Lab Vanderhaeghen


Our research focuses on two main research topics:

Natural transformation in Actinobacteria
The ability of bacteria to obtain DNA by natural transformation is highly conserved in gram positive and gram negative bacteria. Genes enabling DNA uptake are pilus associated. In Micrococcus, we recently discovered a novel mechanism in which Flp pili are essential (Angelov 2015). Thus, we are highly interested in understanding natural transformation in Micrococcus and further high G+C Actinobacteria.


Metagenome screening by using alternative expression hosts
Bacterial enzymes are an issue of increasing interest as they offer the perspective to increasingly use renewable resources as raw materials for production processes in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, and to reduce the demand for petrol-based compounds. Metagenome analysis allows studying the microorganisms in a sample without the need to cultivate them. Function-based metagenome analyses are almost exclusively performed in the classical cloning and expression host Escherichia coli. However, since the genetic diversity of complex environmental samples is vast, only a fraction of the genes encoding a certain function in a metagenomic library can be successfully detected. Thus, we are interested in establishing novel expression hosts (e.g. Leis et al. 2015).