Zoek medewerkers/organisaties dr.ir. S de Vries
Naamdr.ir. S de Vries

OmschrijvingUniversitair Docent
OrganisatieDepartement Dierwetenschappen
Telefoon secretariaat+31 317 484 082
Telefoon 2
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BezoekadresDe Elst 1
PostadresPostbus 338
  • Bestuurslid Nederlandse Zoötechnische Vereniging - Nederlandse Zoötechnische Verenging
    nov 2020 - nov 2025


Research expertise

My research ambition is to understand the digestive physiology of monogastric animals. My research focusses at quantitative nutrition of pigs and poultry, digestion kinetics, processing technologies, enzymes, and nutritional modelling, with special emphasis on dietary fiber and fiber-rich ingredients.

Dietary fibers largely influence digestive process, as physicochemical properties of digesta, digesta transit, and microbial colonization, thereby affecting degradation and absorption of other nutrients. Hence, fibers play an important role in nutrition, and understanding the interactions between dietary fibers and digestive processes is crucial to predict the nutritional values of diets. Currently, I am involved in several multidisciplinary projects, where we study the interaction between dietary fiber and various digestive processes.

Already during my PhD, I got fascinated by the unique digestive system of poultry. Feeding diets with high fiber contents, we encountered issues that are usually not noticed when standard poultry diets are fed. The data indicated that high fiber diets exacerbate the separation of solid and liquid gut contents, possibly because of reverse flow of gut contents (reflux). In previous projects we elaborated on this research studying the passage of feed through the digestive tract in chickens, including the effects of fibers on digesta retention time. The recent award of a personal Veni grant, allows me to further elaborate on this research topic. I believe that insights in the (reverse) transport of digesta in poultry, and the role of fiber in its regulation, will be valuable to improve our understanding of digestive physiology in birds and other monogastric species.



I obtained my BSc and MSc degrees in Animal Sciences and PhD degree in Animal Nutrition at Wageningen University. My PhD research focused on the degradation of fiber in pigs and poultry, with special emphasis on Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS) and rapeseed meal and effects of processing technologies and enzymes on fiber fractions. This work was part of a joint project between the Animal Nutrition Group and Laboratory of Food Chemistry, supervised by Prof. Dr ir W.J.J. Gerrits, Dr ir M.A. Kabel, and Prof. Dr ir W.H. Hendriks. After my graduation I continued research at the Ingredient Research Centre of Trouw Nutrition R&D, focusing on feed evaluation of monogastrics. In my current appointment as Assistant Professor at the Animal Nutrition Group of Wageningen University, I lead research projects and take care of education in the area of digestive physiology of monogastrics.

Sociale media
  Sonja de Vries op ResearchGate
  Sonja de Vries op Linkedin




Gut feeling of chickens: exploiting the unique mechanism of digesta reflux to improve sustainability of poultry production

Reverse digesta transport in chickens, personal grant, funded by ‘Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, Toegepaste en Technisische Wetenschappen’ (NWO-TTW). This project aims to (1) quantify (reverse) digesta flows in young and mature chickens of modern and unselected breeds, (2) quantify the relevance of reflux in nutrient supply for the bird, (3) identify the role of dietary fiber in reflux, and (4) reveal preliminary insights in the genetic regulation of reflux.

Effects of early nutrition on the development of the gastro-intestinal tract and immune system and later life performance of broiler chickens

Early nutrition of broiler chickens, in collaboration with Adaptation Physiology Group, Wageningen University, cofunded by Coppens Diervoeding B.V. This project aims to study (1) the effects of early or delayed nutrition in young broiler chickens on gastrointestinal and immune development (2) the effects of dietary fiber contents of early life diets on gastrointestinal and immune development.


The effect of starch digestion kinetics on performance of growing pigs

Degradation kinetics of (resistant) starch in pigs, cofunded by Trouw Nutrition B.V. This project aims to (1) identify the kinetics of degradation of (resistant) starch (=fiber) (2) study effects of (resistant) starch on nutrient partitioning, performance, and feed intake behavior in growing pigs.

Assessing dietary protein quality for humans using the pig as a model

Nutritional value of protein sources for humans, international project in collaboration with University of Illinois (USA) and Massey University (NZ), funded by Global Dairy Platform. This project aims to compare nutritional value of various (fiber-rich) food sources, using the pig as a model.

Dynamics of proteolytic fermentation and the effects on intestinal health of pigs

Proteolytic fermentation in pigs, funded by NWO-TTW and Royal DSM. This project aims to understand (1) the relation of dietary protein and proteolytic fermentation and (2) the interaction between dietary proteins and fibers on the dynamics of proteolytic fermentation in pigs.

Tailored phages

Prebiotics (fibers) to reduce Salmonella infection in poultry in collaboration with Cell Biology and Immunology Group, Wageningen University, funded by ‘Europees Fonds voor Regionale Ontwikkeling’ (EFRO) and Micreos Food Safety B.V., NYtor B.V., and Trouw Nutrition B.V. This project aims to (1) study effects of prebiotics (e.g. fermented fiber supplement) on Salmonella infection in poultry (2) development of diagnostic tools to detect Salmonella infection.

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