About us

The Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics is composed of several research groups, of which most are part of the VIB Center for Plant Systems Biology (PSB), but you also have International Plant Biotechnology Outreach (IPBO), the UGent research group Data Integration and Biological Networks and the Ghent University Lab of Plant Growth Analysis.

The Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics is built on the foundations of the Laboratory of General Genetics, pioneered by Jeff Schell and Marc Van Montagu. In 1995, the laboratory was integrated into the newly created VIB (Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie), and renamed Department of Plant Genetics. The generous funding provided by the VIB allowed the group to expand. In 1999, Marc Van Montagu retired and Marc Zabeau was appointed head of the department. This was a time for change and refocus. The newly emerging field of genomics was rapidly becoming tangible in plant sciences with the completion of the sequencing of the Arabidopsis genome. The emphasis on plant engineering has now been replaced by a focus on systems approaches to study the basic biological processes in plants, where plants represent an "interesting and important biological system that contrasts animal life". Hence the change in name: Plant Systems Biology. In 2002, Dirk Inzé became Scientific Director and continues to develop the center as a center of excellence for systems biology of plant growth and development. 

Our department plays a crucial role in the education of students biochemistry-biotechnology, plant biotechnology and bioinformatics by offering courses in a wide range of disciplines, centered around plant-specific aspects of biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, cell biology and physiology  and the ability to use biochemical and biotechnological techniques in a creative and inventive manner. Another aspect is to obtain a better and preferentially more quantitative molecular understanding of cellular processes by integrating and modeling high-throughput molecular data (omics data).