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The CMCB comprises research groups from the Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL), the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) and the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC).

Briegel Lab: How microbes sense and respond to their environment

In the Briegel lab, we are interested in understanding how microbes sense and respond to their environment. How are the cells able to actively seek out their preferred environmental niches, how can they effectively evade toxins and predators, and how can they adapt to thrive in changing environments?

In order to gain insight into the structure and function of the molecular complexes involved in these behaviors, we use electron cryotomography (ECT). This technique allows us to directly study microbes in their native state at resolutions capable of visualizing individual proteins.

Claessen Lab: Multicellular growth and development in filamentous bacteria streptomycetes

The Claessen lab studies morphogenesis and phenotypic heterogeneity in filamentous actinomycetes, which are prolific antibiotic producers. We pursue several research projects that span areas of multicellular growth and development, stress-adaptation and microbial evolution. By using multidisciplinary approaches, we aim to tackle fundamental questions, and use the generated knowledge to improve industrial exploitation of these organisms.

Dame Lab: Chromosome structure and function in bacteria and archaea

The Dame lab investigates the mechanisms by which the genomes of bacteria and archaea are structurally and functionally organized. The lab explores at the structural level how individual chromatin proteins act upon genomic DNA, how this translates into global organization of the genome inside life cells and how genome organization affects DNA transactions and vice versa. Of specific interest is how these processes are influenced by the cellular environment. The approach used combines molecular and cellular biochemistry with life cell imaging.

Lamers Lab: Mechanisms of high fidelity DNA replication

The Lamers lab studies the molecular mechanisms that ensure faithful replication of the genetic information stored in the DNA. In particular we are interested in how mutations are avoided during DNA synthesis, and errors removed after DNA synthesis. For this we study three intricately linked processes: DNA replication, DNA mismatch repair, and translesion DNA synthesis.
To gain insights into these complicated molecular processes, we use a combination of structural methods (cryo-EM, protein crystallography), biochemical methods, and single molecule methods. Together, these methods give a complete picture of high fidelity genome replication and provide new avenues to prevent increased mutagenesis that causes cancer in humans and antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

Smits Lab: Reconstruction of gene regulatory network of the Gram positive pathogenic bacterium Clostridium difficile

The Smits lab focuses on the reconstruction of gene regulatory network of the Gram positive pathogenic bacterium Clostridium difficile and the identification and characterization of potential targets for antibiotic development, especially DNA replication. We aim to understand how the integrity of the genome is maintained under environmental stresses, including those imposed by the host and by antimicrobials. The research employers a variety of genetic, molecular and biochemical techniques, which in part are developed within the group itself.

Van Wezel Lab: Control of growth, cell division and of antibiotic production in streptomyces

Focus of my research is to provide novel insight into the complex regulatory pathways that control growth, development and antibiotic production of filamentous actinomycetes, and apply this knowledge for improved commercialization of these important industrial microorganisms. A major driving force behind my research is the strong resonance between fundamental and applied research, which in my view should be mutually supportive and cross-feeding.

The main research lines of my group are:

  1. Discovery of novel antimicrobials
  2. Nutrient sensing and global control of antibiotic production
  3. Control of cell division and morphogenesis in streptomycetes
  4. Sugar metabolism and carbon catabolite control
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