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    Welcome to Evan and Julien!

    March 01 2019
    Unfortunately we will be missing Stefano, but there is also some happy news with the first official day of Julien Dénéréaz as PhD candidate in our lab and of Evan Bexkens as master student. 
    Good luck!

    Goodbye Stefano!

    February 28 2019

    A sad day for the lab as we say goodbye to Stefano. It's been 3 fantastic years, with some very exciting papers coming up! We are looking forward to seeing what you will be doing next!

    Cum laude PhD defence of Jelle!

    February 21 2019

    Congratulations to Jelle Slager for an outstanding PhD defense with highest honors (Cum laude)! We are all very proud!!

    New group photo

    February 15 2019

    New year, new group photo!

    Marie-Curie fellowship to Liselot!

    February 14 2019

    Congratulations to Liselot Dewachter, currently at the Center for Microbiology in Leuven (Belgium), for obtaining a prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie post-doctoral fellowship! Liselot will join our lab from the 1st of April 2019.


    Afonso arrived!

    January 17 2019

    After exactly 1 year at the EMBL in the lab of Nassos Typas, Afonso will continue his research in our lab. Afonso is interested in generating mutant libraries using SUDOKO Tn-seq screens and using them to decipher the importance of the pan-genome in several bacteria.

    Welcome to new PhD candidate Vincent de Bakker!

    January 10 2019

    This week we welcome Vincent to our team! Vincent will be working within the framework of a recently approved JPIAMR (Joint Program Initiative on antimicrobial resistance) project called DISRUPT where he will identify targets and mode of action of novel anti-biofilm agents in S. pneumoniae and S. aureus using a combination of high-throughput screens and computational analysis.



    Congratulations to Dimi!

    December 19 2018

    Congratulations to Dimitra for passing her mid-thesis exam! Thanks to Yolanda Schaerli and Tim van Opijnen for doing excellent jury work. Cheers!

    New preprint: Refining the pneumococcal competence regulon

    December 15 2018

    Previous studies on the competence regulon were performed with microarray technology and limited to an incomplete set of known genes. Using RNA-sequencing, combined with an up-to-date genome annotation, Jelle and Rieza provide an updated overview of competence-regulated genes, encompassing refinement of the regulons of ComE, BlpR and ComX, as well as the stress response CiaR and VraR (LiaR) regulons. Read the preprint on BioRxiv here.

    Our latest work on the cover of Cell Reports!

    November 27 2018

    Our work (Arnau & Jelle's) on the identification of a new (3rd) mechanism by which certain antibiotics induce pneumococcal competence for DNA uptake on the cover of Cell Reports!

    Drugs targeting PBP3 promote chain formation. Cell chains retain, rather than diffuse, the quorum-sensing peptide CSP. Chaining populations feature a longer competence and transformation time window.

    Here is the link to the paper

    See a general audience write up on our work from the University of Lausanne here (in French) 'Le pneumocoque ou l’art de déjouer les antibiotiques'

    And for a nice interview with Jelle (in Dutch and English) 'Hoe antibiotica helpen bij verspreiden van resistentie', click here

    New transnational JPIAMR grant awarded!

    November 12 2018

    Our JPIAMR (Joint Program Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance) proposal entitled DISRUPT was selected for funding! Out of 104 applications, 10 were selected for funding. Read more here:

    DISRUPT is coordinated by former Veeninglab post-doc Morten Kjos (now associate professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences) and, besides our lab, includes the teams of Nassos Typas and Christophe Merten, both from the EMBL in Heidelberg.

    The idea of DISRUPT is to fight antimicrobial resistant infections by high-throughput discovery of biofilm-disrupting agents and mechanisms. The project will start in 2019 and our lab will be funded via the SNF.

    PneumoBrowse and PneumoExpress made it to the cover of NAR!

    November 02 2018

    Our back2back papers () & () made it to the cover ! It's an artistic rendering by & of correlated gene expression in S.pneumoniae and a section of the newly assembled genome.

    BSc student invasion!

    October 24 2018

    Welcome to Aya, Gilles, Guillaume, Mam Malick and Marina, who are in their 3rd year of biology BSc, doing the 'Experimental Design' course in our lab.

    They will be working with Clement the coming weeks to figure out how CcrZ localizes. Good luck!

    New paper in PLoS Pathogens

    October 12 2018

    Interesting new work by the team of Luisa Hiller, with a small contribution by our lab (Arnau), now out in PLoS Pathogens! We show that a small peptide now called BriC, is under competence control and secreted by ComAB and plays an important role in biofilm formation. Pneumococci without BriC also colonize mice less well. Lot's of things still to learn, but again highlighting the importance of competence development for the pneumococcal lifestyle. Read the original paper here, and a news coverage item here.

    Welcome to first step Master student Olivier!

    October 01 2018

    Olivier will work with Arnau to look in close detail on how competence is regulated. Good luck!

    PneumoExpress also accepted!

    August 06 2018

    PneumoExpress is now also accepted for a back2back publication with PneumoBrowse in Nucleic Acids Research! Big congrats to Rieza, Jelle and Siger for this amazing work. PneumoBrowse is already available online at NAR:

    Read more about PneumoExpress here

    Our ISMEj paper on bacteriocin regulation has been recommended in F1000Prime

    August 02 2018

    Our paper: Eavesdropping and crosstalk between secreted quorum sensing peptide signals that regulate bacteriocin production in Streptococcus pneumoniae., The ISME Journal, 2018 (DOI: 10.3410/f.733450315.793548634), has been recommended in F1000Prime as being of special significance in its field by F1000 Faculty Member Paul Cotter.
    You can read it here

    PneumoBrowse accepted for Nucleic Acids Research!

    July 28 2018

    Congratulations to Jelle and Rieza, their PneumoBrowse paper entitled 'Deep genome annotation of the opportunistic human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae D39' has been accepted for publication in Nucleic Acids Research! Read all about PneumoBrowse here

    Goodbye pneumocookies

    July 27 2018

    After Jasper, now also time to say goodbye to Aya and Guillaume, with PneumoCookies!

    Thanks for the work and great time in our lab!

    Rieza's PhD defense!

    July 13 2018

    Rieza will defend his thesis entitled: Quantifying the transcriptome of a human pathogen: Exploring transcriptional adaptation of Streptococcus pneumoniae under infection-relevant conditions.

    Where? Aula Groningen

    When? Friday the 13th of July at 14:30h

    Welcome to Aya, summer intern!

    July 06 2018

    Welcome to Aya Iizuka, 2nd year BSc student who is doing a summer internship under the supervision of Xue!

    Eavesdropping in bacteriocin signaling now out in ISME journal!

    June 18 2018

    The latest of our long-standing collaboration with the Rozen lab now out in on crosstalk in pneumocin QS signaling:

    Inaugural lecture 14 June 2018

    June 14 2018

    Jeudi 14 juin 2018, 17h15
    Amphithéâtre du Biophore | UNIL-Sorge | Lausanne


      • >  Prof. Nicolas Fasel
        Vice-Doyen de la Faculté de biologie et de médecine de l’UNIL

      • >  Prof. Jan Roelof van der Meer
        Directeur du Département de microbiologie fondamentale

    Leçon inaugurale

     'De la bactérie inoffensive au redoutable pathogène: Approches de biologie synthétique pour décrypter l’infection à pneumocoques'

    > Jan-Willem Veening
    Professeur ordinaire à la Faculté de biologie et de médecine de l’UNIL


    L’entrée est libre. La manifestation sera suivie d’un apéritif.


    Staph aureus CRISPRi CozE preprint now published!

    June 10 2018

    Morten's team (with a small contribution by us) established a very robust CRISPRi system for Staphylococcus aureus and then using that to show that staph has not 1 but 2 CozE-like proteins. The work shows that CozE proteins mediate control of cell division in S. aureus and S. pneumoniae, likely via interactions with key cell division proteins such as EzrA.The work is now online at Molecular Microbiology (preprinted at BioRxiv first).

    We are hiring!

    May 14 2018

    We are looking for 2 PhD students to strengthen our team. Apply before the 30th of June. We are looking for creative candidates that have an interest in technology, synthetic biology, genetics, bioinformatics, microscopy, infection biology. Read more about the positions and apply via the official UNIL page here. Feel free to contact Jan-Willem directly for questions.

    Welcome to Monica, our new labmanager!

    May 01 2018

    We are very pleased to present Monica, who will work on several projects, as well as keep smooth sailing of the lab. Another salient detail is that with Monica, we currently have 15 nationalities, a new Veening lab record! 🇳🇱🇧🇪🇨🇴🇫🇷🇬🇷🇮🇳🇮🇩🇮🇹🇯🇵🇳🇿🇨🇭🇺🇸🇵🇹🇪🇸🇨🇳

    Launching PneumoBrowse and PneumoExpress!

    March 22 2018

    Today we proudly launch 2 new databases that will tremendously aid researchers working on Streptococcus pneumoniae.

    The first database is PneumoBrowse, which allows browsing through the now extremely well annotated D39V genome. The second database is PneumoExpress, which provides detailed gene expression profiles of all genes under 22 infection-relevant conditions.

    We anticipate that these resources will aid in functional analysis of the pneumococcal genome, future genome annotation projects, and the acceleration of identifying new vaccine candidates and targets for novel antibiotics.

    Our preprint on how certain antibiotics induce competence (new mechanism!) now online

    March 20 2018

    Discovery of a mechanism by which certain antibiotics, such as aztreonam, can induce competence and HGT in S.pneumoniae. It also shows the versatility of the competence quorum sensing system to integrate different signals. Great job by Arnau and Jelle.

    Pre-print here:

    Editorial with Rita Tamayo out

    February 13 2018

    Rita Tamayo and myself edited a special issue in Current Opinion in Microbiology on 'Cell regulation'. The issue turned out really great with an amazing set of reviews, see here. Our editorial overview on this issue can be read here.

    Welcome to Jasper and Guillaume!

    February 05 2018

    Jasper from Groningen (NL) will be doing a MSc project with Renske and Guillaume will be working with Jun to finish his masters at Louvain (BEL). Good luck!

    Snow retreat Les Diablerets

    January 31 2018

    The lab enjoyed 2 days in the snow, together with the team of Stephan Gruber, in the amazing Les Diablerets, just a 1h drive from Lausanne. Besides skiing, sledging and snowshoeing there were of course many stimulating scientific discussions!

    ERC Consolidator Grant to combine synthetic biology with infection biology

    November 28 2017

    Today the ERC announced this years' consolidator grant winners and our lab is one of them!

    Read more about the opportunities here.

    Lab retreat 2017 Budapest

    November 20 2017

    Our lab retreat to Budapest was a great succes! Friday was spent doing a SWOT analysis and coming up with a mission statement for the lab. There was also time to visit the beautiful city and try the local cuisine. We also happended to stumble into an amazing pub named Szimpla where the team became creative (see picture).

    Learning new tricks

    October 27 2017

    This week Vladimir and Jan-Willem went to visit Roi Avraham at the Weizmann Institute in Israel to learn all about preparing libraries for sequencing. We learned a lot, setup an exciting collaboration and will definitely come back to see more of the country.

    Preprint now published in Nature Communications

    October 09 2017

    Our preprint in BioRxiv combining experiments with modeling to understand competence regulation is now out in Nature Communications.

    Congratulations to Stefany, Robin, Arnau, Morten! This has been a great collaboration with Sander van Doorn and Franjo Weissing at GELIFES.

    For some background on the work, see the 'Behind the paper': Synchronizing bacterial sex.

    ScienceLinx also did an interview with SanderHow does a bacterium make sense of the world?

    Welcome to MSc student Pascal!

    October 02 2017

    Today Pascal Roth started his 'first step' Masters project (3 months) in our lab, testing different CRISPR systems, under the supervision of Dimitra. Good luck!

    SNF funding to study pneumococcal cell biology

    September 01 2017

    Jan-Willem received SNF funding to study cell division and chromosome segregation in Streptococcus pneumoniae! Details on the grant are available at the SNF Research database.

    Lay Summary (in French):

    Streptococcus pneumoniae (le pneumocoque) est un agent pathogène opportuniste qui peut causer des maladies graves telles que la septicémie, la méningite et la pneumonie. Il est responsable annuellement de près d'un million de morts. La plupart des antibiotiques utilisés pour traiter les infections à pneumocoque ciblent les enzymes qui fabriquent la paroi cellulaire de la bactérie et de cette manière bloquent la division cellulaire. Les mécanismes qui permettent à la cellule de se diviser exactement par le milieu restent inconnus. L'objectif principal de ce projet est de décrire comment Streptococcus pneumoniae se divise pour produire deux cellules filles de taille identique et de même forme.

    Start of our first DARPA project

    September 01 2017

    Congratulations to Lance for landing and coordinating our first ever DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) contract to use Streptococcus pneumoniae to sequence DNA! Lance will be working together with Anne-Stéphanie to reach the first years' milestones and unlock a second year of funding.

    Joint lab meeting Grangeasse team in Lyon

    July 25 2017

    Sponsored by the EMBO young investigator programme, the Veening lab had a joint lab meeting with the Grangeasse lab in Lyon. Besides great science, there was also time for sightseeing and treeclimbing!

    Novartis Foundation grant

    July 11 2017

    Congratulations to Stefano and Jan-Willem for landing a Novartis Foundation for medical-biological Research grant. The grant is for 60K CHF and will allow us to buy a new Geldoc and a couple of months of salary for Stefano to help unravel a new mechanism for chromosome segregation in Streptococcus pneumoniae.

    Welcome to the Veening lab!

    June 01 2017

    We use synthetic and systems biology approaches to understand how bacteria replicate and switch from benign to pathogen. Our favorite model organism is Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus). Have a look at our Research page to learn more about our work.

    "Pneumococcus is altogether an amazing cell. Tiny in size, simple in structure, frail in make-up, it possesses physiological functions of great variety, performs biochemical feats of extraordinary intricacy and, attacking man, sets up a stormy disease so often fatal that it must be reckoned as one of the foremost causes of human death."
    Benjamin White: The Biology of Pneumococcus. The Commonwealth Fund, Oxford University Press, London, 1938.

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