New research group aims to characterise microbiome molecular interactions

Date 16 October 2016

Jan Claesen has joined IFR to lead a research group aiming to characterise functionally molecular mechanisms that control bacterial community structure and dynamics in the human microbiome. 

Dr Jan Claesen Dr Jan Claesen

Jan has always been fascinated by the molecular mechanisms that underlie the macroscopic biological world that surrounds us and this led him to study Biological Engineering at the KU Leuven, mastering in Cell and Gene Biotechnology.

During this time, he became intrigued by the wealth of roles bacteria play in our daily lives and their potential applications for medicine and health. Jan explored this further during his PhD in the lab of Prof. Mervyn Bibb, at the John Innes Centre, studying the genetics and biosynthesis of ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptide antibiotics in Streptomyces.

After his PhD, Jan joined the lab of Prof. Michael Fischbach in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, USA. His focus shifted to the characterization of bacterial metabolites that mediate microbe-microbe and microbe-host interactions in the human microbiome.

Jan has now returned to Norwich to join the Institute of Food Research. His group will use a combination of genetic and biochemical techniques to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that drive community structure and dynamics in the human microbiome, and to engineer commensal bacteria for fundamental and translational applications.

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Claesen Research Group web page

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