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Personal information


The aim of my research

Understanding control and regulation of metabolism to reveal selective drug targets in pathogens and other disease-causing cells.

Current research topics

  • Control and regulation in parasite metabolism (Trypanosoma brucei, Schistosoma mansoni)
  • Metabolism of cancer cells (liver cancer, head- and neck cancer)
  • Systematic design of cell culture media.

Some highlights of my research:

  • In-depth analysis of glucose and amino acid metabolism in liver cancer cells (Nilsson, Haanstra et al., 2020)
  • Experimental proof for the model hypothesis that compartmentation of glycolysis in Trypanosoma brucei is essential to prevent a metabolic catastrophe (Haanstra et al., 2008).
  • Proof-of-principle that eukaryotic metabolism can be targeted with limited side-effects to host cells (Haanstra et al., 2017)
  • Understanding control and regulation in gene expression of the eukaryote Trypanosoma brucei – ranging from a three-gene locus (Haanstra et al, 2008) to genome-wide (Antwi et al., 2016)

My experience spans a broad range in (systems) biology – from wetlab experimentation to computational modelling. Depending on the needs in the project I contributed experimental data (e.g. Nilsson, Haanstra et al., 2020, Bosdriesz et al., 2018), computational models and/or simulations (e.g. Leroux, Haanstra et al., 2013),  or both (e.g. Haanstra et al., 2017, Haanstra et al., 2008)


  • Coordination of the master Biomolecular Sciences. This master has the specialisations Molecular Cell Biology, Biological Chemistry and Molecular Bioinformatics and trains students to become independent researchers.
  • Examiner and lecturer of the bachelor course ‘Systeembiology’ (Systems biology) for Biology students
  • Lecturer in the master course ‘Parasitology’ in which I teach the subject ‘Metabolism of Parasites’
  • Internship supervisor bachelor and master internships 5-10 students each year


Managing director of the Amsterdam Institute of Molecular and Life Sciences.

The mission of AIMMS is to gain fundamental understanding of molecules and their interaction with biological systems to improve human health and the environment. AIMMS integrates various disciplines to understand, modulate, and use chemical and biological processes. AIMMS strives towards excellence in research and (post)doctoral training. AIMMS believes that excellence in translational and applied research is fuelled by strong fundamental science.

As managing director I coordinate the actions to fulfil this mission.

Ancillary activities

No ancillary activities

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


  • QR Microbiology
  • Trypanosoma brucei


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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