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Human health

The Centre of Expertise Genomics focuses on the relationship between biodiversity and human health. 

The Centre offers universities, companies and scientific institutions services in the field of bioinformatics and genomics technology. Partners are the University of Applied Sciences Leiden, Leiden University Medical Center, biotechnology company BaseClear and Naturalis Biodiversity Center.
Genomics is a fast-growing field of research that investigates the heredity and genes of all life forms. Students are trained to meet the needs of industry.


Sponges are primitive marine animals. Some unique species can survive in biochemically complex environments. Research has shown that a special molecular structure allows them to thrive there. It also showed that they contain healing substances. After years of research and development, these sponges have yielded drugs to treat leukemia and viral infections. Marine biologists constantly find new species of sponges and some of these might contain special chemicals beneficial to humans. As more funds become available for cancer research, marine biodiversity could be invaluable for human health.

Medicinal plant use

Pharmaceutical companies often turn to us for research into medicinal plant use. The University of Applied Sciences Leiden, together with the Institute of Biology Leiden and companies like Fytagoras and Prisna, can determine both the plant species as well as its chemical contents. One of the students is currently investigating an orchid used in Iraq to prevent diabetes.