Intrigued by the rapid technological advances is biotechnology, I started my PhD in 2003 mainly focusing on the development of methods to study molecular interactions in plants. My initial interest was to transfer and optimize tandem affinity purification coupled to mass spectrometry to study protein complexes in plants. During my PhD and post-doc, I continuously challenged myself to further improve and fine-tune these methods, enabling investigation of not only stable but also more transient and weak protein interactions from a diverse set of plant tissues/species. This finally led to the development of a streamlined technology platform, which formed the base of the current Plant Interactomics Facility at PSB, delivering internal and external AP-MS service for academia and industry.
In parallel I also invested quite some time in the development of methods to study interactions between proteins and DNA in situ, giving rise to the TChAP-seq technology in cell suspension cultures that provides deep coverage in the mapping of gene regulatory networks. As a complementary approach, I have been exploring methods to study protein-DNA interactions from a gene-centered view, identifying proteins bound to a genomic region of interest.
From a biological perspective, I initially applied these methods to obtain more insight into how plant cells proliferate, studying protein complexes that involve core cell cycle regulators. This allowed me to map a comprehensive cell cycle interactome in plants. In recent years, I switched my interest trying to understand how plants sense energy and nutrients and translate this information into adequate growth responses. Hereto, I am investigating the dynamic signaling networks around the TOR and SnRK1 kinases, integrating interactomics with phosphoproteomics.
Office: Technologiepark 71, 9052 Zwijnaarde, Belgium
Office Phone: +32(0)93313875