Thijs Ettema

Principal Investigator


Having obtained my PhD degree in Microbiology at Wageningen University (The Netherlands) I moved to Sweden with my family to work at Uppsala University to focus on microbial genome evolution. Here, I developed a strong interest in a variety of topics that center around this theme, ranging from the origin of the eukaryotic cell to endosymbiosis and evolution of whole microbial populations. After having spent a few years as Postdoctoral researcher, I obtained an ‘Assistant Professorship’ grant from the Swedish Research Council (VR) in 2010, allowing me to start up my own lab and explore new, exciting lines of research. More recently, having obtained funding from the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant) and the Stiftelse för Strategisk Forskning (SSF – ‘Future Research Leader’), I have build up a research group that operates at the intersection of microbial genomics, microbial ecology and microbial evolution.

Current Research

My lab is dedicated to explore the vast uncharacterized microbial diversity using cutting-edge culture independent technologies, such as single cell genomics and metagenomics. Using second and third generation sequencing technologies, we aim at generating genomic data of novel bacterial and archaeal lineages, as well as of unchracterized protists. Apart from assessing the overall microbial diversity on our planet, we aim to gain insight in the evolutionary relations between between and within the Three Domains of Life. Of special interest is the archaeal Domain, which remains poorly chraracterized to date. In addition, I have a strong interest in reconstructing the emergence of the eukaryotic cell. Did eukaryotes originate via a cellular fusion event? And if so, which were the archaeal and bacterial fusion partners? Also here, we employ culture-independent genomics approaches to identify microbial lineages that might have played a pivotal role in this enigmatic event.

Thijs @ YNP
Thijs @ YNP