Boris Tefsen

I would describe myself as a Molecular Microbiologist with a broad interest in fundamental biological research, as well as in applications in medicine and environmental sciences. I have worked on and with several organisms, with one clear connecting factor being the biogenesis and transport mechanisms of carbohydrates.

After obtaining an M.Sc. in Medical Biology, I pursued my PhD in Molecular Microbiology by studying the transport of lipopolysaccharide in Escherichia coli and Neisseria meningitidis. As a postdoc, I conducted research on several glycoimmunology projects, including the development of a glycan-subunit vaccine against the sheep-parasitic nematode Haemonchus contortus and on biosynthesis of the non-human glycan galactofuranose in Aspergillus niger. After the life-changing step of moving from the Netherlands to China, I did structure-function studies on enveloped viruses like the bat-derived influenza-like virus H17N10.

Since 2014, I have focused on better understanding the biogenesis of the Mycobacterial cell envelope, with an emphasis on lipid and carbohydrate pathways in the model organism Mycobacterium smegmatis. More recently, I have become very interested in anthropogenic influences on microbial life, mainly considering heavy metals and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The former is done in small-scale laboratory experiments, as well as with mesocosms experiments in Taihu, with a focus – for now – on copper, iron and Microcystis aeruginosa (the blue-green alga causing harmful algal blooms). I am involved in a collaborative project with a start-up company that aims to utilize biosensors for detecting low levels of antibiotic residue in a variety of matrices, including food and surface water. How metal pollution might induce AMR bridges both fields and is another one of my recent interests.

The main driver behind my research has always been curiosity about the complexity of life around us and the urge to understand how basic molecular interactions make nature function like it does.

My publications and email address can be found below, so feel free to contact me.

Learn more at:

Contact Boris at boris {dot} tefsen at ronininstitute “dot” org