Invited speakers | Track 1

‘Biomolecular networks within and between cells’

Jack Pronk

Jack Pronk (1963) is professor in Industrial Microbiology and leads the Department of Biotechnology at TU Delft. His research aims to understand and improve microbial performance in industrial processes and integrates quantitative physiology, genomics, synthetic biology and evolutionary engineering. Jack (co-)authored 270 scientific publications and is an inventor on 25 patent applications. From 2003-2014, Jack led the Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation, a Netherlands-based Centre of Excellence. Results from research that he and his colleagues and students performed on engineering of yeast for biofuels production from agricultural waste streams and for increased product yields on sugar feedstocks are applied at industrial scale. Jack loves to teach and coach students and in 2015 he was awarded the TU Delft Best Professor Award (“Leermeesterprijs”). In 2018 Jack received the International Metabolic Engineering Award and in 2019 the Stevin Prize, the highest distinction for application-inspired research in the Netherlands. Read more


Julia Bailey-Serres

Julia Bailey-Serres is professor of genetics, director of the Center for Plant Cell Biology, and a member of the Institute for Integrative Genome Biology at the University of California, Riverside. Since 2008 she is also attached to Utrecht University, as professor of Molecular Physiology of Rice.

Julia is being recognized for her role in the discovery and characterization of a gene that allows rice to survive under water. That Sub1A gene has subsequently been introduced through breeding by the International Rice Research Institute and others, creating flood-tolerant rice varieties that are grown by more than five million farmers in flood-prone areas of Asia.

The Bailey-Serres group performs translational plant biology from gene to field. They aim to harness genetic mechanisms that provide climate change resilience to crops, particularly flooding, drought and nutrient stress resilience. They work from the single cell to whole plant level. Their studies have defined

mechanisms of low oxygen sensing and post-transcriptional gene regulation, from the epigenome to the “mRNPome” and translatome. This knowledge is of importance to efforts that seek to stabilize crop yields as Earth’s population grows, arable land decreases, and climatic patterns change. Read more