Universiteit Leiden

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Institute of Biology Leiden

Research themes

The Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL) is an internationally oriented institute for research and education in biology.

Our aim is to perform top quality innovative fundamental and strategic research that will lead to scientific progress, contribute to solutions for societal challenges, and generate industrial opportunities, reflected in our general theme ‘Harnessing Biodiversity for Health’.

The Institute is organised in three multidisciplinary clusters Animal Sciences, Plant Sciences and Microbial Sciences. Our research focusses on four research themes:

Bioactive Molecules

To study, discover and develop novel bioactive compounds obtained from nature’s biodiversity.

All living systems are assembled from nature’s repertoire of small, medium, and large organic molecules. The Bioactive Molecules research theme focuses on the study, discovery and development of novel bioactive compounds obtained from Nature's biodiversity. We aim for new insights into the role of these molecules in the natural environment, and how they affect the complex biological processes relevant to health and disease.

Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Nathaniel Martin

Development & Disease

To study how stresses challenge and affect development in order to improve health.

Living systems scale from unicellular microbes to complex multispecies communities that constantly change over time. Within the theme Development & Disease, we enhance our fundamental understanding of development and homeostasis of living cells and systems. We analyze the normal situation and how stresses can challenge development and homeostasis, leading either to adaptive alterations, or to disease and death. We harness this knowledge to improve the health of living systems worldwide.

Coordinator: Dr. Salma Balazadeh

Evolution & Biodiversity

To study how evolutionary and ecological interactions affect phenotypic and genetic diversity.

Evolutionary and ecological interactions affect species on genetic and phenotypic levels. The Evolution & Diversity research theme aims to understand these processes at multiple levels: from molecules to genomes to populations and to communities. Our research focuses on evolutionary responses to anthropogenic change, the role of phenotypic plasticity, coevolution, and the mechanisms of adaptive changes. We thereby seek to develop an integrated understanding of how life on Earth evolves.

Coordinator: Dr. Katharina Riebel

Host-Microbe Interactions

To study microbial interactions and empower humans, animals and plants against disease and pests.

Microbes influence and respond to other organisms such as fungi, plants and animals. The Host-Microbe Interactions research theme examines interactions in plant and animal microbiomes, and in immune defences of hosts against microbes. We make use of model systems such as zebrafish, insects and plants, and the engineering of microbes and microbiomes in order to contribute to sustainable host protection.

Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Ir. Martijn Bezemer

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