About our research

Research departments & institutes

The Master's specialisation in Microbioloy is offered in close connection with the research departments of Microbiology at Radboud University and Medical Microbiology at Radboudumc. We collaborate with colleagues from the Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences (RIBES), the Medical Microbiology department at Radboudumc and complementary (inter)national experts from SIAM, NESSC and various Max Planck Institutes. 

Microbiology department

The research department Microbiology at Radboud University works at the forefront of environmental microbiology and is specialised in the discovery of ‘impossible’, new anaerobic microorganisms. The laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art bio-reactors, electron microscopy, GC-MS, metagenomics, and metaproteomics facilities to grow and study microorganisms that contribute to a better environment by consuming greenhouse gasses and nitrogenous pollutants.

Our Microbiology department has been bestowed with the most prestigious science prizes, including three ERC Advanced Grants, a Spinoza Prize, and two Gravitation Grants. Also, many of the students have been awarded prizes for best thesis, poster and paper. 

Medical Microbiology department

At the department of Medical Microbiology at Radboudumc, we conduct diagnostic research and provide treatment advice. We work on tracking, diagnosing, and treating infectious diseases caused by microorganisms, e.g. by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi.

Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences (RIBES)

The Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences (RIBES) aims to perform world leading research in order to understand the response of the natural environment to human impact. RIBES investigates stress and adaptation processes in severely affected ecosystems. This curiosity-driven, fundamental research is cross-linked with innovative applications in both industry and society with a focus on mitigating ecosystem degradation and finding solutions to restore the natural environment.

RIBES is (inter)nationally unique, as its research encompasses three major groups of organisms (microorganisms, plants and animals) and spans nearly all levels of biological organisation.

Research themes

During your Master's specialisation in Microbiology you can choose to focus on one of the following themes as the subject of your research internship:

Environmental Microbiology & Biotechnology

Microbiology has the potential to replace common energy-intensive chemical processes by more sustainable solutions. Radboud University collaborates closely with environmental scientists, animal ecologists and industrial partners to create energy-efficient and environmentally friendly solutions for societal waste problems.

For students who are intrigued by questions like: How does life without oxygen work? How do global biogeochemical (nutrient) cycles govern the functioning of the Earth? Can we use microorganisms to create a more sustainable wastewater industry? How do microorganisms break down environmental pollutants and toxic chemicals? 

You will do research at the interface between Microbiology, environmental sciences and biochemistry. The research questions cover several levels, from gaining fundamental understanding of energy metabolism of bacteria to their application in wastewater treatment.


A better understanding of host defence will lead to the development of improved vaccines against microorganisms.

For students who are intrigued by questions like: Why do some bacteria make us ill whereas others do not? How do bacteria outsmart our immune system? What are the mechanisms of human defence against microorganisms?


You will do research at the interface between Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology, and can, for example, work on how microorganisms are recognised by the host defence system.

Molecular Microbiology

Understanding host-pathogen interactions is fundamental for the development of novel antibiotics and improvement of vaccines. For students who are intrigued by questions like: How are microorganisms able to persist inside the human body and how do they cause diseases? What does gene regulation tell us about their pathogenic capabilities? Can microbial genomes help us determine how microorganisms interact with human host cells?

Molecular Microbiology

You will do research at the interface between Microbiology, molecular biology and genetics, and can, for example, work on functional gene analyses by mutagenesis studies and on the interaction between epithelial cells and pathogenic bacteria. Radboudumc collaborates with public health institutes – such as the RIVM (National Institute of Public Health) – and with industrial partners.

Medical Microbiology & Virology

Pathogenic microorganisms are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality across the globe. In-depth insights – from molecule to man – are required to effectively fight microbial infections.

For students who are intrigued by questions like: How can we treat microbial infections? How does drug resistance emerge? How does a virus cause disease? And how to prevent infection by vaccination?

Medical Microbiology

You will do research at the interface between clinical microbiology, virology, parasitology, genetics and genomics. Research questions may address molecular mechanisms of microbial infection and immune defence, as well as applications in diagnostics, and vaccine and drug development.

Research facilities

RIBES researchers make use of state-of-the-art molecular, analytical and microscopy facilities in the modern Huygens building of Radboud University. New greenhouse and growth chambers were specifically designed for RIBES research needs and became operational in 2014.


In July 2014 a new greenhouse complex was put into use. Eight growing rooms  are ranging from 160 to 240 m2. Two small compartments are designated for climate cabinets. The greenhouse is accommodated with an advanced climate control system, shading and energy saving screens. Rainwater coming from the greenhouse roof is stored in basins and after UV treatment used for watering the plants. 


At the Experimental garden, the unique Nijmegen Phytotron is an experimental facility with containers for ecological studies at the mesocosm scale. Positioned under a rain shelter, long-term studies are performed under ambient conditions with water supplied with an automated drip-irrigation system. The Phytotron is designed for studies on belowground processes, including a minirhizotron system for root observations. It is a unique research facility as plant growth and below ground root interaction can be studied in big compartimentalised containers without stressing the plants or destructive methods.

Experimental garden

The experimental field is about 7500 m2, including smaller and larger ponds, and is suitable for diverse field experiments.