New IBL-professor in "Computational Biology": Vera van Noort
Vera van Noort has been appointed Professor in the field of Computational Biology within the Faculty of Science at the Institute of Biology from the 1st of February 2017. Van Noort’s expertise is in bioinformatics and her research focuses on the computational analysis of large-scale biological data that are being generated by a growing number of new technologies.
Vera van Noort earned her MSc in Biology with a specialisation in Bioinformatics from Utrecht University in 2002. Her thesis work focused on biological sequence analysis. After her MSc, Van Noort did research on comparative genomics of eukaryotes at the Radboud University Nijmegen. She obtained her PhD cum laude in 2007 and received a NWO Rubicon fellowship to join the EMBL, Germany. After a few years as a postdoctoral fellow, she was appointed as Staff Scientist.
In October 2013, Van Noort started her own research group within the Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics at the KU Leuven. Her group is interested in understanding biological systems as a whole. Van Noort has published over 40 articles in major scientific journals and is experienced in teaching bioinformatics and genomics.
Vera van Noort and her research group apply existing computational methods and also develop new algorithms. Depending on the biological question, they pick from an array of bioinformatic methods including genomics, proteomics, molecular phylogenies, 3D modeling, network analysis and data integration to gain more insight into biological systems.
“I am particularly fascinated by the molecular functions of proteins, how these change in evolution and how proteins work together. Proteins are regulated by post-translational modifications (PTMs). These PTMs are therefore a large focus of the group.” – Vera van Noort
Vera van Noort at the Institute of Biology Leiden
At the Institute of Biology, Van Noort will be involved in teaching bioinformatics to both Biology and Informatics & Biology students. Bioinformatic skills are integrated in the Biology curriculum in different courses such as Systems Biology in the Bachelor and Genomics in the Master program.
Next to that, the research group of Van Noort in Leuven has started collaborative projects with research groups of the Institute of Biology Leiden on peptide-protein interactions and the molecular evolution of a specific group of transcription factors. In the future, she will develop more collaborative projects where bioinformatics generates hypotheses that can be validated in the wet-lab.