Research

Within VLAG Graduate School all research in Biobased, Biomolecular, Food, and Nutrition sciences is structured within 4 Research Themes.

The VLAG Research Themes are:

I: Chemistry for Life Sciences and Bio-based Economy

Mission: To explore the potential of molecules to improve the quality of life.

Scientific objectives are to explore and understand the behaviour of molecular systems and processes, and to use this to design novel applications and smart chemical solutions for complex problems.

Focus is on life sciences related chemistry and sustainable chemistry: developing molecular tools for the study of cellular processes, by taking inspiration from nature for the design of new materials or supramolecular structures, by designing novel biosensors, or by producing sustainable feedstock out of biomass.

Major sub-themes:

  • Synthesis: finding novel, tailormade methods to build new (sustainable) chemicals and materials, and (more sustainable) routes towards such chemicals
  • Sensing: developing and using molecules as ultrasensitive detectors
  • Modelling: obtaining indepth understanding of (supra)molecular mechanisms by combining stateoftheart experiments with analytical and numerical modelling
  • Application: using chemistry to innovate product synthesis and development for example to achieve sustainable conversions

This research theme primarily combines the strengths and expertise of the following chair groups: BCT, BIC*, BIP, BNT, ORC and PCC.

II: Food Science & Technology

Mission: Healthy, tasty food for everyone, without depleting the Earth by understanding, appreciating and utilising the complexity of foods (material, microbiology, process, (supply) system, consumers).

Scientific objectives are to quantitatively understand the molecular, meso-structural, and functional aspects of foods, along the food chain, from production, storage, consumption to digestion.

Major sub-themes:

  • Sustainability in production
  • Complexity in food and food production
  • Understanding food perception and digestion

This research theme primarily combines the strengths and expertise of the following chair groups: FCH, FHM, FPE, FPH and FQD.

III: Human Nutrition & Health

Mission: To improve global health and wellbeing by better nutrition.

Multidisciplinary approach in nutrition research at the level of the cell, the individual and the population covering the full causal chain from determinants of food choice and dietary assessment, to detailed quantification and characterization of health and disease using state-of-the-art methodology, and investigation of the underlying molecular mechanisms.

Major sub-themes:

  • Global Nutrition and Health
  • Food, Digestion and Health

This research theme primarily combines the strengths and expertise of the following chair groups: GN, HAP*, NBH, ND, NMG and SSEB

IV: Modelling & Design of Biological Systems

Mission: To explore and expand the potential of nature in order to improve the quality of life.

Objectives: To explore, explain, expand and leverage selected biological enzymes, processes and systems, aiming at improved understanding and performance with respect to sustainable production, clean environment and human and animal health.

Major sub-themes:

  • Explore the diversity, evolution and functional potential of novel microbial lineages
  • Microbiomes for human and animal health and as production hosts
  • Design, engineer and apply cell factories from a systems perspective
  • Build models that enable design, prediction, synthesis and control of metabolism and regulation

This research theme primarily combines the strengths and expertise of the following chair groups: BPE, HMI*, MIB, SSB and TOX.

* BIC, HAP and HMI participate in VLAG and (part of) their research is covered by the VLAG research themes. During the external peer review, the research of these chair groups is evaluated in the context of another graduate school.