The Micropia chair research group 'Host Microbe Interactions' at VU University Amsterdam

The Micropia research group in the O2 laboratory building of the VU University Amsterdam set out to investigate the role bacteria play in our health. The group is part of the Systems Biology Laboratory at VU University. Head of the group is Remco Kort, who has been a professor at the VU since 2010 and was officially appointed as a Micropia professor from 27 October 2017.

Researchers in the group

Based on hospitality, microbiologist Rosanne Hertzberger conducts research into the metabolism of vaginal bacteria, among other things to find an explanation for the high acidity of the human vagina and to find better treatment methods for bacterial vaginosis. Rosanne maintains a blog of her work in the laboratory found here.

The PhD student in the group is Nieke Westerik. She is conducting an intervention study with probiotic yogurt with Ugandan school children. She has set up the school feeding program, which now includes 30,000 school children. Read more about her activities in Uganda here. Alex Paul Wacoo also conducts research as a PhD student in the microbial fermentation group. The spearhead of his research is the development of a method for the detection and detoxification of aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are toxins commonly found in corn and peanuts. They are fungal, but can be bound and degraded by fermentation. The PhD students from the group are Dr. Joke Dols (Clinical perspective on the vaginal microbiome, January 13, 2016) and Dr. Charlotte van der Veer (Vaginal microbes in sexual health and disease, January 11, 2019).

The MSc students are Luuk van Oijen, who studies the dynamics of microbial populations in fermenting raw milk into kefir, and Job Schlösser, who works on the isolation and typing of an intestinal bacterium that correlates with language development in Ugandan children.

Researchers that are collaborated with include Dr. Wilbert Sybesma (DSM, Basel, Switzerland and founder of Yoba for Life) and Prof. dr. Per Ole Iversen (University of Oslo). The research group receives a grant for research from the Yoba for Life foundation and the VU University.