I’m currently involved in several research projects, including the study of single bacterial cell (E. coli and B. subtilis) growth rate regulation, quantification of the fitness contribution of every non-essential S. cerevisiae gene in adaptations to oxygen availability fluctuations, and the development and characterization of FRET-based metabolite sensors.
My main focus is on growth rate regulation in single bacterial cells, investigating how the fundamental growth laws derived from population-level measurements relate to the growth behaviour of individual cells. To this end, I employ time-lapse microscopy and an in-house-developed generic pipeline for monitoring, segmenting and tracking of individual cells in dense bacterial cultures.
Non-genetic origins of phenotypic variability
Coordination of growth and metabolism
Dynamic (fast) and adaptive (slow) aspects of metabolic regulation
Metabolic and physiological adaptation strategies
Single-cell measurement techniques
Developing and improving experimental methodologies
I obtained my B.Sc. (2006) and M.Sc. (2009) degrees in molecular cell biology from the University of Cape Town (South Africa). I started my research career by investigating the potential to exploit gene expression profiles of peripheral tissues as non-invasive diagnostic indicators of psychiatric states, which culminated in my M.Sc. dissertation. In 2009, I joined Prof. Bas Teusink as a PhD student, venturing into the world of microbial physiology and metabolism. In this position, I researched the dynamic regulation of glycolysis in baker’s yeast, focusing on the role that trehalose metabolism plays during transitions from low to high glucose environments.
In 2014, I joined Prof. Frank Bruggeman as a post-doctoral research, where I set out to understand how the processes of growth and division impact the stability and variability of phenotypic traits in microbial populations. In this position, I co-developed a pipeline for the automated segmentation and tracking of individual cells in dense bacterial cultures.
Recently, I became a junior staff member in the Systems Bioinformatics group, where I am involved in several research projects while continuing to pursue a deeper understanding of growth processes at the single cell level.
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1108, 1081 HZ, Amsterdam
Faculty of Earth and Life Science
Room O|2 01W55
tel: +31 (0)20 598 6993
mail: please click my photo
N Nordholt, J van Heerden, R Kort, FJ Bruggeman (2017). Effects of growth rate and promoter activity on single-cell protein expression. Scientific Reports 7:6229
C van Boxtel, JH van Heerden*, N Nordholt, P Schmidt, FJ Bruggeman (2017). Taking chances and making mistakes: non-genetic phenotypic heterogeneity and its consequences for surviving in dynamic environments. Journal of The Royal Society Interface 14 (132), 20170141
JH van Heerden*, H Kempe, A Doerr, T Maarleveld, N Nordholt, FJ Bruggeman (2017). Statistics and simulation of growth of single bacterial cells: illustrations with B. subtilis and E. coli. Scientific Reports 7:16094
*Shared first authorship
Iraes Rabbers, Johan H. van Heerden, Niclas Nordholt, Herwig Bachmann, Bas Teusink, Frank J. Bruggeman (2015). Metabolism at evolutionary optimal States. Metabolites (2):3
JH van Heerden, FJ Bruggeman, B Teusink (2015). Multi‐tasking of biosynthetic and energetic functions of glycolysis explained by supply and demand logic. BioEssays 37 (1), 34-45
Johan H van Heerden, Meike T Wortel, Frank J Bruggeman, Joseph J Heijnen, Yves JM Bollen, Robert Planqué, Josephus Hulshof, Tom G O’Toole, S Aljoscha Wahl, Bas Teusink, (2014). Lost in Transition: Startup of Glycolysis Yields Subpopulations of Nongrowing Cells. Science, 1245114
Johan H van Heerden, Meike T Wortel, Frank J Bruggeman, Joseph J Heijnen, Yves JM Bollen, Robert Planqué, Josephus Hulshof, Tom G O’Toole, S Aljoscha Wahl, Bas Teusink, (2014). Fatal attraction in glycolysis: how Saccharomyces cerevisiae manages sudden transitions to high glucose. Microbial Cell 1 (3), 103-106
JH van Heerden, V Russell, A Korff, DJ Stein, N Illing, (2010). Evaluating the behavioural consequences of early maternal separation in adult C57BL/6 mice; the importance of time. Behavioural brain research 207 (2), 332-342
DS Williamson, KC Dent, BW Weber, A Varsani, J Frederick, RN Thuku, RA Cameron, JH van Heerden, DA Cowan, BT Sewell, (2010). Structural and biochemical characterization of a nitrilase from the thermophilic bacterium,Geobacillus pallidus RAPc8. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 88:143-153 [DOI] [PubMed]
J van Heerden, A Conesa, D Stein, D Montaner, V Russell, N Illing, (2009). Parallel changes in gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and the brain after maternal separation in the mouse. BMC research notes 2 (1), 195
J van Heerden, SA Walford, A Shen, N Illing, (2007). A framework for the informed normalization of printed microarrays. South African Journal of Science 103 (9-10), 381-390
N. Illing, S. Walford, A. Shen, J. van Heerden, N. Immelman, N. Mulder, DK. Denby, (2007). Molecular tools to study desiccation tolerance in the resurrection plant Xerophyta humilis. South African J. Bot. 73:487-487
Supervision of students (BSc and MSc)
|Mirushe Isaku||Frank Bruggeman||Towards Schizosaccharomyces pombe as an alternative model for eukaryotic metabolism||BSc||2017|
|Ioanna Chatzigiannidou||Frank Bruggeman||Modulating stress susceptibility in E. coli through environmental conditioning||MSc||2015|
|Coco van Boxtel||Frank Bruggeman||Implementing and evaluating Spinach2 for in vivo flourescence based monitoring of intracellular ADP levels in E. coli||MSc||2015|
|Joyce Lam||Bas Teusink/Joachim Goedhart||In vitro characterizing of the pH-dependence of FRET-sensors for glycoltyic intermediates||MSc||2014|
|Phillipp Schmidt||Frank Bruggeman/Anne Schwabe||Quantifying the reciprocal regulation of the PFK/FBP enzyme pair in yeast, using RNA FISH||MSc||2014|
|Valentijn Jansen||Bas Teusink||Evaluting the pH dependence of glycolytic enzyme activities||BSc||2013|
|Wen Korrel||Bas Teusink||Implementing FRET-sensors for the in vivo quantification of glycolytic metabolites in S. cerevisiae||BSc||2013|
|Sandra Windhorst||Bas Teusink||Intracellular pH dynamics of tps1- mutants||BSc||2011|
|Bahar Ramezanpour||Bas Teusink||Glucose tolerance of tps1- mutants||BSc||2010|