Research Fellows

The Origins Center is not only a national knowledge center, but also connects a group of young, enthusiastic researchers to the pioneering themes in our Research Agenda. They are our knowledge ambassadors.

Research Fellows

Eloi Camprubi

Utrecht University, Origins Center

Eloi Camprubi

Utrecht University, Origins Center

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I work in understanding how and why chemical networks display life-like properties and in revealing under which conditions these transitions are promoted. I aim to be involved in the design of space exploration missions targeting the water-rich planetary bodies of the Solar System.

Origin of life, astrobiology, prebiotic chemistry, metabolism, bioenergetics

Enrico Sandro Colizzi

Origins Centre, Leiden University

Enrico Sandro Colizzi

Origins Centre, Leiden University

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I work on understanding how higher levels of biological organisation originate from – and feed back to – lower-level components, and how these multilevel systems evolve. I am currently focusing on three topics: how genetic elements in the RNA world evolve into cellular life; the co-evolution of ecological dynamics and genome structure; and the evolution of multicellularity.

Multilevel evolution, RNA world, Genome evolution, Eco-evolutionary dynamics

Dennis Höning

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Earth Sciences, Origins Center

Dennis Höning

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Earth Sciences, Origins Center

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I work on the interior and global evolution of Earth and other rocky planets. I explore interactions between reservoirs such as the influence of life on global volatile cycles. My goal is to understand how inhabited planets differ from lifeless planets and to use this knowledge to search for life beyond Earth.

Planetary evolution, Habitability, Astrobiology

Omer Markovitch

University of Groningen, Origins Center

Omer Markovitch

University of Groningen, Origins Center

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Studying the origins of life by extending principles from evolutionary biology to chemical replicators

Systems Chemistry, Prebiotic evolution, Computational chemistry, Artificial life, Water structure and dynamics

Renske Vroomans

University of Amsterdam, Origins Center

Renske Vroomans

University of Amsterdam, Origins Center

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I work on the evolution of multicellularity. I am interested in the evolution of early developmental programs. Once cells find themselves in a multicellular cluster, how do they start dividing tasks and making sure that the right cells are in the right place? This is connected to the evolution of body axes: the head-tail axes in animals for instance.

Evolutionary developmental biology, theoretical biology

Meike Wortel

University of Amsterdam

Meike Wortel

University of Amsterdam

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How do species evolve and how is this affected by interactions with other species? I focus on micro-organisms and host-microbe interactions, and their interaction through metabolism.

Evolutionary systems biology

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Thomas Blankers

IBED, University of Amsterdam

Thomas Blankers

IBED, University of Amsterdam

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I work on the predictability of genetic adaptation during evolution. We have introduced the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, a universal model species in biology, to a novel bacterial food source and observed how C. elegans growth rates adapt to this novel environmental challenge. My role is to analyze the genomes of these nematodes before and after adaptation to find the genetic underpinnings and explore the factors that determine the extent to which genetic adaptation is predictable.

evolutionary genomics, quantitative genetics, animal communication

Karen Bisschop

IBED, University of Amsterdam

Karen Bisschop

IBED, University of Amsterdam

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The common thread of my research is the impact of the spatial and community context on adaptation. I performed evolutionary experiments with an arthropod herbivore species (Tetranychus urticae) to test its adaptation to novel host plants under different conditions. I am also intrigued by the microbiota living inside multicellular hosts and this led me to perform both field and lab work to further investigate correlations between hosts, their diet and microbiome, and how these are affected by environmental factors. Currently, I am involved in the ‘Predicting Evolution’ project to test how robust and predictable evolutionary results are across different institutes in The Netherlands and Belgium using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model species.

evolutionary biology, ecology, experimental evolution

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