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About us Practical matters How to find us prof. dr. B. (Bert) Poolman

prof. dr. B. (Bert) Poolman

Professor in Biochemistry
Profile picture of prof. dr. B. (Bert) Poolman
+31 50 36 34209 (Secretariat)

POOLMAN, Ph.D., Bert

Family name: Poolman

Name: Bert

Date of birth: May 8th, 1959


Website I:

Website II:




Present Position

Full professor in Biochemistry & Program director of the Centre for Synthetic Biology

Chair: Membrane Enzymology

Institutes: Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute & Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials

University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG Groningen The Netherlands.

tel. +31 (0)50 363 4190 / 4209 (secr)

fax +31 (0)50 363 4165


Short Biography

Bert Poolman was trained in bioenergetics and microbiology and is now active in biochemistry and biophysics. Poolman has a track record in vectorial biochemistry, including metabolic energy conservation, membrane transport and cell volume regulation as well as the development of innovative technologies in membrane biology and bottom-up synthetic biology. He has advanced the field of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) and secondary active transporters by combining functional and structural studies. Central questions in the Poolman group are: (i) What tasks should a living cell minimally perform and how this can be accomplished with a minimal set of components? (ii) How do molecules permeate biological membranes? (iii) How can one control the volume and physicochemistry of the cell?

The main current research areas include:

· Building of synthetic cells: construction of functional far-from-equilibrium systems for metabolic energy conservation and membrane expansion.

· Cellular homeostasis: elucidation of the (transport) mechanisms that control the physicochemistry and volume of the cell.

· Structure and dynamics of the cytoplasm: understanding of the heterogeneity and spatiotemporal segregation of (macro)molecules in the bacterial cytoplasm.


2014 - 2020
Director of the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute
2008 - present:
Program director Centre for Synthetic Biology
Visiting professor in Biochemistry at the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, U.S.A.
1999 – present:
Professor in Biochemistry, University of Groningen
1995 – 1999 :
Ass. Professor (UHD) in Microbiology, University of Groningen
1989 – 1994:
Research fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)
Short-term Working Visit to Transgene , S.A. , Strasbourg , France (EMBO fellow)
1987 – 1989:
Scientist at Genencor Inc. (Molecular Biology and Genetics Group), South San Francisco ,  U.S.A.
1984 – 1987:
Ph. D. Student at the Department of Microbiology, University of Groningen , The Netherlands


Ph.D. Degree in Microbiology (Cum laude)
Masters Degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (Cum laude)
1983 – 1984:
Undergraduate student at the University of Bern, Switzerland; Biochemistry training at the "Medizinisch-Chemisches Institut"


Over 360 publications in peer refereed international scientific journals (h-index of 76, more than 20,000 citations in Web of Science; 13 book chapters; 4 patents.

Poolman and Schrauwers wrote the book “Synthetische Biologie: de Mens als Schepper” (in Dutch 2011 and translated into German in 2013);

Poolman supervised >70 Ph.D. students and 30 post docs; 15 former members of the Poolman group now hold their own academic position (junior to senior professorship), other former group members hold senior R&D positions at SMEs or companies (e.g. DSM, Philips, Friesland-Campina, Jansen Chimica, Danone-Nutricia, Crucell, Sanofi, QPS Holdings).

Keywords: Membrane transport, ABC transporters; bioenergetics; biogenesis of membrane proteins; cell volume regulation; protein diffusion and traffic; synthetic biology; membrane reconstitution; synthetic cells; optical microscopy.

Major Fellowships and Honours (selection)

1989: Biochemistry Award of the Dutch Biochemistry Organisation (NVBMB)

1989: Fellowship from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

1992: Program Co-ordinator: 'Molecular Biology of Secondary Transport Proteins'  Funded by the Human Frontier Sciences Program Organisation (HFSPO)

1996: Program Co-ordinator of the EU-funded Project on 'Structure of Membrane Proteins'

1997: Award in the SON programme 'Jonge Chemici'

2001: Award of the NWO top grant for support of the research on ABC transporters

2003: Fulbright Scholarship and visiting professorship at California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, U.S.A.

2006: Award of NWO Top Subsidy

2006: Rated as ISI highly cited researcher

2009: Elected as member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

2010: NWO Top-GO subsidy on membrane protein biogenesis

2011: Elected as Faculty 1000 member

2011: Award of ITN-NICHE network grant

2012: Member of Faculty 1000 board

2013: Chairman of KNAW Earth and Life Sciences Board2013: Member of the Program committee New Chemical Innovations (NWO)

2015: Member of the Board of NIBI (Nederlands Instituut voor Biologie)

2015:  ERC Advanced Grant

2016  Joel Mandelstam Memorial Lecture Award

2017:  NWO Gravitation Award BaSyC (10-year funding program)

2019:  ERC Advanced Proof-of-Concept

2020: NWO NWA program grant (with Heinemann)

2021: NWO program grant (with Paulino)

2021: Knighted in the Order of the Dutch Lion

Last modified:13 March 2023 1.45 p.m.