Man is what he eats” claimed Anthelme Brillat Savarin in 1825. Since then our knowledge about people and their health has increased significantly. We have discovered that not only food but also drugs, lifestyle, upbringing, behaviour, social surroundings and individual characteristics have a considerable effect on each other. This complex interaction influences and even determines the wellbeing of people as individuals and as part of a social network.

Interventions in just one of these factors seldom results in a sustainable desired effect. The LIFE cluster therefore focuses on the development of interventions that tackle several factors at the same time. And because all humans are different, both internally (biologically: nature) and externally (upbringing, social surroundings: nurture), we target a personalised approach.

Every person deserves the intervention that best suits his or her personal situation.

Within this complex playing field the LIFE cluster zooms in on system solutions in prevention, intervention and care, with both societal and economic impact, in the following knowledge areas:

  • Biology of humans: knowledge about disease processes in humans and in model systems as well as the design and implementation of health-enhancing interventions.
  • Interaction between humans and microbiota: The interaction between humans and their bacteria in health and disease, and measuring the influence of this.
  • Food production and personification: Innovating the extraction of nutrients from classical and alternative sources for carbohydrates, starch and protein. Being able to replace components of food in production so that the result is healthier and equally delicious products.
  • Behavioural interventions: Measuring, modelling and determining the effect of interventions on human behaviour and lifestyle, for specific target groups, especially young people and people suffering from specific diseases;
  • Influence of surroundings: the influence of exposure to physical and mental stimuli over an extended period and the associated health risks and effects;
  • Social context, work and organisation: developing forms of organisation and social contexts within which a diversity of competencies, restrictions and personal circumstances can be translated into the optimum performance of participation in work and society, including the related useful resources.

The LIFE cluster comprises the following expertise groups:
Functional Ingredients
Microbiology and Systems Biology
Risk Analysis for Products in Development
Metabolic Health Research
Work, Health & Care
Sustainable Productivity
Child Health

We work together with the universities of Amsterdam, Utrecht, Leiden, Rotterdam, Nijmegen, Groningen, Maastricht and Wageningen, among others, through our professors and structural collaboration in (international) research programmes. We also have an active lectureship policy with Dutch professional universities.

We are especially proud of our facilities that include:

  • Micro Biology Labs including BSL 3 lab, cell biology lab and aerosol test chamber
  • Biomedical Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Lab
  • Diamonds and ERIS Risk Analysis Labs
  • Food Physics Lab including Chromatography, Biorefinery, Protein Purification and Super Heated Steam facilities
Earth, Life and Social Sciences

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