Sef Heijnen - Square

"Online education challenges me to focus on principles. It stimulates students to learn to use principles and not reproduce examples. In (bio)processes design one only needs 4 principles (conservation, 2nd Law, rates, balances). Four principles are more informative than 1000 examples."

Sef Heijnen has 15 years of experience working in fermentation industry (1973 – 1988) and since 1988 has been full professor and group leader of Cell Systems Engineering at the Department of Biotechnology at TU Delft. He has supervised more than 50 PhD thesises and has published over 300 papers (h ≈ 60). His research is focused on metabolic engineering and systems biology for application in industrial microbial processes.

He teaches BSc- and MSc-level courses, including metabolic engineering, systems biology, thermodynamics and bioprocess design. In addition, he teaches advanced courses on microbial physiology, environmental biotechnology and fermentation technology for industrial partners and PhD students.

In 2003, he was elected TU Delft's best lecturer of the year. He is member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and advisor to DSM, Amyris, Genomatica, Lucite and Corbion.

research interest

Metabolic engineering and systems biology applied to industrial microbial processes using Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Penicillium chrysogenum and Escherichia coli.
Metabolome measurement and 13C-tracer analysis in steady state and dynamic conditions.
Thermodynamic and kinetic modelling of metabolism and fermentation.

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Full Professor of Cell Systems Engineering at the Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology


PhD in Bioprocess Technology, Delft University of Technology
MSc in Chemical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology


Applied Sciences


Recent publications:

  • Suarez-Mendez, C, Sousa, AC de, Heijnen, JJ & Wahl, SA (2014). Fast"Feast/Famine" cycles for studying microbial physiology under dynamic conditions: a case study with Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Metabolites, 4(2), 347-372.
  • Heerden, JH van, Wortel, MT, Bruggeman, FJ, Heijnen, JJ, Bollen, YJM, Planque, R, Hulshof, J, O'Toole, TG, Wahl, SA & Teusink, B (2014). Fatal attraction in glycolysis: how Saccharmomyces cerevisiae manages sudden transitions to high glucose. Microbial Cell Factories, 1(3), 103-106.
  • Heerden, JH van, Wortel, MT, Bruggeman, FJ, Heijnen, JJ, Bollen, YJM, Planque, R, Hulshof, J, O'Toole, TG, Wahl, SA & Teusink, B (2014). Lost in transition: Start-up of glycolysis yields subpopulations of nongrowing cells. Science, 343, 1-9.
  • Jonge, LP de, Buijs, NAA, Heijnen, JJ, Gulik, WM van, Abate, A & Wahl, SA (2014). Flux response of glycolysis and storage metabolism during rapid feast/famine conditions in Penicillium chrysogenum using dynamic 13C labeling. Biotechnology Journal, 9(3), 372-385.
  • Jonge, LP de, Heijnen, JJ & Gulik, WM van (2014). Reconstruction of the oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide evolution rates of microbial cultures at near-neutral pH during highly dynamic conditions. Biochemical Engineering Journal, 83, 42-54.

Courses and programs by this instructor