– meet the new chair 

– NLSEB PhD/Post-doc meeting 2021 

– Predicting evolution workshops via the origins center

> News from our new chair: Arjan de Visser

“I thank all members for supporting my election as president of NLSEB. My intention is to help build a vibrant community of scientists and teachers of evolutionary biology from diverse backgrounds. The time is certainly right to do so. Evolutionary biology is rapidly changing from a historic and descriptive discipline explaining the past, into an experimental and quantitative science with the ambition to predict the future. There is also growing awareness that evolutionary biology is not only relevant for our understanding of life, but also for our health, food and relation to nature. These developments motivate my personal work in microbial experimental evolution, but I also see a bright future of evolutionary biology in the Netherlands, to which I hope to contribute!”

> NLSEB PhD/Postdoc meeting 2021

The NLSEB2021 and NLSEB PhD/postdoc meetings were a great success. We welcomed a record number of 259 registered participants on April 19 and 20! 

The first NLSEB PhD/postdoc meeting took place on the mornings, with about 80 registrations and 35 active participants presenting themselves and their work. The meeting had the format of a workshop, and three participants won prices for their introduction pitch.

The NLSEB 2021 took place in the afternoons and included a mix of stimulating plenaries, contributing talks, posters and roundtable discussions. Besides invited speakers Toby KiersThijs Ettema and Mark van Vugt, the Netherlands Evolutionary Biology prize winners of 2019 (Langqing Liu) and 2020 (Zheren Zang) gave excellent plenary talks. Also 2 poster prize winners were selected: Elise Fruitet and Lennart v/d Peppel.

The success of the meetings was further due to the excellent online organization by Kim Ferguson ( and financial support from NWO and research schools EPS, PE&RC and GELIFES.

> Best practises online teaching afternoon (BOTA)

On June 7, Maurijn van der Zee and Bart Pannebakker organized a roundtable to share best practices in online teaching in evolutionary biology. Ten participants engaged in lively discussions and shared useful teaching formats, online platforms and resources for online teaching. These will be made accessible to everyone on the NLSEB website.

> NLSEB prize winner 2020, jury report

The Netherlands Evolutionary Biology prize for the best 2020 publication in evolutionary biology from a Dutch group was awarded to Zheren Zang, from Leiden University, for his paper ‘Antibiotic production in Streptomyces is organized by a division of labor through terminal genomic differentiation’ (Science Advances 6: eaay5781). The paper describes a fascinating mechanism of labor division in Streptomyces coelicolor. Colonies produce hypermutant cell types that show frequent genomic deletions, rearrangements and amplifications, rendering them effectively sterile but producing more and a broader diversity of antibiotic compounds. At the individual cell level there is a trade-off between fertility and antibiotics production, but at the colony level there is a competitive advantage due to the antibiotics, but no reduction in spore production, as long as the mutant cell types remain a minority in the colony. This work highlights the sophisticated social strategies that can evolve in microbes, and we congratulate Zheren with this prize!

> Predicting evolution workshops by the origins center

A subgroup of the Origins Center focusing on predicting evolution is organizing a series of (online) workshops for the Dutch predicting-evolution community. The goal of this workshop series is to teach each other techniques and “languages” used in different subfields of evolution to facilitate future collaborations. 

(info: )!

The next workshop is August 24th about: “Genotype-phenotype mapping from proteins to networks”. By Berend Snel and Liedewij Laan.

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