist at Cargill, Belgium; former CSO of Algenuity, Bedford, United Kingdom
Nathan De Geyter, Belgian, PhD – Left 2014 – Current position: Innovation Manager at Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Belgium
Michele Fabris, Italian, PhD – Left 2013 – Current position: Postdoctoral Research Associate at University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
Sophie Carbonelle, Belgian – Left 2013 – Current position: In vitro cultivation technician at ILVO, Merelbeke, Belgium
Azra Gholami, Iranian, PhD – Left 2013 – Current position: Analytical Scientist at Dr. Reddy’s, Leiden, The Netherlands
Sandra Soetaert, Belgian, PhD – Left 2013 – Current position: Project engineer at Pfizer, Puurs, Belgium
Amparo Cuéllar Pérez, Spanish, PhD – Left 2013 – Current position: Scientific Consultant at Biogazelle, Gent, Belgium
Gino Baart, Dutch, PhD – Left 2012 – Current position: Research Manager at Leuven Institute for Beer Research, Leuven, Belgium
Lorena Almagro, Spanish, PhD – Left 2012 - Current position: Postdoctoral researcher at Universidad de Murcia, Murcia, Spain
Miriam Onrubia Ibañez, Spanish, PhD – Left 2011 – Current position: In vitro propagation manager at Alkion Biopharma, Evry, France
Lander Ingelbrecht, Belgian – Left 2011 – Current position: Technician at BASF, Gent, Belgium
Jan Geerinck, Belgian, PhD – Left 2010 – Current position: Senior Agrobody Discovery Researcher at AgroSavfe, Gent, Belgium
Miguel Gonzalez Guzman, Spanish, PhD – Left 2009 – Current position: Postdoctoral researcher at Instituto de Biologia Molecular y Celular de Plantas, Universidad Politecnica de Valencia - Valencia, Spain
Sofie Tilleman, Belgian, PhD – Left 2009 – ✝ 2018
Antonio Leon-Reyes, Ecuadorian, PhD– Left 2008 – Current position: Professor at Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Quito, Ecuador
Lies Maes, Belgian, PhD – Left 2009 – Current position: Teacher - Belgium
Freya Lammertyn, Belgian – Left 2008 – Current position: Research associate - BASF - Gent, Belgium
Seppe Mertens, Belgian – Left 2007 – Current position: IT Lead at Johnson & Johnson Pharma R&D, Beerse, Belgium
Valerie De Sutter, Belgian, PhD – Left 2006 – Current position: Teacher - Gent, Belgium
Chloë Van Oostende, French, PhD – Left 2004 – Current position: Microscope Facility Manager at uOttawa, Montréal, Canada