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Dr Mark van der Giezen

Dr Mark van der Giezen

Honorary Associate Professor of Evolutionary Biochemistry & Professor of Biological Chemistry (University of Stavanger, Norway)

 3483

 Geoffrey Pope 

 

Geoffrey Pope Building, University of Exeter , Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD, UK

Overview

How microbes interact with their hosts plays an important role in human and animal health. Especially the microbes in the gut are of crucial importance. We are interested in how these microbes affect human and animal health. Our research includes important human and animal pathogens but also focusses on microbes and nutrition and their role in food security.

Adaptation of microbial eukaryotes to low oxygen, as found in the gut, for example, featured in several high impact publications (Nature (2003) 426, 172-176Current Biology (2008) 18, 580-585Current Biology (2014) 24, 1176-1186 and PLoS Biology (2017) 15(9) e2003769) and included major human pathogens such as Giardia intestinalisEntamoeba histolytica and Blastocystis. We hope that understanding their unusual biochemistry might lead to new drug targets. Recently, after my move to Norway, we started working with the Academic Hospital here in Stavanger where we collaborate with the Gastroenterology department on studying the role of the gut microbiome in inflammatory bowel disease or IBD.

Food security research focuses on biochemistry and genomics of several important livestock and fisheries pathogens such as Aphanomyces and Fasciola hepaticaAphanomyces causes two notifiable diseases: crayfish plague (click here for new diagnostics we developed) and epizootic ulcerative syndrome in fish while Fasciola causes liver fluke in cattle and sheep. We also worked with the National Lobster Hatchery in the UK to understand the interplay between microbes and hosts, especially the role of the gut microbiome on lobster health. We described two new pathogens of Europan lobsters. We discovered the first case of an Halioticidia infection in Europe, described the first clawed lobster virus and performed a comprehensive comparative gut microbiome study on European lobsters (ISME J (2020) 14, 531–543).

Fruit and vegetables improve health and cognition and it is becoming increasingly clear microbes in our alimentary tract play crucial roles in health. We work with former colleagues at Sports and Health Sciences and the Medical School at the University of Exeter (UK). We are unravelling how the microbiome of the tongue helps in healthy ageing (see for example Free Radic. Biol. Med. (2018) 124, 21-30.)

Our lab uses a variety of techniques to answer our research questions. Molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics and next-generation sequencing methods are routinely used. 

In 2019, I accepted a position as Professor of Biological Chemistry at the University of Stavanger, Norway. 

Qualifications

2018 Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

2007 Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, Queen Mary, University of London

1992-1997 PhD in Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University of Groningen

1988-1992 Drs Molecular Biology & Immunology, University of Groningen

Career

2019-present Professor of Biological Chemistry, Centre for Organelle Research, University of Stavanger, Norway

2019-2022 Honorary Associate Professor of Evolutionary Biochemistry, School of Biosciences, University of Exeter

2019 Associate Professor of Evolutionary Biochemistry, School of Biosciences, University of Exeter

2018 Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

2017-present Theme Lead Aquatic Diseases for the centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Futures

2014 Elected Fellow of the Linnean Society of London

2009 Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Protein Research, University of Osaka, Japan

2007-2018 Senior Lecturer in Evolutionary Biochemistry, School of Biosciences, University of Exeter

2004-2007 Lecturer in Microbiology, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London

2002-2004 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London

1998 EMBO Fellow

1997-2002 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, London

1996 Visiting Scientist, Centre for the Study of Metals in Biology and Medicine, King‘s College, London

1992 Erasmus Studentship, Laboratoire de Microbiologie et Génétique Moléculaires, University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse

Links

Research group links

Keeping the parasites alive (only if none of my people are around).

Research

Research interests

How microbes interact with their hosts plays an important role in human and animal health. Especially the microbes in the gut are of crucial importance. We are interested in how these microbes affect human and animal health. Our research includes important human and animal pathogens but also focusses on microbes and nutrition and their role in food security.

Adaptation of microbial eukaryotes to low oxygen, as found in the gut, for example, featured in several high impact publications (Nature (2003) 426, 172-176Current Biology (2008) 18, 580-585Current Biology (2014) 24, 1176-1186 and PLoS Biology (2017) 15(9) e2003769) and included major human pathogens such as Giardia intestinalisEntamoeba histolytica and Blastocystis. We hope that understanding their unusual biochemistry might lead to new drug targets. Recently, after my move to Norway, we started working with the Academic Hospital here in Stavanger where we collaborate with the Gastroenterology department on studying the role of the gut microbiome in inflammatory bowel disease or IBD.

Food security research focuses on biochemistry and genomics of several important livestock and fisheries pathogens such as Aphanomyces and Fasciola hepaticaAphanomyces causes two notifiable diseases: crayfish plague (click here for new diagnostics we developed) and epizootic ulcerative syndrome in fish while Fasciola causes liver fluke in cattle and sheep. We also worked with the National Lobster Hatchery in the UK to understand the interplay between microbes and hosts, especially the role of the gut microbiome on lobster health. We described two new pathogens of Europan lobsters. We discovered the first case of an Halioticidia infection in Europe, described the first clawed lobster virus and performed a comprehensive comparative gut microbiome study on European lobsters (ISME J (2020) 14, 531–543).

Fruit and vegetables improve health and cognition and it is becoming increasingly clear microbes in our alimentary tract play crucial roles in health. We work with former colleagues at Sports and Health Sciences and the Medical School at the University of Exeter (UK). We are unravelling how the microbiome of the tongue helps in healthy ageing (see for example Free Radic. Biol. Med. (2018) 124, 21-30.)

Our lab uses a variety of techniques to answer our research questions. Molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics and next-generation sequencing methods are routinely used. 

Link to publications (Google Scholar).

Links


External Engagement and Impact

Awards/Honorary fellowships

2018 Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

2014 Fellow of the Linnean Society.

1997 Fellow of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO).


Committee/panel activities

2020-present Member of the Board of the Norwegian Society for Microbiology

2019-present Elected to the Board of the Scandinavian-Baltic Society for Parasitology

2017-present Theme Leader ‘Aquatic Diseases’ for the Centre of Sustainable Aquaculture Futures. 

2015-2019 Director Postgraduate Teaching, Biosciences, University of Exeter.

2013-present Advanced Degree Accreditation Assessor for the Royal Society of Biology.

2012 Nominated for President for the International Society of Protistologists (ISOP)

2012-2013 Director for the Primary Academies Trust.

2012-2013 Member of the Strategic Governors Committee for the First Federation, Devon.

2011-present Member of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Peer Review College

2010-present Member of the Board of Reviewers for the Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology

2007-2009 Member of the grant-awarding CoSyst panel of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBRSC)

2006-2007 Member of the Steering Group for the PGCAP (Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice) and CILT (Certificate in Learning and Teaching) at Queen Mary, University of London

2006 and 2007 Member of the grant-awarding Systematics Research Fund panel of the Systematics Association and the Linnean Society

2005-2007 and 2009-2010 Member of the Council of the Systematics Association

1994-1996 Elected Member of Council of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands

1994-1996 Member of the Council Committee for Student Affairs of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands

1994-1995 Member of the University Committee for Student Affairs of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands


Editorial responsibilities

Ad hoc referee for international peer-reviewed scientific journals (Advances in Parasitology, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, BioScience, BMC Evolutionary Biology; BMC Systems Biology, Current Biology, Eukaryotic Cell, Experimental Parasitology, FEBS Journal, Freshwater Biology, Folia Parasitologica, Genome Biology and Evolution, International Journal for Parasitology, Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, Journal of Experimental Botany, Journal of Molecular Biology, Journal of Parasitology Research, Microbiology, Mitochondrion, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, PLoS Pathogens, Protist, Science, Tissue & Cell).


Invited lectures

January 23-26, 2020 Mitochondrial glycolysis in a major lineage of eukaryotes. Selected presentation at the Norwegian Biochemical Society Contact meeting, Voss, Norway.

December 13, 2019 The gut microbiome as a health marker for European lobster in offshore sea culture. Invited by Dr Fiona Provan, Norce, Stavanger, Norway.

November 25, 2019 Mitochondrial evolution - the intestinal parasite Blastocystis. Invited by Professor Dirk Linke, Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Norway.

May 17, 2019 Mitochondrial biochemical innovations in the intestinal parasite Blastocystis. Invited by Professor Tony Moore at the School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, UK.

April 16, 2018 Unusual mitochondria and (anaerobic) microbial eukaryotes. Invited by Professor Gro Johnsen at the Centre for Organelle Research (CORE), University of Stavanger, Norway.

December 14-15, 2017 Shaping eukaryotic evolution via mitochondrial symbiosis. Invited speaker at the Templeton Foundation Workshop on Deep Evolutionary Biology, University of Manchester.

October 4, 2017 Biochemical and evolutionary peculiarities of the hyper-prevalent parasitic eukaryote Blastocystis. Invited by Prof. John Allen, The Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London.

May 16, 2017 Two genome projects: one because we’re curious, the other because we need better diagnostics. Invited speaker at the USF Genomics Symposium, University of South Florida, Tampa, USA.

May 15, 2017 Biochemical peculiarities of the hyper-prevalent parasitic eukaryote Blastocystis. Invited speaker at the CGHIDR-CDDI Annual Symposium on Frontiers of Drug Discovery and Infectious Diseases, University of South Florida, Tampa, USA.

March 29 - April 2, 2017 Mitochondrial glycolysis in stramenopiles. Invited speaker at the 115th International Titisee Conference on “Evolutionary mitochondrial biology: molecular, biochemical, and metabolic diversity”, Titisee, Black Forest, Germany.

March 30 – April 2, 2015 Mitochondria and related organelles in microbial eukaryotes. Invited symposium presentation at the Society for General Microbiology (SGM) Annual Meeting, Birmingham, UK.

June 16, 2014 Mitochondria but not as you know them. Invited by Dr. Anastasios Tsaousis, School of Biosciences, University of Kent.

April 18, 2013 Unusual biochemistry and cell biology of the intestinal parasite Blastocystis. Invited by Dr. Graham Clark, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

November 23, 2011 Can unusual mitochondria of the anaerobic human parasite Blastocystis change our textbooks? Invited by Professor John Moody, School of Biomedical and Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth.

October 27, 2011 Weird mitochondria as proxies for understanding eukaryotic evolution. Invited by Professor David Lloyd, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University.

September 21-23, 2011 Hydrogenosomes and mitosomes as proxies for understanding eukaryotic evolution. Invited symposium speaker at the 2nd Student-organized International Symposium of the DFG Research Training Group 1216 ‘Intra - and Intercellular Transport and Communication’, Marburg, Germany.

July 25-29, 2011 Molecular oxygen and intelligent life. Invited speaker at the workshop: Using the diversity of Protists to educate students and the public about evolution. VI European Congress of Protistology, Berlin, Germany.

April 13-14, 2011 The anaerobic human parasite Blastocystis, a non-conforming eukaryote. Invited by Professor William Martin, Institut für Botanik III, Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf, Germany.

September 9, 2010 The anaerobic intestinal parasite Blastocystis, another non-conforming eukaryote. Invited by Professor Jan Tachezy at the Department of Parasitology, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.

August 1-6, 2010 Adaptations to an anaerobic niche: hydrogenosomes in the Neocallimastigomycota. Invited presentation at the 9th International Mycological Congress, Edinburgh, UK.

July 18-23, 2010 Anaerobic mitochondria; from irrelevant oddities to relevant entities. Invited presentation at the joint International Society of Protistologists/British Society for Protist Biology Meeting, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.

May 6, 2010 An unusual nitric oxide synthase from the human parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. Iron-Sulfur Proteins Discussion Group Meeting; MRC National Institute for Medical Research (Mill Hill).

21-22 September 2009 Piecing together the Emiliania huxleyi mitochondrial proteome and its evolutionary ancestry. Invited presentation for the Leverhulme Emiliania huxleyi international collaboration grant, University of Essex, Colchester, UK.

7-10 September 2009 Grafting mitochondria onto the tree of life. Invited symposium presentation at the Society for General Microbiology (SGM) Autumn Meeting, Edinburgh, UK.

16 September 2009 An unusual nitric oxide synthase from the human parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. Invited seminar for the Peninsula Oxidative Stress Research Forum (POSReF), Lavender House Hotel, Ashburton, UK.

28 June -1 July 2009 Eukaryotic life without mitochondria? Invited symposium presentation at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Main Meeting, Glasgow, UK.

17-19 June 2009 Bioinformatics reconstruction of the Emiliania huxleyi mitochondrial proteome and its evolutionary ancestry. Presentation at the Emiliania huxleyi Genome Jamboree, Woods Hole, USA.

14 April 2009 Human parasites and their impact on understanding mitochondrial evolution. Invited by Prof. Jan Kok at the Department of Molecular Genetics of the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.

16 March 2009 Human parasites and their impact on understanding mitochondrial evolution. Invited by Prof. Colin Robinson at the Department of Biological Sciences of the University of Warwick, UK.

22 January 2009 At the interface between biochemistry and evolution. Invited by Prof. Haruki Nakamura at the Institute for Protein Research, Osaka University and the Protein Database Japan, Japan.

21-26 July 2008 Hydrogenosomes and mitosomes of anaerobic protists. Invited Symposium speaker at Protist 2008, Halifax, Canada

12 July 2007 Mitochondria, but not as you know them; unusual anaerobic mitochondria from human parasites. Invited by Prof. Thomas Langer at the Insititute of Genetics, University of Cologne, Germany

5 April 2007 Mitochondria, but not as you know them; unusual anaerobic mitochondria from human parasites. Invited by Dr Guy Hanke at the Institute for Protein Research, University of Osaka, Japan

1-5 August 2006 Hydrogenosomes and mitosomes; mitochondria on their way out? Invited presentation at the 16th International Society for Evolutionary Protistology (ISEP), Wroclaw, Poland

21 April 2006 Evolution of the Isd11/IscS complex reveals a single α-proteobacterial endosymbiosis for all eukaryotes. Iron-Sulfur Proteins Discussion Group Meeting; King's College, London, UK.

Feb 2006 Mitosomes are mitochondria. Presentation at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Micorobiology, Marburg, Germany

Nov 2005 Degenerate mitochondria; convergent adaptations to an anaerobic lifestyle. Presentation at 'Evolutionary inferences from phylogenetic trees', a workshop sponsored by the Centre for Ecology and Evolution, London, UK.

5-8 Oct 2005 Why mitochondria are never lost. Presentation at the 'International Symposium; 100 years of the endosymbiotic theory: from prokaryotes to eukaryotic organelles'. Hamburg, Germany

13 April 2005 Mitochondrial energy production in anaerobic microbial eukaryotes. Presentation at 'Energy conversion in the origins and evolution of cells'. Queen Mary, Univeristy of London, UK

June 2004 Early eukaryotes and mitochondrial remnants. Invited by Dr Salvador Carranza; seminar for the Genetics Department, University of Barcelona, Spain.

May 2004 Degenerate mitochondria and early branching eukaryotes. Invited by Dr Kirill Degtyarenko; seminar for the European Bioinformatics Institute, Hinxton, UK.

May 2004 Mitochondrial remnants and early eukaryotic evolution. Invited by Prof. David Fell; talk for the Cell Systems Modelling Group, Oxford Brookes University, UK.

23 April 2004 FeS protein assembly in early eukaryotes. Iron-Sulfur Proteins Discussion Group Meeting; King's College, London, UK.

Dec 2003 Hydrogenosomes, mitochondria and early eukaryotic evolution. Invited by Prof. Roland Lill; seminar for the Department of Cell Biology, Phillips University of Marburg and Department of Microbiology from the Max Planck institute, Germany.

Sept 2003 Hydrogenosomes, mitochondria and early eukaryotic evolution. Invited by Prof. John Samuelson; seminar for the Department of Molecular Cell Biology at the University of Boston, USA.

14-18 Sep 2003 Iron sulphur proteins IscU and IscS from the amitochondriate human parasite Entamoeba histolytica. Molecular Parasitology Meeting XIV. Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, USA.

Oct 2001 Hydrogenosomes; specialised mitochondria? Invited by Prof. Tony Trinci; seminar for the School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester, UK.

June 2001 Hydrogenosomes are modified mitochondria. EMBO Fellows Meeting, EMBO, Heidelberg, Germany.

Feb 2001 Hydrogenosomes. Invited by Dr Colin Stewart; seminar for the Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.

Discussing the write-up of a paper.

Teaching

Director Postgraduate Teaching, Biosciences, University of Exeter (2015 – 2019).

Member of the Education Strategy Group, Biosciences, University of Exeter (2015 – 2017).

Programme Director MSc Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture, University of Exeter (2014 – 2017).

Member of the Advanced Accreditation Assessment Panel of the Royal Society of Biology (2013 – present).

Programme Director MSc Biotechnology and Enterprise, University of Exeter (2013 – 2014).

Programme Director BSc Biochemistry, University of Exeter (2012 – 2017).

Programme Director BSc Biological Sciences, University of Exeter (2010 – 2012).

Coordinator Flexible and Combined Honours Degree Programme, University of Exeter (2008 – 2010).

Modules

2021/22

Information not currently available


Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Georgios Kontellas. Glycolytic and unique energy producing enzymes of trematode parasites are potential drug targets: bioinformatics and structural studies. Self-funded PhD studentship (2015-present). Main supervisor: Prof. David Studholme.
  • Joanna L Heureux. Influence of the oral microbiome on cardiovascular health in older age. Wellcome Trust funded PhD studentship (2016-present). Based at Sport and Health Sciences with Professor Andy Jones (main supervisor)

Alumni

  • Dr Sheera Abdulla. Former PhD-student (2011-2016), now laboratory manager at the University of Exeter.
  • Dr Michael Bottery. Former MRes-student Bioinformatics (2013), now postdoc at University of York.
  • Dr Kailash Chand. Former Post-doc (2009-2010), now Assistant Professer at the National Institute for Research in Environmental Health in India.
  • Dr Karleigh Hamblin. PhD-student (2005-2008), now at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Porton Down.
  • Dr Joseph Harvey. Former Wellcome Trust Vacation Scholar (Summer 2010). Now at Appleton Woods Ltd.
  • Dr Corey Holt. former PhD-student (2015-2018), now postdoc at the University of British Colombia, Canada.
  • Dr Skye Marshall. Former PhD-student (2016-2021) Main supervisors Prof Peter Winlove and Dr. Peter Petrov (Physics).
  • Dr Jamie McFadzean Former PhD-student (2014-2019), now Senior Policy Advisor at Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
  • Dr Diana Minardi. Former PhD-student (2013-2017), now research scientist at Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas).
  • Dr Nebibe Mutlu. Former Erasmus placement student (Summer 2009), now postdoc at University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicin.
  • Dr Ifeanyi Nwachukwu. Former MSc Biocatalysis student (2009), now Assistant Professor of Loma Linda University, CA, USA.
  • Dr Matthew Rogers. Former postdoc (2007-2008), now Assistant Professor at the Medical School at the University of Pittsburgh, USA.
  • Dr Maria Siegesmund. Former PhD-student (2007-2011) and post-doc (2011), now working at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Department of Experimental Phycology and Culture Collection of Algae, Germany and retrained as secondary school science teacher.
  • Dr Kerem Terali. Former PhD-student (2006-2010), now Associate Professor at the Near East University in Cyprus.
  • Dr Maulood Turfah. Former PhD-student (2014-2019), now lecturer at the University of Baghdad, Iraq.

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