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 Leidenâ€™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
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
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.