Naamdr. IE Wientjes

OmschrijvingUniversitair docent
OrganisatieDepartement Agrotechnologie en Voedingswetenschappen
Telefoon+31 6 14434195
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Ma Di Wo Do Vr


I am fascinated by how plants and cyanobacteria capture sun light and convert it into chemical energy to power virtually all life on Earth. In 2015 I started my research group at the Laboratory of Biophysics, were we investigate how the photosynthetic light-harvesting machinery of plants and cyanobacteria cope with various light conditions.    

Current position

  • 2015 - present      Assistant Professor Biophysics and Photosynthesis - Laboratory of Biophysics, Wageningen University, The Netherlands


Previous positions

  • 2014 - 2015         FOM Postdoctoral Fellow Biophysics and Plasmonics - hosted by the Laboratory of Biophysics, Wageningen University, The Netherlands. Advisor: Prof. Dr. Herbert van Amerongen
  • 2012 - 2014         Postdoctoral Fellow Biophysics and Plasmonics, Molecular Nanophotonics, Institute of Photonic Sciences, ICFO, Barcelona, Spain. Advisor: Prof. Dr. Niek van Hulst
  • 2011 - 2012         Postdoctoral Fellow Biophysics and Photosynthesis - Biophysics group, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Advisor: Prof. Dr. Roberta Croce



  • 2007 - 2011         PhD (Cum Laude, top 5%) - Molecular Photobiology, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. Title: Revealing the light-harvesting properties of Photosystem I - From single antenna to supercomplex. Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Roberta Croce
  • 2002 - 2007         MSc Molecular Sciences (Cum Laude, top 5%), Wageningen University, The Netherlands


Fellowships, grants and awards

  • 2019                   Vidi fellowship awarded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), 5 years research fellowship 
  • 2015                   Veni fellowship awarded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), three year research fellowship
  • 2015                    Marie Sklodowska Currie Individual Fellowship awarded by the European Commission, two years research fellowship
  • 2014                    FOM/v Fellowship, upto three years research fellowship
  • 2012                    Marie Curie International Fellowship COFUND and ICFOnest program, two years research fellowship



  • 33 publications in refereed journals
  • > 1750 citations (Scopus), > 2300 (Google Scholar)
  • h-index: 21 (Scopus), 23 (Google Scholar)




Acclimation responses in photosynthetic organisms

Photosynthesis is driven by light, yet too much light is harmful for the photosynthetic organisms. In our group we investigate how plants and cyanobacteria cope with differences in light quantity and quality. A multi-disciplinary approach combining biochemistry, spectroscopy and microscopy is used to unveil the beautiful solutions photosynthetic organisms evolved to survive on our dangerous planet.    


Main experimental techniques

  • Confocal microscopy and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging (FLIM)
  • Ultrafast picosecond fluorescence
  • Optical spectroscopy
  • Plasmonic nanoantenna
  • Isolation and biochemical characterisation of photosynthetic complexes


Current projects

  • 3D organisation of the photosynthetic thylakoid membrane
  • Light acclimation of the photosynthetic machinery of plants
  • State transitions resolved in space and time
  • The spatial heterogeneity of the cyanobacterial thylakoid membrane
  • Light harvesting in photosystem I and photosystem II


PhD Student

Ahmad Bhatti started his PhD in 2017. He investigates how cyanobacteria cope with different light conditions. To this end he combines advanced ultrafast fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy to spatially and spectrally resolve the acclimation processes. His work is published in BBA bioenergetics and Plant Physiology 


Christo Schiphort started his postdoc in 2020. He uses molecular biology, biochemistry, ultrafast fluorescence spectroscopy and confocal microscopy to investigate the functional plasticity of the thylakoid membrane. 

PhD student

Peter Bos started his PhD in 2021. He uses a combination of biochemical and microscopic techniques to explore the organisation and functional plasticity of the thylakoid membrane from plants and cyanobacteria.

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