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After spending several years studying Life Science & Technology at the TU Delft, I transitioned to a new research environment at the VU Amsterdam in 2016. My bachelor and master education were mainly focused on designing, improving, and analyzing data from biotechnological production systems.
Here at the VU I study evolutionary trade-offs in dairy fermentation – together with three other PhD candidates at the VU and Wageningen University. From phenotypic population heterogeneity to protein economy and transcription rates, we study evolutionary trade-offs at several levels of complexity, and will assemble these into a metabolic and expression model.
The highly dynamic conditions in cheese manufacturing have likely resulted in some fascinating trade-offs inside. My main interest lies at a population versus single cell level. Bet-hedging strategies may play a large role in L. lactis population fitness under transient conditions. I aim to understand the effect of different selective pressures on this survival strategy, and -with the help of colleges- the more fundamental drivers of off-center cells.
Finally, a better understanding of these phenomena will aid in the directed evolution of L. lactis. This will yield an improved cheese production process in terms of: texture, flavor, and rate, amongst others.