QBio Symposium

Speakers 2020

Principal Investigator / Associate Professor in the Center for Molecular Medicine of the UMC Utrecht, Netherlands

November 5th 2020

Dr. Ir. Jeroen de Ridder started his career at Delft University of Technology (TUD) where, in 2005, he obtained his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering (cum laude). He then did his PhD on pathway discovery in insertional mutagenesis data at the Reinders group (TUD) and at the Wessels group (Netherlands Cancer Institute). Then dr. de Ridder has been an Assistant Professor in the Delft Bioinformatics Lab from 2010 to 2016, after which he moved into his current position at the UMC Utrecht. 

In his group, they “create and apply innovative data science methods to advance our understanding of disease biology “. Their main focus is to use big data to answer meaningful biological questions. As a result, they make use of statistical and computing tools such as machine learning and data integration algorithms. The four main research areas studied at his group are: 

  • Genome conformation
  • Non-coding mutations
  • Interpretable machine learning
  • Data integration methods

Dr. Jeroen de Ridder is also the co-founder of Cyclomics, a company that aims at improving cancer diagnosis by detecting tumor circulating DNA in the blood of patients.  

Personal Chair in Complex Microbial Ecosystems at Wageningen University 

November 12th 2020

Prof. dr. Hauke Smidt studied Biotechnology at the Technical University of Braunschweig, the University of Kyoto, Japan, and at the University of Stuttgart, Germany. He received his PhD in 2001 at Wageningen University, and has worked as a postdoc with prof. Dave Stahl at the University of Washington, Seattle, focusing on the development of DNA arrays for microbial community analyses. Hauke Smidt heads the Microbial Ecology Group at the Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University & Research. His research focuses on the integrated application of innovative cultivation and functional genomics-based methods to study composition and activity of microbial communities.  

Key areas of interest include: 

  • Microbiota associated with the intestinal tract in humans, production animals and wildlife
  • Microbial communities in environmental biotechnology
  • Microbes and their cellular biomarkers as proxies for ecosystem life history & environmental change

In this context, research in the Smidt group increasingly follows a OneHealth philosophy that links environmental, human and animal health, including, but not limited to, the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria and their genes. 

Netherlands Forensic Institute

November 20th 2020

After graduating from high school in Utrecht, dr. Jeroen Warnaar started his career in the same city studying Biology at the Utrecht University. In 2001, he obtained his Master’s degree cum laude in the field of paleoecology. Hereafter, dr. Warnaar started his PhD research, focusing on the climatological implications of Australian-Antarctic separation. 

Although he had enjoyed the research and  topics in paleoclimatology, he chose not to continue his career in this direction. Instead, he started working as a DNA expert at the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI). The NFI is a Dutch-based innovator and supplier of forensic goods and services. Very important in forensic research on a crime scene is looking for biological traces. DNA samples are of great importance in this research to link persons to a crime scene. Analyses of these samples are not always easy. For example, DNA can be degraded, mixed, or it might belong to identical twins. Even though these obstacles can complicate DNA sample analysis in forensic work, biological traces do not lie. Therefore, this research is essential for good crime scene investigation, to support our legal system and a safe society.

INRA Université de Bordeaux UMR BIOGECO, France

November 26th 2020

A pioneer in his field, dr. Antoine Kremer received his PhD in quantitative genetics and habilitation degree in population genetics at the University of Paris (Orsay) and is now Scientist Emeritus at the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) Bordeaux. He  was the one to initiate a Europe-wide research on the genetic diversity of oaks in the ’80s based on population genetics and evolutionary biology. In 2003, he established the UMR BIOGECO (BIOdiversity, Genes and ECOsystems), a joint research unit at INRA with the support of the university of Bordeaux. As Research Director at BIOGECO, he has written more than 180 articles.  

My main research interest relates to the evolution of genetic diversity and differentiation between natural populations, at various hierarchical levels where diversity is expressed (from genes to phenotypic traits). The main emphasis of my research activities is the understanding of evolutionary forces that contribute to the distribution of diversity and differentiation. While focusing at the beginning on the past history of tree populations, my current interest addresses future evolution in the context of environmental changes.  I am therefore using microevolutionary approaches by linking genetics, genomics and ecology, along six major research areas.