Douwe van Sinderen

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Douwe van Sinderen – Principal Investigator

Contact details: E-mail:; Tel: +353 214901365




1988 BSc Biochemistry, RijksUniversity Groningen, The Netherlands

1990 MSc Molecular Genetics, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG), The Netherlands

1994 PhD Molecular Genetics, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG), The Netherlands

Career profile:

Professor Douwe van Sinderen holds an MSc degree in Biochemistry and a PhD degree (1994) in Molecular Genetics (University of Groningen, The Netherlands). In 1996 was appointed as academic staff member of the School of Microbiology, University College Cork, Ireland. He holds an SFI Investigator award since 2003 (renewed in 2008 and 2014), while he is also a Principal Investigator of the APC.   Research interests include the comparative genomics and molecular biology of bacteriophages infecting lactic acid bacteria, in particular Lactococcus lactis, Streptococcus thermophilus and certain Lactobacillus species. Furthermore, a significant part of his research activities is dedicated to comparative and functional genomics of bifidobacteria, which represent common gut commensals of mammals, including humans, with many reported health benefits. He has been principal investigator and/or co-ordinator of various EU funded projects, as well as projects funded through various national and international funding agencies and industries, and has served on various national advisory boards. He is a co-author of over 250 peer-reviewed papers, over 15 book chapters, editor of 2 books, and listed as an (co-)inventor of 6 patents (see below for further details). His current Web of Science-measured h-index is 49 (measured by Google Scholar: h-index 53).

Research interests:

Within the APC, research is focused on comparative and functional genomics of bifidobacteria in order to understand how these microbes, which represent the dominant bacteria in breast-fed infants, can colonize and interact with their (human) host to elicit beneficial activities. In particular, we study bifidobacterial carbohydrate mechanism in order to understand how diet may influence the presence and activity of bifidobacteria. We are also investigating how specific bifidobacterial macromolecules, such as pili and EPS, facilitate gut colonisation, pathogen exclusion and immune-modulation. Other research activities include the molecular biology and comparative genomics of bacteriophages infecting lactic acid bacteria that are used for the production of fermented foods (e.g. cheese, yoghurt). In particular the research is aimed at understanding phage-host interactions and the development of novel anti-phage strategies. In addition, research is ongoing to study anti-fungal activities produced by lactic acid bacteria.

Research expertise. Genetics and genomics of lactic acid bacteria and their infecting bacteriophages; comparative and functional genomics of bifidobacteria; antimicrobial activities produced by lactic acid bacteria (including anti-fungal compounds and bacteriophage-derived enzymes). Bioinformatics, gene regulation in Gram positive bacteria, bacteriophage resistance.

Research funding. More than €11M of research funding was secured since 2005; obtained from national (Science Foundation Ireland, Department of Agriculture, Food & Fisheries, Irish Research Council) and European grant agencies (FP7 and predecessors), as well as Trusts and Foundations and a wide range of industrial sources. Selected examples of secured (competitive) funding are indicated below (NB no industry funding is indicated due to commercial sensitivities).

Publications. For a complete list of publications, including citation and h-index metrics, see: or

For Web of Science subscribers: my most accurate and up-to-date publication data can be retrieved by a basic search using ‘van sinderen d or vansinderen d‘ as an author search term.


Professional activities:


WO2011007007-A1 Bacterial species for oral administration for delivery of agent and tumor detection OSULLIVAN G, TANGNEY M, VAN SINDEREN D, et al. Granted 16-JUL-10

WO2014140229-A1 Kit for determining phage susceptibility Van Sinderen et al Granted 13 Mar 2014

EP2592158-A1 Lactobacillus plantarum for extending the shelf-life of a food product or used as an anti-fungal agent Van Sinderen and Crowley granted 14 Nov 2013

WO2010055499-A2 Bifidobacterium longum strain useful as probiotic  BASCOM C, CHARBONNEAU D L, GRANT R A, OMAHONY L, SONG Y, VAN SINDEREN D, et al Granted 20 May 2010

Regularly act as reviewer for grant applications from a variety of research funding agencies such as the Wellcome Trust, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSCRC UK), Enterprise Ireland (various schemes), the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research, the Swiss National Research Council, Norwegian Research Council, European Union Frame Work Programmes, French National Research Council (ANR) and the Italian Foundation for Scientific Research.

Regularly act (in addition to my role of member of the editorial board of Microbial Biotechnology) as ad hoc reviewer for submitted manuscripts to a wide variety of journals (from Applied Environmental Microbiology, Microbiology SGM, Journal of Bacteriolgy, Molecular Microbiology, PLoS One to PNAS USA and Nature). On average I review 30 manuscripts per annum.

I have served on Scientific Committees for various International conferences and have also served many times as Chair of scientific sessions.

Former member on the Editorial Committee for Molecular biology of the scientific publishing company Foxwell & Davies.

I am currently an invited member of the Board of Experts of the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Scientific Research.

I have acted as External Examiner to more than 25 PhD committees in the The Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, France, Spain, Italy, and Denmark (currently between 3-5 per annum), and also regularly (approx. 3-5 per annum) act as an internal examiner to PhD viva in UCC.

I have given over 75 research seminars at international conferences and symposia in various capacities (invited speaker, key note, plenary speaker).

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