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- faculteit der bètawetenschappen ( wiskunde ), faculteit der bètawetenschappen ( subafdeling systeembioinformatica )
- Associate professor
Prof Dr Frank Bruggeman holds a VU University Research Chair (URC) in Interdisciplinary Life Sciences. Together with Prof Dr Bas Teusink, he is leading the Systems Bioinformatics section.
In 2012, he received a NWO-VIDI grant that allowed him to study the survival strategies of microorganisms in dynamic environments using theoretical and experimental approaches.
His research is mostly curiosity-driven and related to his amazement about the wonderful capacities of biological cells. They grow in different conditions, deal with stresses, repair themselves and make copies of themselves; which is truly amazing. All these capacities emerge from molecular-reaction networks inside cells, which are subject to continuous evolutionary tinkering, especially those of fast-replicating microorganisms.
Most of the research in the Systems Bioinformatics section is motivated by a conviction that biological phenomena are often understandable in terms of general physicochemical and evolutionary principles. Those principles are often of a stunning simplicity, which is surprising given the complexity of many biological phenomena.
We aim to discover those principles using combined experimental and theoretical approaches. In projects, we generally study the phenotypic and evolutionary adaptation of (single) cells to new conditions, with a focus on metabolic, regulatory and stochastic phenomena.
Characteristics research questions of the Systems Bioinformatics section are:
How can cells stably grow, even though they are intrinsically dynamic systems and highly sensitive to their environment?
Why can cells deal so well with environmental dynamics; what are their operational limits?
What are the principles of metabolism coordination required for robust, bacterial growth?
How can we relate cellular fitness to the molecular circuitry responsible for metabolism and signalling?
How does the inherent stochasticity of biochemical reactions limit and facilitate the adaptation of single cells to new conditions?
How do cells integrate information about the state of their environment?