Prof. Dr. Tom Coenye
Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Microbiology (LPM)
Tom Coenye graduated as MSc in Biochemistry at Ghent University in 1996. In 2000, he obtained his PhD. The title of the thesis was “New insights in the Burkholderia taxonomy and diagnosis of Burkholderia cepacia complex infections in cystic fibrosis patients”.
His PhD studies were funded by the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT) and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust (UK) and were carried out in the Laboratory of Microbiology in the Faculty of Sciences at Ghent University, under the supervision of Prof. Peter Vandamme. Subsequently Tom Coenye worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Prof. John J. LiPuma (Department of Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA) on epidemiology and population structure of B. cepacia complex isolates and the identification of unusual respiratory pathogens present in the lungs of CF patients (from February 2001 untill April 2002).
Upon his return to Belgium, he rejoined the group of Peter Vandamme to continue his work on the taxonomy of Gram-negative non-fermenters and the use of novel approaches (based on whole-genome sequences) in bacterial taxonomy. His work was funded by the Belgian Federal Government (a DWTC Return Grant) and the Fund for Scientific Research-Flanders (FWO Postdoctoral Fellowship). For this taxonomic work he received the 2007 Dade Behring MicroScan Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Microbiology and the American Academy for Microbiology.
He joined the Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Microbiology (as a postdoctoral research and teaching assistant) in April 2005 and was appointed as research professor in October 2006.
His present research interests include:
- (i) gene expression profiling in microbial biofilms using real-time quantitative PCR, micro-array analysis and next-generation sequencing,
- (ii) mechanisms of disinfectant and antibiotic resistance in biofilm-associated bacteria,
- (iii) molecular mechanisms involved in the formation and resistance of persister cells,
- (iv) novel approaches to the eradication of biofilms,
- (v) quorum sensing in bacterial biofilms, and
- (vi) study of the diversity of medical-deviced associated polymicrobial biofilms.
In the Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Microbiology a wide range of organisms are studied (both bacteria and fungi), but our research is focussed on the fungal pathogen Candida albicans on the one hand and on pathogens of the respiratory tract of cystic fibrosis patients (especially Burkholderia cepacia complex) on the other hand.