Lab members and alumni

 

Tom Beeckman

Tom Beeckman

Tom Beeckman studied botany, received his master’s degree in biology from the Ghent University (1985) and a postgraduation in marine biology (1989) through the Belgian interuniversitary program. He obtained his PhD (1997) in biology on embryogenesis and root development in Arabidopsis thaliana and performed postdoctoral research on cell cycle regulation during plant development at the Molecular Genetics Department of the Ghent University. In 2001, he became group leader of the Root Development group at the Flanders Institute of Biotechnology (VIB) and in 2007 professor at the Ghent University. He is teaching plant developmental biology and devoted a considerable part of his research to understand how cell division is steered during the initiation of new organs in the root. Currently, his research is expanding towards the understanding of how lateral root initiation determines the branching pattern of root systems and how root system architecture can contribute to the performance of plant growth in different environmental conditions. 

Boris Parizot

Boris Parizot

Postdoctoral fellow

Boris Parizot graduated in Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology at the Doctoral School of Health and Life Science (EDSVS) of the Université de la Méditerranée, France, in 2002. He started in the same university a PhD to unravel a root system architecture determinant: "the identity of the pericycle cells associated with the xylem poles", under the supervision of Laurent Nussaume, in the Laboratory of Plant Development Biology (LBDP). During his PhD, he did a one year Marie Curie fellowship in the Root laboratory, and got his diploma in 2007. Since then, he fully joined the Root Laboratory to work on the system biology of lateral root initiation (CropDesign - BASF-Plant-Science) and is now extending this project to the relations between the development of the root and the shoot (funded by BELSPO/IAP)

Ana Ibis Fernandez

Ana Ibis Fernandez

Postdoctoral fellow

Ana Ibis Fernandez obtained her Master’s degree in Havana University where she graduated from Microbiology in 2001. Afterwards, she was involved in the characterization of geminivirus in plants and the generation of virus-induced gene silencing strategies for crops improvement, in the Cuban Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB). In 2005, she moved to Belgium and joined the Functional Genomics group in the PSB Department of the VIB under supervision of Prof. Pierre Hilson. Her PhD studies focused on the characterization of small plant signaling peptides and their interaction with known phytohormones. After her graduation in 2012, she moved to the Root Development group, with Prof. Tom Beeckman, where she is currently a postdoctoral fellow.

Barbara Möller

Barbara Möller

Postdoctoral fellow

Barbara Möller obtained her PhD in June 2012 in the Laboratory of Biochemistry at Wageningen University in the Netherlands under the supervision of Prof. Dolf Weijers. During her PhD she studied the role of the MONOPTEROS transcription factor in embryonic root initiation. Directly after her PhD she visited the Laboratory of Prof. Philip Benfey at Duke University in the USA on an EMBO Short-Time-Fellowship. There she worked for three months to isolate the transcriptome of the vascular initials in the root meristem. Since February 2013 she works as a postdoc in the Root Development group of Prof. Tom Beeckman. Here she can continue her interest to study the molecular and cellular mechanisms of cell specification. Her research aims to unravel transcriptional networks operating during lateral root founder cell specification and is funded by fellowships from the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (Rubicon, NWO) and the VIB International Postdoc Program

Hans Motte

Hans Motte

Postdoctoral fellow

Hans Motte graduated in 2006 as a master in Bioscience Engineering (Cell and Gene Biotechnology). He conducted his PhD as a teaching assistant at the Laboratory of Applied In Vitro Plant Biotechnology under the supervision of Stefaan Werbrouck. He studied the process of shoot organogenesis, using shoot induction from Arabidopsis root explants as a model. His research included genome-wide association analyses and a chemical screen in collaboration with the Root Development Group. In March 2013, he obtained his PhD degree in Applied Biological Sciences, and after a short stay at the Laboratory of In Vitro Biology and Horticulture (Danny Geelen), he joined the Root Development Group in October 2013. Here, he started studying lateral root evolution, but currently he mainly focusses on plant nutrition, in particular regarding phosphate and nitrogen uptake and use.

Steffen Vanneste

Steffen Vanneste

Postdoctoral fellow

Steffen Vanneste graduated in 2002 as a master in Bioscience (Cell and Gene Biotechnology). He obtained a PhD fellowship from the IWT fund and conducted his PhD research in the Root Development Group (Promotors: Prof. Dr. Dirk Inzé and Prof. Dr. Tom Beeckman). His research included transcriptome analyses of auxin-induced lateral root initiation, and the molecular characterization of several candidate genes. He obtained his PhD in May 2007. After that he obtained an EMBO long-term fellowship and two FWO post-doctoral fellowships to join the lab of Prof. Dr. Jiří Friml, where he studied auxin-regulated membrane trafficking and PIN-mediated auxin transport. Since October 2014, he got an assistant professorship in the Ghent University department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, to return to the Root Development Group. His current research interests are auxin signaling and auxin transport in the context of lateral root formation and spacing.

Kun Yue

Kun Yue

Postdoctoral fellow

Kun Yue got her master degree on plant molecular biology and genetics at Lanzhou University in China, and joined the root development group in 2010. In 2015, she obtained her PhD. Her work is now focusing on the function and downstream components of the receptor-like kinase ACR4 in the Arabidopsis root.


Fabian Beeckman

Fabian Beeckman

Predoctoral fellow

Fabian Beeckman graduated as a master in Functional and Evolutionary Biology at the UGent in 2014. He performed both his bachelor and master dissertation at the Laboratory of Microbiology at the UGent (LM-UGent), where he respectively worked on the optimization of growth media for terrestic, methane-oxidizing bacteria and the isolation and identification of marine, methane-oxidizing bacteria. During his master studies, he did an internship at the Root Development group to expand his knowledge about basic molecular and cell biology techniques that are frequently used in plant biotechnology. In 2015 he obtained a teachers degree at the UGent. In October 2015, he started as a PhD student in the Root Development group, and focusses on the interaction between nitrifying bacteria and root development.

Agnieszka Deja

Agnieszka Deja

Predoctoral fellow

Agnieszka Deja has received her master degree in Applied Biotechnology in Poland in 2010. For a following year she was involved in a project aiming to describe mycorrhizal associations in Orchids at KU Leuven in Belgium. She participates in launching a project allowing to detect new genes responsible for specific root architecture in Arabidopsis thaliana plants by means of Genome-wide Association Study.

Pierre-Mathieu Pelissier

Pierre-Mathieu Pelissier

Predoctoral fellow

Pierre-Mathieu Pelissier graduated a master of science in bio-engineering at Bordeaux Sciences Agro, Institut national polytechnique de Bordeaux in France in 2015. He joined Tom Beeckman's lab just after his graduation in November 2015. His project will focus on the effect of different nitrogen forms on the root development.

Tao Fang

Tao Fang

Predoctoral fellow

Tao Fang obtained his Master's degree and graduated from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Nanjing Agricultural University in China. He joined the Root Development Group led by Prof. Dr. Tom Beeckman in March 2014, which is funded by China Scholarship Council (CSC). He mainly focuses on root dichotomous branching and transformation in Selaginella moellendorffii.

Gieljan De Rop

Gieljan De Rop

Predoctoral fellow

Gieljan De Rop graduated as a Master in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the University of Ghent (Belgium) in 2011. He did his master thesis in the Root Development Group of Prof. Dr. Tom Beeckman. His project aims to incorporate the recently discovered ABA receptors and signalling pathway in the developmental biology of roots. The further goal is to discover links, on a molecular level between environmental stresses and how ABA - as a stress hormone - can alter developmental processes.

Hanne Crombez

Hanne Crombez

Predoctoral fellow

Hanne Crombez graduated in 2013 as a Master of Science in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Ghent University. She performed her master thesis in the Root Development lab, where she became familiar with the process of lateral root development. During her PhD project she studies the effect of phosphate nutrition on root development.

Nick Vangheluwe

Nick Vangheluwe

Predoctoral fellow

Nick Vangheluwe graduated in 2014 as a Master in Biochemistry & Biotechnology at the University of Ghent in Belgium. He specialized in plant biotechnology and did his master dissertation at PSB in the Rhizospere group led by Prof. Dr. Sofie Goormachtig on strigolacton responsive genes in the root system of A. thaliana. Afterwards he joined the Root Development group led by Prof. Dr. Tom Beeckman in October 2014 as an assistant in which he combines education with research. He supports Prof. Beeckman with the practical courses and work colleges for courses in the Bachelor and Master program of Biology and Biochemistry & Biotechnology. In his PhD project he will focus on the molecular mechanisms at play during the development of a new lateral root meristem.

Ellie Himschoot

Ellie Himschoot

Predoctoral fellow

Ellie Himschoot obtained her Bachelor diploma in Biology and continued her studies at the master level in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the University of Ghent graduating in 2012. During her master studies she performed both her master project and master thesis in the Auxin Group led by Prof. Dr. Jiri Friml at PSB. After graduation she started a PhD focussing on auxin-regulated PIN endocytsis in roots and the role of Ca2+ in this process in the Root Development Group (funded by BOF).

Kjell De Vriese

Kjell De Vriese

Predoctoral fellow

Kjell De Vriese graduated as a Master in Biochemistry and Biotechnology (Major: Plant Biotechnology & Biochemistry) at the University of Ghent in 2013. He did his Master dissertation at PSB in the Auxin group led by Prof. Dr. Jiří Friml, with Prof. Dr. Tom Beeckman as promotor. He joined the Root Development Group led by Prof. Dr. Tom Beeckman in October 2013, and is now working on his PhD project “Analysis of auxin-induced Ca2+ signalling via chemical genetics”.

Ana Rita MENDES LEAL

Ana Rita MENDES LEAL

Predoctoral fellow

Ana Rita graduated as a Master in Biochemistry by University of Coimbra (Portugal) in 2011. During the Master dissertation and until 2013 she worked in biochemical characterization of bacterial enzymes. In 2013 she moved to Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica (Portugal) to integrate the Genomic of Plant Stress lab – GPlantS. In 2015 she started her joint PhD, funded by Plants for Life PhD program (FCT-Portugal), between GPlantS and Root development group (PSB). Her project will be focused in the stress impact on suberin deposition, in Arabidopsis root development (PSB) and in Cork oak periderm development (GPlantS).


Davy Opdenacker

Davy Opdenacker

Lab manager

Davy Opdenacker obtained the degree of Bachelor in Biomedical Laboratory Techniques in 2010, specialized in Pharmacy and Biotechnology at HOGent Vesalius, Ghent. After running his internship in the Microscopy Core Facility at the DMBR department of VIB, he started his career as a lab technician at the PSB Department, joining the Agronomics project in the Functional Genomics group. In 2012 he became one of the Oxidative Stress Signaling group to partake in the ‘Stressnet’ R&D industrial project. In January 2014, Davy switched to the Root Development Group to follow in the footsteps of GertVan Isterdael, specializing in Fluorescence Activated Cell sorting.

Maria Fransiska Njo

Maria Fransiska Njo

Technician

Maria Fransiska Njo graduated as biologist in Indonesia (1995) and moved to Belgium to work on a project on taxonomy of ferns at the Biology Department of the Ghent University. From 1998 to 1999, she joined the at that time starting “Root Development group” in the Molecular Genetics Department of the same university and contributed to the establishment of a highly reproducible lateral root initiation system (LRIS) that later turned out to become an essential research tool for the group. From 1999 onwards she moved to industry as technician, first in Oprins Plant (1999-2000) and later in BASF, Crospscience (2000-2008). In 2008, she returned to the Root Development group now embedded in the PSB department of the VIB.

Alexa DE KNIJF

Alexa DE KNIJF

Technician

Alexa De Knijf graduated in 2015 as a Bachelor in Biomedical Laboratory Techniques, specialized in Pharmacy and Biotechnology at the Technologiecampus Odisee in Ghent. Right after getting her degree, she started working in September 2015 in the root development group led by Prof. Dr. Tom Beeckman, where she also did her internship during her studies.


Dominique Audenaert

Dominique Audenaert

Research manager

Dominique Audenaert obtained his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences in the Molecular Genetics department at the University of Antwerp, Belgium (2005) under the supervision of Christine Van Broeckhoven. From October 2005 until September 2012, he has worked as a postdoctoral fellow of the FWO at VIB-UGent in the department of Plant Systems Biology to study plant biology by means of chemical biology approaches. He has also contributed in the development of a compound screening platform, which led to the establishment of the VIB Compound Screening Facility (CSF) in January 2007. He has headed the VIB-CSF since then and has been involved both in medical- and plant-related screening projects. Since October 2012, he works as research manager at the VIB-CSF. His main research activities include assay development, high-throughput screening and the application of small molecules to study biological processes.

Long (Le Son) Nguyen

Long (Le Son) Nguyen

Technician

Long (Le Son) Nguyen obtained in 2004 the degree of "Industrial engineer chemistry/biochemistry" at "PIH " in Kortrijk. In 2005, he completed an advanced master program in "Molecular Biotechnology" at Ghent University in Belgium. Since 2007, Long has been working at VIB Compound Screening Facility which is integrated in the root development group. There he is primarily responsible for the technical development of the high-throughput screening platform including assay development, assay automation and screening.

Andrzej Drozdzecki

Andrzej Drozdzecki

Technician


Riet De Rycke

Riet De Rycke

Technician

Riet De Rycke graduated in 1982 as a licentiaat in biology at the University of Ghent in Belgium. She started to work with a Siemens Elmiscope 101 electron microscope in 1986 in the laboratory of Prof.Dr.Marc Van Montagu. Since 2003 she is responsible for the IRC/PSB/DMPR TEM-Core facility using a Jeol JEM 1400plus and side equipment from Leica. Making use of cryomethods she provides morphological analysis and immunogold-labelling in plant and animal systems.

Michiel De Bruyne

Michiel De Bruyne

Technician

Michiel De Bruyne obtained the degree of Bachelor in Biomedical Laboratory Techniques in 2012, specialized in Pharmacy and Biotechnology at KaHo Sint-Lieven (now Odisee), Ghent. After running his internship in the Dirk Inzé lab at PSB, he started working as a lab technician for the IRC/PSB/DMPR TEM-Core facility in 2012.

 

  • Bert De Rybel: Bert graduated from the faculty of Bioscience Engineering of Ghent University in 2005 before starting his PhD research in the group of Prof.Tom Beeckman focussing on early lateral root development. For his post-doc on early vascular development, in early 2010 he moved to the lab of Prof. Dolf Weijers at Wageningen University funded by Marie-Curie and FEBS post-doc grants. He received a prestigious NWO VIDI grant to continue this line of research in a independent manner. Early 2015, Bert moved back to the Department of Plant Systems Biology of VIB/Ghent University funded by an FWO Odysseus grant to work as a project leader on vascular development. In 2017, Bert started his own Vascular Development Group.
  • Wouter Smet: Wouter started his PhD in 2014 in the Weijers lab under supervision of Bert De Rybel. Early 2015, Bert and Wouter moved to join Tom's Root Development Group, and in 2017 they started the Vascular Development Group.
  • Brecht Wybouw: Brecht started his PhD in the Root Development lab in 2014, and in 2017, he moved to Bert De Rybel's new Vascular Development Group.
  • Ianto Roberts: Master and PhD (2010 - 2016): Ianto did his Maters thesis and PhD in the Root Development Group from Prof. Dr. Tom Beeckman. He unraveled cell-cell communication mechanisms at play during lateral root organogenesis (IWT funding).
  • Wei Xuan: PhD 2009-2015: Xuan focused on his project “chemical approaches to study lateral root development”.
  • Patricio Perez: Visitor student 2014 (PhD Student at University of Chile 2011-2016): He did his undergraduate studies in molecular biotechnology engineering at University of Chile with one semester abroad in UC Davis. As graduate student at Lorena Norambuena's lab, he tried to identify molecular components that regulate the formation of lateral roots upon chemical stimulation with Sortin2. He also led an applied science project, aiming to increase tomato production yield through the modification of the root system, in parallel to his PhD project. He holds a specialization diploma in preparation and evaluation of projects and he is deeply interested in agrochemical business development and industrial property areas.
  • Beata Orman: PhD & PostDoc 2013-2015: Beata joined the Root Development group, with Prof. Tom Beeckman as a co-supervisor of her PhD thesis “auxin-related genes involved in lateral root formation in barley” (BOF founding)
  • Sarieh Ghorbani: PhD 2009-2014: Sarieh has been working on revealing the role of GOLVEN secretory peptide on lateral root development.
  • Qian Chen: PostDoc 2011-2014: Qian joined the Root Laboratory to focus on stem cell maintenance during primary root and lateral root development.
  • Marlies Demeulenaere: PhD 2009-2014: Marlies got an IWT PhD grant to study the function of the transcription factor GATA23 during lateral root initiation in Arabidopsis thaliana.
  • Yang Liu:
  • Inge Verstraeten: Inge worked on adventitious rooting, with the aim to find new adventitious root inducing chemicals and to improve rooting in recalcitrant species, as a joined PhD project between the Plant Production Department and the Root Development Group (funded by IWT).
  • Marleen Vanstraelen: Supported by an FWO fellowship, Marleen studied intercellular communication during the early steps of lateral root formation.
  • Giel Van Noorden: PostDoc 2008-2012
  • Lorena Lopez Galvis: PhD 2007-2011
  • Leentje Jansen: PhD 2005-2011
  • Wim Grunewald: PhD & PostDoc 2004-2010
  • Jérôme Gennen: PhD 2004-2005
  • Lies Maes: PhD & PostDoc 2002-2008
  • Ive De Smet: PhD 2001-2006 & PostDoc 2010
  • Steffen Vanneste: PhD & PostDoc 2001-2009
  • Kristiina Himanen: PhD 1999-2003
  • Gert Van Isterdael: Technician 2007-2012. Gert was FACS (Fluorescence Activated Cell sorting) operator for the PSB department and was involved in multiple cell sorting projects.
  • Philippe Fonteyne: Technician 2010-2011
  • Mirande Naudts: Technician 2002-2008
  • Paul Overvorde: Visitor scientist 2009-2010
  • Valya Vassileva: Visitor scientist 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Siegbert Melzer: Visitor scientist 2004-2007
  • Julien Lavenus: PhD Student exchange 2009
  • Cristian Forestan: PhD exchange 2006-2007
  • Toke Thiron: Intership 2009-2010
  • Diana Angelica Carvajal Bernal: Intership 2008-2009
  • Nicolas Frei Dit Frey: Intership 2002