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Our Pharma Expertise

We envision a world where anyone has access to affordable and effective disease treatment. AIMMS works towards discovering drugs for currently incurable diseases, or to replace current therapies with more affordable or efficient alternatives. AIMMS accommodates world leading experts across the whole drug development pipeline up until clinical trials. Our work spans from molecular and systems understanding of disease pathology to drug target identification, drug discovery and synthesis, and drug safety. One aspect that makes AIMMS unique is the strong knowhow of both computational tools within drug development as well as cutting-edge innovation of new diagnostics and compounds.

In a world threatened with 10 million deaths per year due to antibiotics resistance in 2050, finding alternative antimicrobials is of utmost urgence. Tremendous efforts within AIMMS go towards finding ways to combat this resistance problem. From creating new compounds, potentiating combinations of conventional therapies, understanding resistance and persistence mechanisms, to development of screening models.

Newly developed drugs should make a person better, and not do harm or cause adverse side effects in other organs. Therefore, chemical safety assessment is a big focus at AIMMS, using innovative ways to assess safety of new drugs such as humanized pluripotent stem cells, C. elegans screening or zebrafish infection models.

Drug discovery

AIMMS has all the expertises in chemical biology, organic chemistry and computational biology to design, synthesize and screen small molecules, peptides and nanobodies. This includes design of bioactive molecules, in-silico docking and ligand binding screening, NMR for molecular structure identification, chemical biology screening platforms, cell-based assays and effect-directed analysis where bioactive compounds are identified from a complex mixture.

Target identification

Organisms and cells are complex systems that are dysregulated in disease. Where is the problem and how can we fix that? Not surprisingly, many drugs target (GPCR-mediated) receptor signaling, a key expertise of AIMMS. But we also have systems biologists and bioinformaticians for network-based, and molecular (micro)biologists for structure-based drug target identification.

Disease mechanism

Organisms and cells are complex systems that are dysregulated in disease. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of function and dysfunction is the basis for target identification and drug discovery. In AIMMS, we study many basic processes at the heart of cellular function, including signaling, metabolism and physiology.

Antimicrobials & vaccines

Infectious diseases are on the rise due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR),which can render antibiotics ineffective. If AMR becomes widespread, many infections may become untreatable, posing a significant threat to human health. There is a need for new antimicrobial drugs and vaccines, but also diagnostic tools, insight in the mode of action and evolution of resistance, and the role of physiology and biofilms.

Our Food Expertise

With a growing world population and the need to feed 8 billion people, it is more important than ever to find sustainable solutions for nutritional food production and consider the burden that certain food production processes have on our planet.

We are at the forefront of helping the much-needed transition from animal-based to plant-based protein [link to NWO perspective project]. AIMMS houses world leading experts on metabolism and metabolic modeling that work to finetune fermentation processes to improve nutritional value and consumer experience of novel foods. We combine this expertise with our molecular knowledge to thoroughly understand the biochemistry of fermentation processes. Food after all is a high tech product!

AIMMS’ researchers also have a strong focus on improving health effects of food. Examples are understanding how functional foods influence human health, testing and understanding human microbiome intervention, and understanding how fermentation can lead to healthier and more affordable food. Furthermore, AIMMS’ long standing expertise in microbiology and toxicology is used to understand molecular aspects of food safety and spoilage.


Fermentation of food or ingredients enhances flavour, texture and safety (shelf life), and fermented products are a key ingredient in human nutrition. Fermentation is the product of microbial growth and metabolism, key expertise areas within AIMMS. Unique for AIMMS is the combination of practical knowledge on strain improvement, analytical methods to monitor fermentation processes, and deep theoretical understanding of microbial fitness strategies.

Microbiomes & microbial ecology

The impact of communities of microbes (microbiomes) on human health and the environment can hardly be overestimated. We study the impact of microbiomes in food fermentations, gut and vaginal health, and study generic principles of community composition and function in model microbiomes. We use genome-scale metabolic models to map genotype (metagenomics data) to phenotype (functional data).

Human health & food

Now more than ever, people are paying attention to how to increase their quality of life and do so via an increase in consumption of fruits and vegetables as well as dietary supplements. We use a range of models to explore the impact of such “functional foods” on health outcomes at the cellular, tissue and whole organism levels. Using Caenorhabditis elegans, it is also possible to phenocopy the loss of physiological integrity and function that increases the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity as a model for the impact on human lifestyle.

maart 3, 2024

Using metabolomics to study the dynamics of metabolism

Dysregulation of metabolism is closely linked to the development of various diseases and lifetime changes, including metabolic disorders, cancer, and ageing. Understanding the nuances of…
december 13, 2023

AIMMS researchers win €5M NWO Perspective Grant for the plant-based fermentation proposal

This week The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) granted the FERMI Perspective proposal led by Herwig Bachmann from the Systems Biology Lab. The project…
ChallengesFoodHuman health & food
november 2, 2023

Kickstarting the animal to plant protein transition

When ten bright minds come together for two full days, innovation is bound to prosper! The first AIMMS hackathon revolved all around finding alternative protein…

Our Environmental & life sciences Expertise

The effect of the industrial revolution on our planet is undeniable. Understanding how different man-made chemicals and waste streams are affecting the health of ecosystems and humans alike, finding where these burdens are threatening, and discovering ways to prevent them, are all crucial to restoring health on our planet.

AIMMS is known to drive breakthrough research uncovering harmful compounds in our environment and bodies, from finding microplastics in blood, to evaluate and model antibiotics levels in aquatic systems, to understanding how human exposure to these chemicals affects neurodevelopment and pathology.

Besides such important assessments of severity of the problem, AIMMS works on innovations to deal with these burdens. How do we handle toxic waste streams, or optimize solar cells? How do we design and make molecules with green chemistry? Questions that need to be answered to safeguard a sustainable future of our planet.

Environment and human health

Novel chemicals and materials have brought enormous welfare and amazing functionalities to our societies, but at the same time can cause health hazards. It is essential to identify dangerous chemicals and understand the mechanisms underneath their toxicity. AIMMS combines advanced analytics, data science and a suite of toxicity assays, from human cell-based systems to C elegans and zebrafish, to assess and understand toxicity, such as hormone disruption.

Environmental assessment

Novel chemicals and materials have brought enormous welfare and amazing functionalities to our societies, but at the same time can cause health hazards. To detect and identify chemicals of major concern, we develop advanced analytical methods for environmental detection of microplastics, PFAS and other compounds. Through effect directed analysis new active compounds in complex samples can be identified.

Sustainable solutions:

More sustainable production processes require novel catalysts, reactions and materials. Deep theoretical understanding of chemical reactivity is essential for breakthroughs in green chemistry, more sustainable chemicals or more efficient solar energy conversions. Our theoretical chemists are world experts in the required quantum chemistry, (electron) density function theory, and modeling.

Where solutions start