The Executive Board has appointed Dr Berend Snel as Professor with a Special Remit of Bioinformatics at the Institute for Biodynamics and Biocomplexity, at the Faculty of Science’s Biology Department. Snel is an international expert in evolutionary bioinformatics. As co-initiator of the Integrative Bioinformatics research focus area, it is his ambition to give further shape to and expand the existing alliance between Utrecht University, Hubrecht Laboratory and UMC Utrecht.
“Utrecht has a few excellent bioinformatics groups which are not that visible, as they each work within their own research group”, says Snel. “It is my ambition to make the Utrecht bioinformatics community more visible and to take cooperation and the exchange of information to the next level. We will host the Netherlands Bioinformatics Conference next year, which has a strong focus on education. Bioinformatics is becoming increasingly important, but we are training too few students in this area. We are currently working hard at expanding the number of Bachelor and Master courses.”
Answering evolutionary questions
Snel’s research is focused on evolutionary and integrative bioinformatics. “I really like to find an answer to evolutionary questions from the enormous amount of available genomic data, for instance, how complicated systems, as found in vertebrates, developed from really simple systems”, he explains.
Proteins important for cell division
Snel cooperates with many different groups on a wide range of subjects, ranging from research with UMC into the proteins that are important in cell division to research with plant biologists into the evolution of plant pathogens. His impressive publications list shows an above-average diversity in journals, including Nature (five publications), Science and Cell. His work is also frequently quoted.
Berend Snel (38) studied Biology at Utrecht University and conducted his doctoral research at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. After a short stint as postdoc in Nijmegen, he returned to Utrecht in 2006 to work as a Lecturer and Associate Professor in the Theoretical Biology and Bioinformatics group. He is active in both Bachelor and Master education.
Monica van der Garde, Press Officer of the Faculty of Science, email@example.com, 06 13 66 14 38.