Daan de Groot made it 5th at the 2018 EC Duathlon — Talking about resource allocation!

For those of you who do not know Daan. He is a PhD student in our lab, working on a mathematical theory about optimal metabolism for microbial growth-rate maximisation and its experimental testing. One of the principles underlying his theory is optimal allocation of limited resources for the synthesis of metabolic enzymes. What turns out is that Daan is also an expert in allocating his own limited resources.

Daan is a talented road cyclist. A decade ago he competed with riders who are currently riding the tours of Italy, France and Spain. (I regularly wish I had those skills, but let us not go there.) During multiple day cycling events, which can even last several weeks, it is all about staying fit and focussed, while your body is slowing draining resources, which you cannot readily supplement with food. We call this fatigue. Cyclists learn how to the optimise their balance of performance and fatigue, which is one closely associated with optimal resource allocation. Recently, Daan has added a new resource-allocation trick on his sleeve.

He started duathlon, a run then bike then run event. Duathlon is a growing sport in the Netherlands and highly popular in the USA. It is closely related to triathlon, an Olympic sport. During a run-bike-run it is all about allocation of energy resources. Daan found an optimal way of solving this problem during last weekend’s European Championship (EC), in Vejle (Denmark), by focussing on what he does best.

Daan cycles better than he runs. His strategy during the EC was to save resources during the first run, go as fast as possible on his bike, and then run until he can no longer stand. And what a wise choice this was! After the first run he was amongst the slowest, he was the fastest cyclist and was 5th when crossing the finish line. We congratulate Daan with this major achievement!

For more information about the Vejle EC Duathlon 2018 see this link.

Here you see Daan riding earlier this year when he won the Duathlon in Geluwe (Belgium).


Frank gave his inaugural speech

On Wednesday, June 29, Frank gave his inaugural speech for this University Research Chair in Interdisciplinary Life Sciences. The speech was in Dutch and with it came a written text. The day ended with a party where Frank received two wonderful gifts from the department and other colleagues: a glider (sailplane) flight and a picture of Frank explaining his Fabulous Fundamental Formula of Fitness, printed on wood.


You can download the written text (in Dutch) by clicking: inaugurele rede.


We have a vacancy for a PhD position

The Systems Bioinformatics section of the VU University in Amsterdam (NL) is offering a 3-year position for a

PhD student to study How a single cell integrates multiple signals via one of its G-protein coupled receptors

We are looking for a master student with a degree in systems biology, biophysics, or molecular biology who is highly motivated to pursue a PhD study. You should be highly interested in combining state-of-the-art fluorescence microscopy with theoretical methods to understand how single human cells integrate signals via one of its G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) and its downstream signalling network. You will be working with FRET-sensors, which monitor the activation of particular G-proteins upon GPCR activation, and fluorescent reporters of downstream signalling activity. Theoretical methods from systems biology and biophysics shall be used for data analysis, mechanistic understanding and predictive modelling.

This project is part of the European Marie Curie ITN project “CaSR Biomedicine”. It combines the expertise of about 10 EU-research labs that aim to understand the role of the calcium sensing receptor, a GPCR, from protein to patient level. This vacancy is at the section Systems Bioinformatics (www.teusinklab.nl, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and the Molecular Cytology lab (www.molecularcytology.nl, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands). Students are only eligible if at the time of the selection by the host university, the candidate has not resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the starting date.

Please send your CV (including your grade list) and the contact information of two  previous supervisors to Prof Dr Frank J Bruggeman (f.j.bruggeman@vu.nl).

For additional information see:

We organised an introductory systems biology course

As part of the BioSB Research School, which brings together bioinformaticians and systems biologists, we organised an introductory systems-biology course. In this course, we focussed on the basics of mathematical modelling of molecular circuits and the emergent properties of those circuits, such as their (in)stability, robustness and (in)sensitivity properties. We will organise a similar course next year; so keep an eye on the BioSB website to stay informed, or register for their mailing list.