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Bacterial respiration and bioenergetics

Denitrification and nitrous oxide emissions

Regulation and adaptive responses of bacterial regulatory networks

Bioenergetics of Mycobacteria; in search of novel drug targets

Microbial physiology

Systems Ecology

Bioremediation of contaminated soils; dioxins, oil and farmaceuticals

Microbial communities organization and function

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Short description of research experience and interests

Rob van Spanning is  Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Cell Biology at the Vrije Universiteit of  Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He holds a PhD in microbial physiology and molecular microbiology from the same university. His research interests are i) in understanding versatility and adaptive responses of bacterial respiration (from gene to function and back), and ii) in a fundamental understanding of make up and activity of microbial communities and their succession upon changes in their environment. For i) he studies the genetic and metabolic regulation, cellular organisation, function and biochemistry of a range of aerobic and anaerobic electron transport systems. He has ample experience in cloning, (homologous and heterologous) expression and in functional analyses of bacterial redox enzymes. For ii) he correlates microbial community make up to their function using different types of metagenomics analyses. He is skilled in i) a variety of genetic and analytical methods concerned with the functional characterization of enzymes (spectroscopy, reporter gene fusions, redox titrations, quinone/quinol extractions, kinetics of substrate consumption/product formation, purification, up to date general genetic and biochemical procedures), in ii) a variety of culturing techniques (batch, fed batch, chemostats, auxostats, retentostats), and in iii) fluorescence spectroscopy (fluorimeters, confocal microscopy).

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User created Keywords

  • Microbial ecology
  • Metagenomics
  • Community profiling
  • Bioremediation
  • Bacterial fingerprinting
  • Mesocosms
  • Bacterial respiration
  • Denitrification
  • Nitrous oxide emissions
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Free energy transduction
  • Nitrification


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