Bas Dutilh is an assistant professor at Utrecht University (Metagenomics Group) and obtained his PhD in Bioinformatics for Medical Sciences at Radboud University Nijmegen in 2007. As a biologist, Bas sees the computer as a tool to answer biological questions. The reciprocal exchange of ideas and results between bioinformatics and laboratory or field studies is the fastest way to obtain new biological knowledge.
Bas has studied most taxonomic groups and several biological and medical systems, but his emphasis has been on bacteria and their viruses (bacteriophages). He is fascinated by the dynamics in microbial genome evolution and how it shapes the interactions of microbes with each other and with their environment. Phenomena like horizontal gene transfer and micro-diversity are of great importance not only in microbial genome evolution, but also in microbial ecology and medicine. To understand these phenomena requires new tools and technologies, as well as well-designed experiments. His daily work consists of studying these phenomena from different angles, the analysis of large-scale datasets, as well as collaborating with microbial ecologists, evolutionary and medical microbiologists to interpret our results. Bas also supervises students and teach courses in metagenomics and bioinformatics.
We know far less about the exposome than we do about the human genome. So far, we only understand about half of the disease burden for which we know the environment plays a role. If we want to prevent people from becoming ill, then we need to understand the other half too. We therefore want to systematically analyse the exposome for the first time. We will start with research into the causes of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The techniques and insights from this research will also be applicable to other chronic conditions.Read More