FUNgalSnelders lab

At Wageningen University & Research we study fungi
and link genetic concepts to human fungal disease.

Welcome to the FUNgal Snelders Laboratory
Why working with fungi? Because they are FUN to work with!
 

Although tricky to handle a sporulating fungus like Aspergillus fumigatus at first, once you get experienced in the lab this filamentous fungus has a lot of scientific discovery to offer. We use genetic concepts to understand the selection of azole resistance in this opportunistic pathogen. 

We are situated at the Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands in the chair group Laboratory of Genetics led by Prof. Bas Zwaan. Here we collaborate with Dr. Fons Debets, Ben Auxier, Dr. Sijmen Schoustra, Prof. Duur Aanen, Dr. Bart Pannebakker, Prof. Arjan de Visser and many others.

Who are we?

Eveline Snelders
Assistant Professor/Lecturer (UD)

Eveline holds a PhD in Medical Microbiology from the Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen (2012) where she completed the Medical Molecular Microbiology training fellowship (2014). After a Postdoc in Paris at the Institute Pasteur she joined the chair group of genetics with a VENI fellowship grant in 2016 and started Tenure Track in 2020. 

Hylke Kortenbosch
PhD student

more will follow

Funding
Piggy bank

Past funding:
2011 ESCMID Research grant
2015 NWO VENI
2018 ZonMW Off Road
2019 ESCMID Research grant

Current funding:
2019 NWO GreenIII
2020 NWO Aspasia

Teaching
Students in practical room
Students at Orion

Eveline is involved in the following courses @WUR:

  • ENT-51306 – Frontiers in Medical and Veterinary Biology
  • GEN-21306 – Personal Genetics (Coordinator)
Students are welcome to join (MLO, HLO, BSc or MSc), if you are interested in doing your internship or thesis just send an e-mail indicating your preferences and interests.
 
For WUR students an up-to-date list of thesis topics from the whole laboratory of Genetics including ours can be found on Brightspace or directly via this link: https://bit.ly/3DCJbBU
Research

A. fumigatus is ubiquitously found in nature facilitated by wind-borne dispersal of spores and its main habitat is decaying plant material. It can also cause severe invasive infections in the lungs of immunocompromised patients. Luckily there are highly effective antifungal drugs available and the azoles are the most important class to manage Aspergillus disease. Unfortunately a global emergence of azole resistance poses a major threat to manage fungal disease. Our research has shown that the use of agricultural azoles has facilitated emergence of azole resistance, a typical One Health problem. For our research we study the fungus where environment and human health interact by using genetic approaches such as sexual crosses, evolutionary lines, competition experiments, whole genome sequencing, bioinformatics and more. 

We are involved in the NWO GreenIII project entitled “One health consequences of circularity; what lessons to learn from the saprophytic and human pathogenic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus?” The objectives of this project are to (i) use the diversity of organic waste disposal in the bulb-sector to discern the key factors driving resistance development, (ii) use these factors to draw up an intervention plan that will be tested in the laboratory and on-site, and (iii) extend the obtained knowledge to general organic waste disposal to assess resistance and health risk across the system. Hylke Kortenbosch is appointed as the PhD student on this project.

With the Aspasia NWO funding we are currently setting up new techniques in our lab such as the CRISPRcas9, Galleria Mellonella and receiving technical support from Dr. Francisca Reyes Marquez. 

Currently we are busy applying for funding to expand the group so if you are interested in a co-application please send me a message.

Images from the lab
Sexual crossing plate Aspergillus fumigatus

Sexual crossing plate with a few white cleistothecia's

Ascospore Aspergillus fumigatus

Light microscopy of a sexual, hamburger shaped, ascospore

Aspergillus fumigatus sporulating colony

Sporulating colony

Scanning Electron Microscopy Aspergillus fumigatus spore

Scanning electron microscopy of an asexual conidiospore

Publications

An extensive list of all publications can be best found here on Google Scholar. 

Pre-prints:
Meiosis in the human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus has the highest known number of crossovers
Ben AuxierFrank BeckerReindert NijlandAlfons J. M. DebetsJoost van den Heuvel, Eveline Snelders
doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.01.14.476329

Highlighted publications:
Emergence of azole resistance in Aspergillus fumigatus and spread of a single resistance mechanism
Eveline Snelders, Henrich A L van der Lee, Judith Kuijpers, Anthonius JM M Rijs, János Varga, Robert A Samson, Emilia Mellado, A Rogier T Donders, Willem J G Melchers, Paul E Verweij
PLoS medicine 5 (11), e219, 2008
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050219

Possible Environmental Origin of Resistance of Aspergillus fumigatus to Medical Triazoles
Eveline Snelders, Robert AG Huis in’t Veld, Anthonius JMM Rijs, Gert HJ Kema, Willem JG Melchers, Paul E Verweij
Applied and environmental microbiology 75 (12), 4053-4057, 2009
https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.00231-09, 2

Eveline Snelders, Simone MT Camps, Anna Karawajczyk, Gijs Schaftenaar, Gert HJ Kema, Henrich A Van der Lee, Corné H Klaassen, Willem JG Melchers, Paul E Verweij
PloS one 7 (3), e31801. 2012
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0031801

Parasexual recombination enables Aspergillus fumigatus to persist in cystic fibrosis
Tobias Engel, Paul E Verweij, Joost Van Den Heuvel, Dechen Wangmo, Jianhua Zhang, Alfons JM Debets, Eveline Snelders
ERJ open research 6 (4), 2020
https://doi.org10.1183/23120541.00020-2020