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Wageningen University & Research


Wageningen University & Research is a collaboration between Wageningen University and the Wageningen Research foundation.

“To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. That is the mission of Wageningen University & Research. Over 7,200 employees, 13,200 students, and over 150.000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning from more than a hundred countries work everywhere around the world in the domain of healthy food and living environment for governments and the business community-at-large.”

The strength of Wageningen University & Research lies in its ability to join the forces of specialised research institutes and the university. It also lies in the combined efforts of the various fields of natural and social sciences. This union of expertise leads to scientific breakthroughs that can quickly be put into practice and incorporated into education. This is the Wageningen Approach. Collaboration with other parties such as government, business and NGOs is indispensable. This is in line with the Finding Answers Together ambition.

Our prominent position in international rankings and citation indexes affirms Wageningen University & Research's scientific quality.

The domain of Wageningen University & Research consists of three related core areas:

•              Food, feed & biobased production

•              Natural resources & living environment

•              Society & well-being


Role and Commitment of key persons

(including supervisors)

Hans-Gerd Janssen is a senior scientist in compositional analysis at Unilever R&D Wageningen and a part-time professor in analytical chemistry at Wageningen University. His research field is food analysis in the broadest sense, with focus areas ranging from compositional analysis of food contact materials, to characterization of ingredients, finished food products and digestive responses. He (co-)authored more than 200 peer-review papers (H-index 37) and supervised 11 PhD.

Francesco Simone Ruggeri is currently Assistant Professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Before his appointment Wageningen, he has completed his independent Junior Research Fellowship at the Department of Chemistry at University of Cambridge and at the Darwin College (UK). He holds a PhD in Biophysics obtained in 2015 at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. Dr. Ruggeri has led the development and application of single-molecule scanning probe microscopy and spectroscopic methods for the characterisation of biomolecular processes, polymers and (bio-)materials at the nanoscale. Dr. Ruggeri expertise has already led to the publication of more than 70 peer-reviewed scientific articles (>3900 citations, H-index 33), out of which more than half as first or corresponding author 10. More than 15 of these works are in Nature, Cell, Science series journals. Within MonPlas he acts as academic supervisor of ESR Clementina Vitali on behalf of partner organization Wageningen University.

Michel Nielen is the retired principal scientist at WFSR and was a special chair on analytical chemistry at Wageningen University. He is a former president of the Dutch Society for Mass Spectrometry. From 2011 to 2016, he also acted as scientific director of TI-COAST, the Dutch public-private partnership on analytical science and technology. From January 2017 until 2021, he has been coordinator of the highly successful EU Marie Curie Innovative Training Network FoodSmartphone, which aimed for the development of smartphone analyzers for on-site testing of food quality and safety. Nielen (co-)authored more than 200 peer-reviewed papers (>9500 citations, H-index 55) covering a wide range of analytical technologies, including mass spectrometry, chromatography, capillary electrophoresis and biosensors. Within MonPlas he acts as academic supervisor of ESR Clementina Vitali on behalf of partner organization Wageningen University.


Key Research Facilities, Infrastructure and Equipment

The PhD Clementina Vitali will operate at WUR at the Laboratory Organic Chemistry and within the Group of Nanoscale Microscopy and Spectroscopy. The lab will provide for the project a cutting-edge imaging facility with value over €2m. The facility includes: 2 AFM-IR; 4 AFMs; 1 scanning electron microscope; 1 scanning tunnelling microscope. Finally, the laboratory includes several complementary state-of-art techniques, which include methods of synthetic, biochemistry, microfluidics and analytical chemistry techniques like circular dichroism, dynamic light scattering, mass spectrometry, fluorescence, Raman and infrared spectroscopies.


Status of  Research premises

University research premises are independent from other beneficiaries and the partner organizations


Current Involvement in Research and Training Programmes

Dr. Ruggeri is currently undertaking the EU project PhotonFood to detect mycotoxin contamination in food by mid-infrared spectroscopy (grant agreement No. 101016444).


Relevant Publications and/or Research / Innovation Product

1.    Ruggeri FS, Mannini B, Schmidt R, Vendruscolo M, Knowles TPJ. Single-molecule Secondary Structure Determination of Protein through Infrared Absorption Nanospectroscopy, Nature Communications, 2020, 11, 2945. 

2.    Otzen D, Dueholm M, Najarzadeh Z, Knowles TPJ, Ruggeri FS. In-situ Sub-Cellular Identification of Functional Amyloids in Bacteria and Archaea by Infrared Nanospectroscopy, Small Methods, 5(6), e2001002, 2021. 

3.    Ruggeri FS, Habchi J, Chia S, Horne R, Vendruscolo M, Knowles TPJ.  Infrared nanospectroscopy reveals the molecular interaction fingerprint of an aggregation inhibitor with single Aβ42 oligomers, Nature Communications, 2021, 12(1), 1-9. 

4.    Miller A, Chia S, Toprakcioglu Z, Hakala T, Schmid R, Feng Y, Kartanas T, Kamada A, Vendruscolo M, Ruggeri FS, Knowles TPJ. Enhanced surface nanoanalytics of transient biomolecular processes, Science Adv., 2023, 9(2), eabq3151.

5.    *Ramer G, *Ruggeri FS, Levin A, Knowles TPJ, Centrone A. Determination of polypeptide conformation in water with nanoscale infrared spectroscopy. ACS Nano, 2018, 12 (7), 6612-6619. 

6.    *Qamar S, *Wang G, *Randle S, *Ruggeri FS, *Varela J, Qiaojin Lin J, Phillips EC, Miyashita A, Williams D, Meadows W, Ferry R, Dardov JV, Tartaglia G, Farrer LA, Kaminski GS, Kaminski C, Holt CE, Fraser P, Schmitt-Ulms G, Klenerman D, Knowles TPJ, Vendruscolo M, St George-Hyslop P.  FUS Phase Separation Is Modulated by a Molecular Chaperone and Methylation of Arginine Cation-π Interactions. Cell, 2018, 173 (3), 720-734. 

7.    *Ruggeri FS, Flagmeier P, Kumita J, Meisl G, Chirgadze D, Bongiovanni M, Knowles TPJ, Dobson C. The influence of pathogenic mutations in α-synuclein on kinetic mechanisms and structural characteristics of amyloid fibrils, ACS Nano, 2020, 14 (5), 5213-5222. 

8.    Emi D, Zhang Y, Lobanova E, Miller A, Li X, Xia Z, Dakin H, Sideris D, Lam J, Ranasinghe R, Kouli A, Zhao Y, De S, Knowles TPJ, Vendruscolo M, Ruggeri FS, Aigbirhio F, Williams-Gray C, Klenerman D. Small soluble α-synuclein aggregates are the toxic species in Parkinson’s disease, Nature Communications, 2022, 113(1), 5512.

9.    Shen Y, Ruggeri FS, Vigolo D, Kamada A, Qamar S, Levin A, Iserman C, Alberti S, St George-Hyslop P, Knowles TPJ.
Biomolecular condensates undergo a generic shear-mediated liquid-to-solid transition, Nature Nanotechnology, 2020, 15, 841–847. 

10.    Lobanova E, Whiten D, Ruggeri FS, Taylor C, Kouli A, Xia Z, Emin D, Zhang YP, Lam JYL, Williams-Gray CH, Klenerman D. Imaging protein aggregates in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid in Parkinson’s disease, Brain, 2021, 145(2), 632–643.

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