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Institute of Biology Leiden The study of biology has a long history at Leiden University. When the university was founded in 1575, Carolus Clusius came to Leiden to teach about botany and to set up the botanical garden Hortus Botanicus, which still exists in Leiden’s city centre. Today the Institute of Biology (IBL) is a modern, dynamic and internationally oriented institute with excellent research facilities, located at the heart of the BioScience Park. Through its combination of expertises, the IBL provides a stimulating and challenging environment for renowned international scientists as well as for students at the start of their scientific career.

The IBL performs innovative scientific research with emphasis on

Molecular cell biology

the areas of evolutionary and molecular sciences and connections

Signal transduction mechanisms in the context of development

between them. This research has significant spin-off, ranging from

and disease are the main topics in this research group. The focus

understanding cancer at a molecular level to screening of natural

is on signal molecules and receptors that play a role in innate

products for bio-activity and assessing the impact of global envi-

immunity, cancer cell migration and embryonic development.

ronmental changes. The institute has a strong international focus

The zebra fish is used as a model organism.

Graduate School of Science P.O. Box 9502 2300 RA Leiden www.science.leidenuniv.nl/graduateschool

and cooperates with related research groups within and beyond the Faculty of Science. Leiden also is the location of the Nether-

Molecular and developmental genetics

lands Centre for Biodiversity (NCB Naturalis) with which the IBL

This group studies the interkingdom gene transfer from Agro-

closely cooperates in teaching and research. Other collaborations

bacterium leading to tumour formation on plants. Tools for

in graduate studies and research involve the Institute of Environ-

genome manipulation and gene therapy are being developed.

mental Sciences (CML) and others, such as the Medical Centre.

Another focus of the group lies at studying cell differentiation,

The IBL has eight research groups, closely collaborating in two

development and pattern formation in Arabidopsis thaliana.

programmes: Evolutionary Biosciences (MSc program: Evolution, Biodiversity and Conservation) and Molecular Biosciences (MSc program: Molecular and Cellular Biosciences).

Graduate School of Science

Institute Biology Leiden Sylvius Laboratorium Wassenaarseweg 72 2333 AL Leiden www.biology.leidenuniv.nl


Molecular microbiology

Behavioural biology

Finding fungi that are important for industry and biotechnology

This group has a focus on animal communication by acoustic

is the goal of this group. Studies focus on protein secretion and

and visual signals. Subjects range from the impact of environ-

the response mechanisms of fungi to environmental changes,

mental noise on acoustic communication and signal evolution

especially in bioreactors.

in birds and fish, to signal production, perception and development, as well as comparative research on language evolution and

Plant cell physiology

animal cognition. MSc student Freek Vonk was interested in lizards and

This research group studies the signal transduction pathways leading to activation of plant defence systems based on the

Plant ecology and phytochemistry

snakes from childhood. He discovered and published

production of antimicrobial proteins and secondary metabolites,

The group focuses on the evolution of plant characters with

in Nature, together with his supervisor Prof. Mike

in order to withstand pathogen and herbivore attack and stress

emphasis on secondary metabolites, herbivores, micro-organisms

Richardson and colleagues from Australia, their

conditions.

and pollinators. This expertise gained in natural systems is

totally unexpected finding that many species of lizard

applied in projects on the breeding of resistant plants, risk assess-

have venom glands just like snakes. Freek received a

ment of genetically modified plants and invasive species.

prestigious NWO Top Talent grant to continue with his

Evolutionary biology Understanding the process of adaptive evolution from genes to a functional phenotype (evo-devo) is the aim of this group. Traits are being studied that provide models of how populations adapt to ecological, genetic and developmental constraints.

Integrative zoology The Integrative zoology group also uses the zebra fish, in cooperation with Molecular cell biology, as a model for studying various aspects of developmental biology as well as a bio-assay for screening (potential) drugs. They also examine the adaptive responses of cichlids to the environmental changes in Lake Victoria.

Graduate School of Science

studies for a PhD degree.

Institute of biology leiden  
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