Microbiology & Systems Biology

The Microbiology & Systems Biology (MSB) department of TNO focuses on the most pressing health challenges facing the lifestyles of a changing, modern society. We foresee the evolution towards personalized health and a priority for individual needs within the context of an aging population and continued urbanization by applying our experience and expertise to these urgent health issues.

The Minutiae & the Whole

From the tiniest  microorganisms to the entirety of the human corporeal, we examine the full spectrum of mechanical and biochemical processes with the most state-of-the-art analytical platforms.  The human body exhibits the signs and symptoms of illness long before full-fledged outbreak and seemingly unrelated signals may indicate impending health problems elsewhere. The oral cavity, for example, offers telling insights into the lung as oral infections are associated with an increased risk of pneumonia. The intestinal microbiota may reveal telling clues for the development of a pre-diabetic condition.

Guided by our vision to advance the human condition through healthful living, we think the best way of studying the incidence of disease is the use of relevant, predictive and translational model platforms. Whether this is through analysis of the gut microbiome with in vitro and in vivo technologies for the acceptability of an antibiotic or food ingredient, or the direct consultation for personalized dietary regimens, our mission is to provide disruptive technological solutions for a more sustainable and integrative society.

Our Focus Areas

Leveraging the wealth of knowledge contained within the communities of microbes, or microbiomes, that exist in and on various parts of the body to mine insights on overall health.

Systems Biology
The network dynamics of human systems becomes increasingly important in a modern society that brings light to new biological and social pathologies.

Human Biology
Our investments in discovery and the technology that aids the developmental process are a vital component of our working portfolio.

Our Success Stories

Some of our notable contributions to the global knowledge pool include collaborations with:

  • Pfizer
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Nestlé
  • Barilla
  • Gilead
  • Philips
    Mead Johnson
  • Heinz
  • Friesland Campina
  • Amsterdam Medical Center
  • VU Amsterdam
  • Leiden University Medical Center
  • Erasmus University of Rotterdam

Our Science

1) T. Kelder, J.H.M. Stroeve, S. Bijlsma, M. Radonjic and G. Roeselers
Correlation network analysis reveals relationships between diet-induced changes in human gut microbiota and metabolic health
Nutrition & Diabetes (2014) 4
2) Michael M. Joosten, Marjan J. van Erk, Linette Pellis, Renger F. Witkamp and Henk F.J. Hendriks
Moderate alcohol consumption alters both leucocyte gene expression profiles and circulating proteins related to immune response and lipid metabolism in men
British Journal of Nutrition (2012), 108
3) Heather R. Mattila, Daniela Rios, Victoria E. Walker-Sperling, Guus Roeselers, Irene L. G. Newton
Characterization of the active microbiotas associated with honey bees reveals healthier and broader communities when colonies are genetically diverse
PLoS ONE (2012), 3
4) Marijana Radonjic, Peter Y. Wielinga, Suzan Wopereis, Thomas Kelder, Varshna S. Goelela, Lars Verschuren, Karin Toet, Wim van Duyvenvoorde, Bianca van der Werff van der Vat, Johanna H. M. Stroeve, Nicole Cnubben, Teake Kooistra, Ben van Ommen, Robert Kleemann
Differential Effects of Drug Interventions and Dietary Lifestyle in Developing Type 2 Diabetes and Complications: A Systems Biology Analysis in LDLr-/- Mice
PLoS ONE (2013), 2
5) Joke A. M. Dols, Douwe Molenaar, Jannie J. van der Helm, Martien P. M. Caspers, Alie de Kat Angelino-Bart, Frank H. J. Schuren, Adrianus G. C. L. Speksnijder, Hans V. Westerhoff, Jan Hendrik Richardus, Mathilde E. Boon, Gregor Reid, Henry J. C. de Vries and Remco Kort
Molecular assessment of bacterial vaginosis by Lactobacillus abundance and species diversity
BMC Infectious Diseases (2016) 16

More publications from our department can be found at the TNO Repository.

Partner with Us

The department of Microbiology and Systems Biology bring together over 150 leading scientists and experts in multi-disciplinary fields and cross-functional roles under one unified vision of healthy living. To this end, our team is on the search for organizations with the same commitment to high-quality, independent research.

Microbiome for health

Download the whitepaper

Biorizon as a new route to bioaromatics

The development and up-scaling of technologies to enable the commercial production of aromatic compounds from biowaste by 2025: this is what VITO and TNO are focusing on in the shared research centre... Read more
Our work


Application of new technologies and methods in nutrition research - the example of phenotypic flexibility. TNO coordinates the project and leads the workpackage 'Integration'. Read more

Minimising COVID-19 contamination in hospitals

02 July 2020
Due to the large number of patients infected with the coronavirus, healthcare facilities around the world are turning existing rooms into emergency hospitals. Because of the rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2... Read more

How can we ensure facemask efficacy and availability?

01 July 2020
Dozens of healthcare organisations have asked TNO the same questions: ‘How can caregivers remain well protected as they come into contact with coronavirus patients? And is there a way to prevent a shortage... Read more

Expertise groups

Ing. Daan Kloet

  • Prevention
  • Health
  • Microbiology
  • Systems Biology
  • EHealth