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Veening, Prof. Jan Willem

Jan Willem Veening
Jan Willem Veening

Jan-Willem Veening is Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics. He gained his PhD at the University of Groningen and worked as a postdoc at the Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, Newcastle University. Veening set up a unique research line relatively quickly at the Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute of the University of Groningen, focusing on cell biology and phenotypical heterogeneity of the human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae. Veening expects to gain important insights in the coming years. ‘This research is helping us better understand this bacterium and, hopefully, find new targets for antibiotics and vaccines.’

In 2013, Veening was awarded a VIDI grant by NWO and an ERC Starting Grant by the European Commission. In addition, he was the only Dutch person to be admitted to the EMBO Young Investigators programme, a sort of Young Academy specifically for the life sciences. In November 2014, Veening was appointed member of The Young Academy, part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In October 2015 he published a study of the prerequisites for antibiotic resistance development in the important human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae in the journal Nature Communications, together with his colleague Robin Sorg.

Previously in the news

Article for NOS op 3
Article for NOS op 3



Minhas, V., Aprianto, R., McAllister, L. J., Wang, H., David, S. C., McLean, K. T., Comerford, I., McColl, S. R., Paton, J. C., Veening, J-W., & Trappetti, C. (2020). In vivo dual RNA-seq reveals that neutrophil recruitment underlies differential tissue tropism of Streptococcus pneumoniae. Communications biology, 3(1), [293].
Domenech, A., Brochado, A. R., Sender, V., Hentrich, K., Henriques-Normark, B., Typas, A., & Veening, J-W. (2020). Proton Motive Force Disruptors Block Bacterial Competence and Horizontal Gene Transfer. Cell Host & Microbe, 27(4), 544-555.e3. [j.chom.2020.02.002].
Sorg, R. A., Gallay, C., Van Maele, L., Sirard, J-C., & Veening, J-W. (2020). Synthetic gene-regulatory networks in the opportunistic human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(44), 27608-27619. [pnas.1920015117].


van Raaphorst, R., Kjos, M., & Veening, J-W. (2019). BactMAP: An R package for integrating, analyzing and visualizing bacterial microscopy data. Molecular Microbiology, 113(1), 297-308.
Slager, J., Aprianto, R., & Veening, J-W. (2019). Refining the Pneumococcal Competence Regulon by RNA Sequencing. Journal of Bacteriology, 201(13), [00780].
Mercy, C., Ducret, A., Slager, J., Lavergne, J-P., Freton, C., Nagarajan, S. N., Garcia, P. S., Noirot-Gros, M-F., Dubarry, N., Nourikyan, J., Veening, J-W., & Grangeasse, C. (2019). RocS drives chromosome segregation and nucleoid protection in Streptococcus pneumoniae. Nature Microbiology, 4(10), 1661-1670.


Domenech, A., Slager, J., & Veening, J-W. (2018). Antibiotic-Induced Cell Chaining Triggers Pneumococcal Competence by Reshaping Quorum Sensing to Autocrine-Like Signaling. Cell reports, 25(9), 2390-2400; e1-e3. [j.celrep.2018.11.007].,
Slager, J., Aprianto, R., & Veening, J-W. (2018). Deep genome annotation of the opportunistic human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae D39. Nucleic Acids Research, 46(19), 9971-9989.
Miller, E. L., Kjos, M., Abrudan, M., Roberts, I. S., Veening, J-W., & Rozen, D. E. (2018). Eavesdropping and crosstalk between secreted quorum sensing peptide signals that regulate bacteriocin production in Streptococcus pneumoniae. ISME Journal, 12(10), 2363-2375.
Veening, J-W., & Tamayo, R. (2018). Editorial overview: Bacterial cell regulation: from genes to complex environments. Current Opinion in Microbiology, 42, 110-114.
Aprianto, R., Slager, J., Holsappel, S., & Veening, J-W. (2018). High-resolution analysis of the pneumococcal transcriptome under a wide range of infection-relevant conditions. Nucleic Acids Research, 46(19), 9990-10006.
Domenech, A., & Veening, J-W. (2018). Means and methods for reducing or avoiding antibiotic resistance and spread of virulence in human pathogens. (Patent No. WO2018070874).


Dockerty, P., Edens, J. G., Tol, M. B., Morales Angeles, D., Domenech Pena, A., Liu, Y., Hirsch, A. K. H., Veening, J-W., Scheffers, D-J., & Witte, M. D. (2017). Bicyclic enol cyclocarbamates inhibit penicillin-binding proteins. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 15(4), 894-910.
van Raaphorst, R., Kjos, M., & Veening, J-W. (2017). Chromosome segregation drives division site selection in Streptococcus pneumoniae. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(29), E5959-E5968.
Liu, X., Gallay, C., Kjos, M., Domenech, A., Slager, J., van Kessel, S. P., Knoops, K., Sorg, R. A., Zhang, J-R., & Veening, J-W. (2017). High-throughput CRISPRi phenotyping identifies new essential genes in Streptococcus pneumoniae. Molecular Systems Biology, 13(5), 1-18. [931].
Veening, J-W., & Blokesch, M. (2017). Interbacterial predation as a strategy for DNA acquisition in naturally competent bacteria. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 15(10), 621-629.
Hassane, M., Demon, D., Soulard, D., Fontaine, J., Keller, L. E., Patin, E. C., Porte, R., Prinz, I., Ryffel, B., Kadioglu, A., Veening, J-W., Sirard, J-C., Faveeuw, C., Lamkanfi, M., Trottein, F., & Paget, C. (2017). Neutrophilic NLRP3 inflammasome-dependent IL-1β secretion regulates the γδT17 cell response in respiratory bacterial infections. Mucosal immunology, 10(4), 1056-1068.
Morales Angeles, D., Liu, Y., Hartman, A. M., Borisova, M., de Sousa Borges, A., de Kok, N., Beilharz, K., Veening, J-W., Mayer, C., Hirsch, A. K. H., & Scheffers, D-J. (2017). Pentapeptide-rich peptidoglycan at the Bacillus subtilis cell-division site. Molecular Microbiology, 104(2), 319-333.
Moreno-Gámez, S., Sorg, R. A., Domenech, A., Kjos, M., Weissing, F. J., van Doorn, G. S., & Veening, J-W. (2017). Quorum sensing integrates environmental cues, cell density and cell history to control bacterial competence. Nature Communications, 8(1), [854].
Liu, X., Li, J-W., Feng, Z., Luo, Y., Veening, J-W., & Zhang, J-R. (2017). Transcriptional Repressor PtvR Regulates Phenotypic Tolerance to Vancomycin in Streptococcus pneumoniae. Journal of Bacteriology, 199(14), [UNSP e00054-17].


Oppegård, C., Kjos, M., Veening, J-W., Nissen-Meyer, J., & Kristensen, T. (2016). A putative amino acid transporter determines sensitivity to the two-peptide bacteriocin plantaricin JK. MicrobiologyOpen, 5(4), 700-708.
Sorg, R. A., Lin, L., van Doorn, G. S., Sorg, M., Olson, J., Nizet, V., & Veening, J-W. (2016). Collective resistance in microbial communities by intracellular antibiotic deactivation. PLOS BIOLOGY, 14(12), [e2000631].
Kjos, M., Miller, E., Slager, J., Lake, F. B., Gericke, O., Roberts, I. S., Rozen, D. E., & Veening, J-W. (2016). Expression of Streptococcus pneumoniae Bacteriocins Is Induced by Antibiotics via Regulatory Interplay with the Competence System. PLoS Pathogens, 12(2), [e1005422].
Slager, J., & Veening, J-W. (2016). Hard-Wired Control of Bacterial Processes by Chromosomal Gene Location. Trends in Microbiology, 24(10), 788-800. [TIMI 1345].
Kuipers, K., Gallay, C., Martinek, V., Rohde, M., Martinkova, M., van der Beek, S. L., Jong, W. S. P., Venselaar, H., Zomer, A., Bootsma, H., Veening, J-W., & de Jonge, M. I. (2016). Highly conserved nucleotide phosphatase essential for membrane lipid homeostasis in Streptococcus pneumoniae. Molecular Microbiology, 101(1), 12-26.
Jim, K. K., Engelen-Lee, J., van der Sar, A. M., Bitter, W., Brouwer, M. C., van der Ende, A., Veening, J-W., van de Beek, D., & Vandenbroucke-Grauls, C. M. J. E. (2016). Infection of zebrafish embryos with live fluorescent Streptococcus pneumoniae as a real-time pneumococcal meningitis model. Journal of neuroinflammation, 13(1), 1-13. [188].
Aprianto, R., Slager, J., Holsappel, S., & Veening, J-W. (2016). Time-resolved dual RNA-seq reveals extensive rewiring of lung epithelial and pneumococcal transcriptomes during early infection. Genome Biology, 17(1), 1-16. [198].


Nourikyan, J., Kjos, M., Mercy, C., Cluzel, C., Morlot, C., Noirot-Gros, M-F., Guiral, S., Lavergne, J-P., Veening, J-W., & Grangeasse, C. (2015). Autophosphorylation of the Bacterial Tyrosine-Kinase CpsD Connects Capsule Synthesis with the Cell Cycle in Streptococcus pneumoniae. PLoS genetics, 11(9), [e1005518].
Paixão, L., Oliveira, J., Veríssimo, A., Vinga, S., Lourenço, E. C., Ventura, M. R., Kjos, M., Veening, J-W., Fernandes, V. E., Andrew, P. W., Yesilkaya, H., & Neves, A. R. (2015). Host Glycan Sugar-Specific Pathways in Streptococcus pneumonia: Galactose as a Key Sugar in Colonisation and Infection. PLoS ONE, 10(3), [e0121042].
Sorg, R. A., & Veening, J-W. (2015). Microscale insights into pneumococcal antibiotic mutant selection windows. Nature Communications, 6, [8773].
Beilharz, K., van Raaphorst, R., Kjos, M., & Veening, J-W. (2015). Red fluorescent proteins for gene expression and protein localization studies in Streptococcus pneumoniae and efficient transformation with Gibson assembled DNA. Applied and environmental microbiology, 81(20), 7244-7252. [AEM.02033-15].
Detert Oude Weme, R. G. J., Kovács, Á. T., de Jong, S. J. G., Veening, J-W., Siebring, J., & Kuipers, O. P. (2015). Single Cell FRET Analysis for the Identification of Optimal FRET-Pairs in Bacillus subtilis Using a Prototype MEM-FLIM System. PLoS ONE, 10(4), [e0123239].
Attaiech, L., Minnen, A., Kjos, M., Gruber, S., & Veening, J-W. (2015). The ParB-parS Chromosome Segregation System Modulates Competence Development in Streptococcus pneumoniae. Mbio, 6(4), 1-8. [e00662-15].


Kjos, M., Aprianto, R., Fernandes, V. E., Andrew, P. W., van Strijp, J. A. G., Nijland, R., & Veening, J-W. (2015). Bright fluorescent Streptococcus pneumoniae for live cell imaging of host-pathogen interactions. Journal of Bacteriology, 197(5), 807-818.
Sorg, R. A., Kuipers, O. P., & Veening, J-W. (2015). Gene Expression Platform for Synthetic Biology in the Human Pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae. ACS Synthetic Biology, 4(3), 228-39.
Veening, J-W. (2015). To mutate or not to mutate: Genetic and epigenetic heterogeneity contribute to bacterial adaptation (comment on DOI 10.1002/bies.201400153). BioEssays, 37, 116-117.
Slager, J., Kjos, M., Attaiech, L., & Veening, J-W. (2014). Antibiotic-induced replication stress triggers bacterial competence by increasing gene dosage near the origin. Cell, 157(2), 395-406.
Daszczuk, A., Dessalegne, Y., Drenth, I., Hendriks, E., Jo, E., van Lente, T., Oldebesten, A., Parrish, J., Poljakova, W., Purwanto, A. A., van Raaphorst, R., Boonstra, M., van Heel, A., Herber, M., van der Meulen, S., Siebring, J., Sorg, R. A., Heinemann, M., Kuipers, O. P., & Veening, J-W. (2014). Bacillus subtilis Biosensor Engineered To Assess Meat Spoilage. ACS Synthetic Biology, 3(12), 999-1002.
Yuzenkova, Y., Gamba, P., Herber, M., Attaiech, L., Shafeeq, S., Kuipers, O. P., Klumpp, S., Zenkin, N., & Veening, J-W. (2014). Control of transcription elongation by GreA determines rate of gene expression in Streptococcus pneumoniae. Nucleic Acids Research, 42(17), 10987-10999.
Gruber, S., Veening, J-W., Bach, J., Blettinger, M., Bramkamp, M., & Errington, J. (2014). Interlinked Sister Chromosomes Arise in the Absence of Condensin during Fast Replication in B. subtilis. Current Biology, 24(3), 293-298.
Kjos, M., Oppegård, C., Diep, D. B., Nes, I. F., Veening, J-W., Nissen-Meyer, J., & Kristensen, T. (2014). Sensitivity to the two-peptide bacteriocin lactococcin G is dependent on UppP, an enzyme involved in cell-wall synthesis. Molecular Microbiology, 92(6), 1177-1187.
Peters, K., Schweizer, I., Beilharz, K., Stahlmann, C., Veening, J-W., Hakenbeck, R., & Denapaite, D. (2014). Streptococcus pneumoniae PBP2x mid-cell localization requires the C-terminal PASTA domains and is essential for cell shape maintenance. Molecular Microbiology, 92(4), 733-755.
Kjos, M., & Veening, J-W. (2014). Tracking of chromosome dynamics in live Streptococcus pneumoniae reveals that transcription promotes chromosome segregation. Molecular Microbiology, 91(6), 1088-105.
Bhogale, P. M., Sorg, R. A., Veening, J-W., & Berg, J. (2014). What makes the lac-pathway switch: identifying the fluctuations that trigger phenotype switching in gene regulatory systems. Nucleic Acids Research, 42(18), 11321-11328.


Burghout, P., Quintero, B., Bos, L., Beilharz, K., Veening, J-W., de Jonge, M. I., van der Linden, M., van der Ende, A., & Hermans, P. W. M. (2013). A single amino acid substitution in the MurF UDP-MurNAc-pentapeptide synthetase renders Streptococcus pneumoniae dependent on CO2 and temperature. Molecular Microbiology, 89(3), 494-506.
Trip, E. N., Veening, J-W., Stewart, E. J., Errington, J., & Scheffers, D-J. (2013). Balanced transcription of cell division genes in Bacillus subtilis as revealed by single cell analysis. Environmental Microbiology, 15(12), 3196-3209.
Overkamp, W., Beilharz, K., Weme, R. D. O., Solopova, A., Karsens, H., Kovacs, A. T., Kok, J., Kuipers, O. P., & Veening, J-W. (2013). Benchmarking Various Green Fluorescent Protein Variants in Bacillus subtilis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Lactococcus lactis for Live Cell Imaging. Applied and environmental microbiology, 79(20), 6481-6490.
Pinho, M. G., Kjos, M., & Veening, J-W. (2013). How to get (a)round: mechanisms controlling growth and division of coccoid bacteria. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 11(9), 601-614.
Jørgensen, M. G., Raaphorst, R. V., & Veening, J-W. (2013). Noise and Stochasticity in Gene Expression: A Pathogenic Fate Determinant. In C. Harwood, & A. Wipat (Eds.), Microbial Synthetic Biology (40 ed., pp. 157-175). (Methods in Microbiology; No. 40). s.n..
Boonstra, M., de Jong, I. G., Scholefield, G., Murray, H., Kuipers, O. P., & Veening, J-W. (2013). Spo0A regulates chromosome copy number during sporulation by directly binding to the origin of replication in Bacillus subtilis. Molecular Microbiology, 87(4), 925-938.
Lages, M. C. A., Beilharz, K., Angeles, D. M., Veening, J-W., & Scheffers, D-J. (2013). The localization of key Bacillus subtilis penicillin binding proteins during cell growth is determined by substrate availability. Environmental Microbiology, 15(12), 3272-3281.


Beilharz, K., Nováková, L., Fadda, D., Branny, P., Massidda, O., & Veening, J-W. (2012). Control of cell division in Streptococcus pneumoniae by the conserved Ser/Thr protein kinase StkP. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(15), E905-E913.
de Jong, I. G., Veening, J-W., & Kuipers, O. P. (2012). Single cell analysis of gene expression patterns during carbon starvation in Bacillus subtilis reveals large phenotypic variation. Environmental Microbiology, 14(12), 3110-3121.


Scholefield, G., Veening, J-W., & Murray, H. (2011). DnaA and ORC: more than DNA replication initiators. Trends in Cell Biology, 21(3), 188-194.
Jong, I. G. D., Beilharz, K., Kuipers, O. P., & Veening, J-W. (2011). Live Cell Imaging of Bacillus subtilis and Streptococcus pneumoniae using Automated Time-lapse Microscopy. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 6(53), 1-6.
Minnen, A., Attaiech, L., Thon, M., Gruber, S., & Veening, J-W. (2011). SMC is recruited to oriC by ParB and promotes chromosome segregation in Streptococcus pneumoniae. Molecular Microbiology, 81(3), 676-688.


Veening, J-W., & Kuipers, O. P. (2010). Gene position within a long transcript as a determinant for stochastic switching in bacteria. Molecular Microbiology, 76(2), 269-272.
de Jong, I. G., Veening, J-W., & Kuipers, O. P. (2010). Heterochronic Phosphorelay Gene Expression as a Source of Heterogeneity in Bacillus subtilis Spore Formation. Journal of Bacteriology, 192(8), 2053 - 2067.
Nijland, R., Burgess, J. G., Errington, J., & Veening, J-W. (2010). Transformation of Environmental Bacillus subtilis Isolates by Transiently Inducing Genetic Competence. PLoS ONE, 5(3), [9724].


Veening, J-W., Murray, H., & Errington, J. (2009). A mechanism for cell cycle regulation of sporulation initiation in Bacillus subtilis. Genes & Development, 23(16), 1959-1970.
Eberhardt, A., Wu, L. J., Errington, J., Vollmer, W., & Veening, J-W. (2009). Cellular localization of choline-utilization proteins in Streptococcus pneumoniae using novel fluorescent reporter systems. Molecular Microbiology, 74(2), 395-408.
Gamba, P., Veening, J-W., Saunders, N. J., Hamoen, L. W., & Daniel, R. A. (2009). Two-Step Assembly Dynamics of the Bacillus subtilis Divisome. Journal of Bacteriology, 191(13), 4186-4194.


Veening, J-W., Stewart, E. J., Berngruber, T. W., Taddei, F., Kuipers, O. P., & Hamoen, L. W. (2008). Bet-hedging and epigenetic inheritance in bacterial cell development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(11), 4393-4398.
Veening, J-W., Smits, W. K., & Kuipers, O. P. (2008). Bistability, Epigenetics, and Bet-Hedging in Bacteria. Annual Review of Microbiology, 62(1), 193-210.
Smits, W. K., Veening, J-W., & Kuipers, O. P. (2008). Phenotypic Variation and Bistable Switching in Bacteria. In W. El-Sharoud (Ed.), Bacterial Physiology: a Molecular Approach (pp. 339-365). Springer Verlag.
Veening, J-W., Igoshin, O. A., Eijlander, R. T., Nijland, R., Hamoen, L. W., & Kuipers, O. P. (2008). Transient heterogeneity in extracellular protease production by Bacillus subtilis. Molecular Systems Biology, 4(6), 184 - 184. [184].


Nijland, R., Veening, J-W., & Kuipers, O. P. (2007). A derepression system based on the Bacillus subtilis sporulation pathway offers dynamic control of heterologous gene expression. Applied and environmental microbiology, 73(7), 2390-2393.
Veening, J-W. (2007). Phenotypic variation in Bacillus subtilis: bistability in the sporulation pathway. s.n.
Lulko, A. T., Veening, J. W., Buist, G., Smits, W. K., Blom, E., Beekman, A. C., Bron, S., & Kuipers, O. P. (2007). Production and secretion stress caused by overexpression of heterologous alpha-amylase leads to inhibition of sporulation and a prolonged motile phase in Bacillus subtilis. Applied Environmental Microbiology, 73(16), 5354-5362.
Smits, W. K., Bongiorni, C., Veening, J-W., Hamoen, L. W., Kuipers, O. P., & Perego, M. (2007). Temporal separation of distinct differentiation pathways by a dual specificity Rap-Phr system in Bacillus subtilis. Molecular Microbiology, 65(1), 103-120.
Romero, D., de Vicente, A., Rakotoaly, R. H., Dufour, S. E., Veening, J-W., Arrebola, E., Cazorla, F. M., Kuipers, O. P., Paquot, M., & Perez-Garcia, A. (2007). The iturin and fengycin families of lipopeptides are key factors in antagonism of Bacillus subtilis toward Podosphaera fusca. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, 20(4), 430-440.


Veening, JW., Kuipers, OP., Brul, S., Hellingwerf, KJ., & Kort, R. (2006). Effects of Phosphorelay Perturbations on Architecture, Sporulation, and Spore Resistance in Biofilms of Bacillus subtilis. Journal of Bacteriology, 188(8), 3099-3109.
Smits, W., Kuipers, O. P., & Veening, J. W. (2006). Phenotypic variation in bacteria: The role of feedback regulation. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 4(4), 259-271.
Veening, J. -W., Smits, W. K., Hamoen, L. W., & Kuipers, O. P. (2006). Single cell analysis of gene expression patterns of competence development and initiation of sporulation in Bacillus subtilis grown on chemically defined media. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 101(3), 531-541.
Romero, D., Perez-Garcia, A., Veening, J-W., de Vicente, A., Kuipers, O. P., & de, V. A. (2006). Transformation of undomesticated strains of Bacillus subtilis by protoplast electroporation. Journal of microbiological methods, 66(3), 556-559.


Bongers, R. S., Veening, J. W., van Wieringen, M., Kuipers, O. P., & Kleerebezem, M. (2005). Development and characterization of a subtilin-regulated expression system in Bacillus subtilis: Strict control of gene expression by addition of subtilin. Appl.Environ.Microbiol., 71(12), 8818-8824.
Veening, JW., Hamoen, LW., & Kuipers, OP. (2005). Phosphatases modulate the bistable sporulation gene expression pattern in Bacillus subtilis. Molecular Microbiology, 56(6), 1481-1494.


Westers, H., Darmon, E., Zanen, G., Veening, J-W., Kuipers, O. P., Bron, S., Quax, W. J., & Dijl, J. M. V. (2004). The Bacillus secretion stress response is an indicator for α-amylase production levels. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 39(1), 65-73.
Veening, JW., Smits, WK., Hamoen, LW., Jongbloed, JDH., Kuipers, OP., & Smits, W. K. (2004). Visualization of differential gene expression by improved cyan fluorescent protein and yellow fluorescent protein production in Bacillus subtilis. Applied Environmental Microbiology, 70(11), 6809-6815.


Antelmann, H., Darmon, E., Noone, D., Veening, J. W., Westers, H., Bron, S., Kuipers, O. P., Devine, K. M., Hecker, M., & van Dijl, J. M. (2003). The extracellular proteome of Bacillus subtilis under secretion stress conditions. Molecular Microbiology, 49(1), 143 - 156.
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