Industrial Microbiology

The Industrial Microbiology (IMB) section seeks to understand how micro-organisms perform in existing and novel industrial processes and, based on this understanding, to improve microbial performance and design new microbial processes.

Microorganisms are already indispensable for large-scale production of fermented food products, chemicals and biofuels. In the 21st century, the need to replace oil-based products by sustainable alternatives poses new scientific challenges to industrial microbiology. At the same time, fast progress in genomics and synthetic biology offers unprecedented possibilities to study and engineer microorganisms.  

Our research is based on integration of quantitative physiology (systems biology) with molecular techniques (genomics, synthetic biology). Our infrastructure includes over 30 bioreactor set-ups for controlled cultivation, as well as state-of-the-art molecular biology, sequencing and flow cytometry/cell sorting equipment.

Our model organisms are mostly yeasts, including laboratory and industrial strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, hybrid brewing strains and ‘non-conventional’ yeast species. In addition, we regularly work on other microbes, ranging from the antibiotic-producing fungus Penicillium chrysogenum to acetic acid bacteria.

Recent highlights from our research include the successful engineering of bakers’ yeast for the production of bioethanol from pentose sugars (now commercialized by DSM), development of new strategies for modular engineering of central metabolism and pioneering research on yeast physiology at near-zero growth rates.

Our collaborations involve academic partners in the Netherlands and abroad. In a number of research projects, we intensively collaborate with major biotech industries (including Heineken, DSM and Amyris).

The Industrial Microbiology section is actively involved in the Delft-Leiden BSc and MSc programmes on Life Science and Technology. We are happy that many students choose to perform their research projects in our group.

BSc End Project

BEP, whole IMB section; 18 EC

As part of their BSc in Life Science and Technology, many students join the IMB section for 13 weeks of research. Under the daily supervision of a PhD student or post-doc, these students perform their own research project and thus contribute to research mission. During this period, students form an integral part of the IMB section, participate in work discussions and share office space with other team members group – a great opportunity to become familiar with an international research environment. The day-to-day language in the IMB section is English. Final reports are written in English. Dr. Mark Bisschops is contact person for students who are interested in doing their BSc End Project in the IMB section

MSc End Project

MEP, LM3901, whole IMB section, 45 EC

As part of their MSc in Life Science and Technology, students join our group for 8 months of research. Under daily supervision of a PhD student or post-doc, you perform your own research project that has direct relevance for the research of our group. In many cases, the results from the MSc end projects end up in the scientific publications of our group. During this period, students form an integral part of our group, participating in our work discussions and sharing office space with the group. The day-to-day language in the IMB section is English. Final reports are written in English.

Dr. Mark Bisschops  is contact person for students who are interested in performing their MSc End Project in the IMB section

Permanent Faculty


Permanent Staff


Marijke Luttik

Technician Analytics

Susan Weening

Technician High-Throughput Analysis

Astrid van Uijen

Technician, Media and Sterilization Support staff

Pilar de la Torre Cortes

Technician Molecular Biology

Jasper Diderich

Research Scientist

M.M.M. Bisschops

MSc and BSc contact person

Erik de Hulster

Technician Fermentation

Jannie Kempff-Gruwel

Technician, Media and Sterilization Support staff

Tracey de Ruijter

Management assistant

Marcel van den Broek

Technician Bioinformatics

Apilena Sapioper

Technician, Media and Sterilization Support staff