Anne Willems group

Research interests

Central themes of our research are bacterial diversity, taxonomy and ecology, particularly of environmental bacteria, plant associated bacteria and other bacterial symbioses.

Using cultivation-based as well as non-cultivation approaches, a number of research lines are pursued in the domain of bacteria-host symbioses:
We study the diversity of bacterial endophytes of plants and their potential contribution to cold tolerance and secondary metabolite production. We also studied the diversity and function of bacteria associated with macro- and micro-algae, including diatoms.
A long standing research interest has been the diversity, evolution and taxonomy of rhizobia and other soil and plant associated bacteria.
Diversity and function of the gut microbiome of fruit flies and entomopathogenic nematodes are also topics of recent interest.

In the domain of environmental microbiology the following research lines are followed:
We study the diversity, distribution and function of bacteria in Antarctic terrestrial habitats, particularly in surface samples exposed to harsh environmental conditions.
In the marine environment, we also study the diversity and function of bacteria in intertidal sediments, with a focus on their role in the nitrogen cycle and interaction with diatoms and copepods.

Brief cv

Anne Willems studied biology at Ghent University and obtained a PhD in microbiology in January 1991 at the Lab. of Microbiology.

In 1991 she obtained an EU grant as a postdoc at the AFRC Institute of Food Research, Dept. Microbiology, Shinfield, Reading, UK for 18 months. She then stayed at the BBSRC Institute of Food Research in Reading as a Higher and later a Senior Scientific Officer.

She returned to Ghent University in October 1996 to start as an FWO postdoc in the Lab. of Microbiology. In 2005 she became professor of microbiology at this lab.

Publications of Anne Willems