Et profilbilde

Mark Van der Giezen { "honorific-suffix": "Professor", "fn": "Mark Van der Giezen", "tel": "Telephone: +47 51834493", "email": "" }

Faculty Faculty of Science and Technology
Department Department of Chemistry, Bioscience and Environmental Engineering

Research fields

How microbes interact with their hosts plays an important role in human and animal health. Especially the microbes in the gut are of crucial importance. We are interested in how these microbes affect human and animal health. Research includes important human and animal pathogens but also focusses on microbes and nutrition and their role in food security.

Adaptation of microbial eukaryotes to low oxygen, as found in the gut for example, featured in several high impact publications (Nature (2003) 426, 172-176Current Biology (2008) 18, 580-585Current Biology (2014) 24, 1176-1186 and PLoS Biology (2017) 15(9) e2003769) and included major human pathogens such as Giardia intestinalisEntamoeba histolytica and Blastocystis. We hope that understanding their unusual biochemistry might lead to new drug targets. 

Food security research focuses at biochemistry and genomics of several important livestock and fisheries pathogens such as Aphanomyces and Fasciola hepaticaAphanomyces causes two notifyable diseases: crayfish plague (J. Invertebr. Pathol. (2018) 156, 6-13 and Parasitol. (2019) 8, 1022-1029) and epizootic ulcerative syndrome in fish while Fasciola causes liver fluke in cattle and sheep. A project with the National Lobster Hatchery and Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences (Cefas) focuses on the role of the gut microbiome on lobster health. As part of this work, we were the first to describe new pathogens of European Lobster (J. Invertebr. Pathol. (2018) 154, 109-116 and Sci. Rep. (2019) 9, 10086).

Together with colleagues at Sports and Health Sciences and our Medical School we study how fruit and vegetables improve health and cognition as it is becoming increasingly clear microbes in our alimentary tract play crucial roles in health (see for example our involvement in Free Radic. Biol. Med. (2018) 124, 21-30.)

Our lab uses a variety of techniques to answer our research questions. Molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics and next-generation sequencing methods are routinely used. 

Selected publications

Publications in the last five years:

81. C.C. Holt, D. Bass, G.D. Stentiford, and M. van der Giezen (2020) Understanding the role of the shrimp gut microbiome in health and disease. J. Invertebr. Pathol., in press.

80. E.K. Herman, A.L. Greninger, M. van der Giezen, M.L. Ginger, I. Ramirez-Macias, H.C. Miller, M.J. Morgan, A.D. Tsaousis, K. Velle, R. Vargova, S. Rodrigo Najle, G. MacIntyre, N. Mueller, M. Wittwer, D.C. Zysset-Burri, M. Elias, C.H. Slamovits, M. Weirauch, L. Fritz-Laylin, F. Marciano-Cabral, G.J. Puzon, T. Walsh, C.Y. Chiu and J.B. Dacks (2020) A comparative 'omics approach to candidate pathogenicity factor discovery in the brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri. BioRxiv,

79. A. Thomas, R. Cutlan, W. Finnigan, M. van der Giezen, and N.J. Harmer (2019) Highly thermostable carboxylic acid reductases generated by ancestral protein reconstruction. Comm. Biol., 2, 1-12.

78. C.C. Holt, M. van der Giezen, C. Daniels, G. Stentiford, and D. Bass (2019) Spatial and temporal axes impact ecology of the gut microbiome in juvenile European lobster (Homarus gammarus). ISME J., 14, 531?543.

77. J. Huang, V. H. Nguyen, K.A. Hamblin, R. Maytum, M. van der Giezen and M. E. Fraser (2019) ATP-specificity of succinyl-CoA synthetase from Blastocystis hominis. Acta Cryst., D75, 647-659.

76. C.C. Holt, M. Stone, D. Bass, K.S. Bateman, R. van Aerle, C.L. Daniels, M. van der Giezen, S.H. Ross, C. Hooper, C. and G.D. Stentiford (2019) The first clawed lobster virus Homarus gammarus nudivirus (HgNV n. sp.) expands the diversity of the Nudiviridae. Sci. Rep., 9, 10086.

75. R. Lear, M. O'Leary, L. O'Brien Andersen, C.C. Holt, C.R. Stensvold, M. van der Giezen and J. Bowtell (2019) Tart cherry concentrate does not alter the gut microbiome, glycaemic control or systemic inflammation in a middle-aged population. Nutrients 11, 1063.

74. D. Minardi, D.J. Studholme, B. Oidtmann, T. Pretto and M. van der Giezen (2019) Improved genotyping method for the causative agent of crayfish plague (Aphanomyces astaci) based on mtDNA. Parasitol. 8, 1022-1029.

73. A.D. Tsaousis, K.A. Hamblin, C. Elliot, L. Young, A.R. Hidalgo, C.W. Gourlay, A.L. Moore and M. van der Giezen (2018) The human gut colonizer Blastocystis respires using Complex II and alternative oxidase to buffer transient oxygen fluctuations in the gut.Front. Cell. Infect. Microbiol. 8, 371.

72. C. Río Bártulos, M.B. Rogers, T.A. Williams, E. Gentekaki, H. Brinkmann, R. Cerff, M.-F. Liaud, A.B. Hehl, N.R. Yarlett, A. Gruber, P.G. Kroth and M. van der Giezen (2018) Mitochondrial targeting of glycolysis in a major lineage of eukaryotes. Genome Biol. Evol.10, 2310-2325.
(previously deposited as a preprint: bioRxiv 257790; doi:

71. D. Minardi, D.J. Studholme, T. Pretto, M. van der Giezen and B. Oidtmann (2018) New genotyping method for the causative agent of crayfish plague (Aphanomyces astaci) based on whole genome data. J. Invertebr. Pathol. 156, 6-13.

70. A. Vanhatalo, J.R. Blackwell, J. L'Heureux, D.W. Willians, A. Smith, M. van der Giezen, P.G. Winyard, J. Kelly and A.M. Jones (2018) Nitrate-responsive oral microbiome modulates nitric oxide homeostasis and blood pressure in humans. Free Radic. Biol. Med.124, 21-30.

69. C.R. Stensvold and M. van der Giezen (2018) Associations between gut microbiota and common luminal intestinal parasites. Trends in Parasitol. 34, 369-377.

68. C. Holt, R. Foster, C.L. Daniels, M. van der Giezen, S.W. Feist, G.D. Stentiford and D. Bass (2018) Halioticida noduliformans infection in eggs of lobster (Homarus gammarus) reveals its generalist parasitic strategy in marine invertebrates. J. Invertebr. Pathol. 154, 109-116.

67. E. Herman, M.A. Siegesmund, M.J. Bottery, R. van Aerle, M.M. Shather, E. Caler, J.B. Dacks and M. van der Giezen (2017) Membrane trafficking modulation during Entamoeba encystation. Sci. Rep. 7: 12854.

66. E. Gentekaki, B.A. Curtis, C.W. Stairs, V. Klime?, M. Eliá?, D.E. Salas-Leiva, E.K. Herman, L. Eme, M.C. Arias, B. Henrissat, F. Hilliou, M.J. Klute, H. Suga, S.-B. Malik, A.W. Pightling, M. Kolisko, R.A. Rachubinski, A. Schlacht, D.M. Soanes, A.D. Tsaousis, J.M. Archibald, S.G. Ball, J.B. Dacks, C.G. Clark, M. van der Giezen and A.J. Roger (2017) Extreme genome diversity in the hyper-prevalent parasitic eukaryote Blastocystis.PLoS Biology 15(9): e2003769.

65. R. van Aerle and M. van der Giezen (2017) Next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics, and infectious diseases. In: Genetics and evolution of infectious diseases. 2nd Ed. (Tibayrenc, M., Ed.), Elsevier, Amsterdam, 405-420.

64. K. Vashisht, S. Verma, S. Gupta, A. Lynn, R. Dixit, N. Mishra, N. Valecha, K.A. Hamblin, R. Maytum, K.C. Pandey and M. van der Giezen (2017) Engineering nucleotide specificity of succinyl-CoA synthetase in Blastocystis: The emerging role of gatekeeper residues. Biochemistry, 56, 534-542.

63. M. van der Giezen (2016) Evolution: Organelles caught in the act. Curr. Biol., 26, R913-R915.

62. M. van der Giezen (2015) Nature's magic algebra; or, how one plus one still equaled one. BioScience, 65, 832.

Research in progress

Work in the lab falls under the following broad headers. The distinction in the lab is not necessarily that clear as some projects fall under multiple headers. 

Molecular Parasitology:

Parasites are still affecting many people on our planet, mainly in developing nations. We are studying, mainly at fundamental level, how parasites function at a molecular level. Several PhD project focus at understanding the intestinal parasite Entamoeba which is the third most common death caused by parasites. With Professor Peter Winlove and Dr Peter Petrov (both Physics) we aim to understand biophysical events at the membranes of this important parasite. This work follows on our comparative transcriptomics work to understand encystation in Entamoeba (Scientific Reports (2017) 7, 12854). It is not only humans that are affected by parasites as animals are affected too. In the case of livestock, this affects humans due to their effect on food security. One of our projects focuses at understanding drug action in the liver fluke Fasciola hepatica. Together with Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences (Cefas) we sequenced genomes from several genomes of Aphanomyces species, causative agents of two notifiable diseases affecting fisheries and aquaculture. Our genome work has resulted in better diagnostics for crayfish plague, an infectious disease that is wiping out European crayfish (Journal of Invertebrate Pathology (2018) 156, 6-13) Other aquaculture work with Cefas is a recently funded BBSRC/NERC project to understand drug targets in the parasite that causes white spot disease and a major problem in the salmonid industry.

Host-Microbe Interactions:

How microbes interact with their hosts plays an important role in human and animal health. Many studies have shown the beneficial effect of microbes of the gut on human health. We recently published a study that sheds light on how a very common gut microbe might interact with its human host (Front. Cell. Infect. Microbiol. 8, 371). Part of our research focuses on the role of microbes play in human health and nutrition. We work with Professor Andy Jones (Sport and Health Sciences) on a BBSRC funded project on the role the oral microbiome plays in mobilising nutritional nitrate and healthy ageing. Together with Dr Jo Bowtell (also Sports and Health Sciences) we want to understand the effect of cherries on human health and the gut microbiome with a Cherry Marketing Institute grant. It is not only human health we are interested in. Together with collaborators from the National Lobster Hatchery and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences (Cefas) we study the effect of the gut microbiome on lobster health. Our work led to the first discovery of a lobster parasite in Europe (Journal of Invertebrate Pathology (2018) 154, 109-116). We also work with Professor Michael Lee at Rothamsted on a NERC funded project and a BBSRC funded PhD project on how microbes cycle on a whole farm in order to understand their role in ruminant nutrition.

Mitochondrial adaptations to anoxia:

Mitochondria are linked to oxygen via oxidative phosphorylation. However, how do anaerobic eukaryotes deal with the lack of oxygen? Almost every branch of eukaryotic life has (strict) anaerobic members. Research focuses on biochemical adaptations to life in the absence of oxygen, in particular mitochondrial evolution. This work featured in several high impact publications (Nature (2003) 426, 172-176Current Biology (2008) 18, 580-585Current Biology (2014) 24, 1176-1186 and PLoS Biology (2017) 15(9) e2003769) and included major human pathogens such as Giardia intestinalisEntamoeba histolytica and Blastocystis. We hope that understanding their unusual biochemistry might lead to new drug targets.

Work experience


2018 Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK

2007 Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, Queen Mary, University of London, UK

1992-1997 PhD in Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University of Groningen, the Netherlands

1988-1992 Drs Molecular Biology & Immunology, University of Groningen, the Netherlands


2019-present Professor of Biological Chemistry, Centre for Organelle Research, University of Stavanger, Norway

2019 Associate Professor of Evolutionary Biochemistry, School of Biosciences, University of Exeter, UK

2018 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, UK

2018 Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK

2018 Nominated for President for the International Society of Protistologists (ISOP)

2017-present Theme Lead Aquatic Diseases for the centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Futures, UK

2014 Elected Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, UK

2009 Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Protein Research, University of Osaka, Japan

2007-2018 Senior Lecturer in Evolutionary Biochemistry, School of Biosciences, University of Exeter, UK

2004-2007 Lecturer in Microbiology, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London, UK

2002-2004 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

1998 EMBO Fellow

1997-2002 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, London, UK

1996 Visiting Scientist, Centre for the Study of Metals in Biology and Medicine, King?s College, London, UK

1992 Erasmus Studentship, Laboratoire de Microbiologie et Génétique Moléculaires, University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France

Scientific publications (from Cristin)