Dr. Michiel Balvers is working as a senior scientist on ‘nutrient biomarker analysis’ at the Division of Human Nutrition and Health of Wageningen University and Research (WUR).
How can we define a state of nutrient adequacy or deficiency? How quickly are nutrients absorbed from the GI tract? Are blood values of a nutrient reflective of the level of dietary intake? How do we characterize the inter-individual responses to our diet and shape the future of precision nutrition? Questions like these require a wide understanding of physiology, biochemistry and bio-analysis, which come together in the field of ‘nutrient biomarkers’. The work of Michiel focusses on developing and applying bioanalytical research methods which help to better understand nutrient metabolism and status.
Michiel works for the Division’s Research Facilities as well as for the Nutritional Biology chairgroup, where he is involved in various national and international projects that require biomarker analysis using UPLC, LCMS or GC. Michiel is an experienced LCMS operator and laboratory coordinator, and he supervises technicians, PhD students as well as MSc students. He is also involved in teaching 'Nutrition and Pharmacology' (HNH23306) and 'Assessment of Nutritional Status (HNH33903).
Michiel was trained in Biomedical Sciences at Radboud University Nijmegen, where he specialized in Toxicology and Pathobiology (2005). He subsequently completed his PhD thesis at the Division of Human Nutrition and Health (WUR, prof. dr. R.F. Witkamp) in collaboration with TNO Zeist, where he investigated the link between n-3 fatty acids, their metabolism into ethanolamine conjugates, and their effect on inflammation (2012). Michiel continued as a postdoc (2012-2014), staff scientist (2015-2020) and later senior scientist (2020 - present) at the Division of Human Nutrition and Health (WUR). In addition, he worked as a senior scientist at the Clinical Chemistry & Haematology Laboratory of Gelderse Vallei Hospital (2013-2020), where he developed and coordinated a service that provides patients personalized dietary advice (NutriProfiel) in the Nutrition and Healthcare Alliance. In addition, he initiated and headed the hospitals' clinical mass spectrometry laboratory.