Scientific scope. JEMU aims at supporting scientific investigation using natural history collections in the fields of molecular systematics, phylogeny, phylogeography, DNA barcoding, species delimitation and population genetics.
Integrated unit. The Joint Experimental Molecular Unit (JEMU) is an integrated research infrastructure funded by the Belgian Science Policy and supported by the Royal Belgian Insitute of Natural Sciences (RBINS, Brussels) and the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA, Tervuren). In practice, the integrated activities of JEMU involve joint research programmes, project applications and publications, shared lab facilities, weekly exchanges of researchers, joint research meetings, joint purchases of products and heavy equipment, joint organization of (inter)national meetings and congresses, sharing financial benefits, sharing databases and DNA/tissue collections with standardization and implementation in DaRWIN, establishing joint websites, sharing coordination activities (e.g. the joint coordination of the Belgian Network for DNA Barcoding), joint editing of collective book volumes, joint personnel hiring policy. Lab protocols, guidelines and other shared documents are available here.
Collaborative research projects. JEMU provides the opportunity to scientists of both institutes (RBINS and RMCA) to apply for JEMU support by submitting project proposals. Hitherto JEMU supported ca. 40 research projects, including large scale flagship projects and smaller pilot projects. Read more about all JEMU research projects. In addition, JEMU contributes to the International Barcode of Life (ibol) initiative and is acting as a coordinating “liaison office” linking external partnerships in the Belgian Network for DNA Barcoding (BeBoL). It also shares expertise with BopCo (Barcoding of Organisms and tissues of Policy Concern). Other collaborations involve more than 30 researchers of Belgium and more than 20 abroad. Read more about the collaborations of JEMU.
Evaluation of new protocols and archiving DNA/tissue samples. JEMU evaluates and develops new protocols for the DNA analysis of archival specimens. It also assists with the implementation of tissue and DNA collections in natural history collections (e.g. AGORA-MOLCOL project)
Education and training. JEMU organises introductory seminars, individual training sessions and collaborative startup projects with the aim to enhance the synergy between taxonomists and molecular systematists.
People (see contact for more information)
- Promotor and Co-promotor: Thierry Backeljau (RBINS) ; Marc De Meyer (RMCA)
- Steering Committee: Camille Pisani (President, RBINS) ; Guido Gryseels (Vice-President, RMCA) ; Aline Van der Werf (external member, BELSPO) ; Filip Volckaert (external member, KULeuven) ; Patrick Mardulyn (external member, ULBruxelles)
- The JEMU team: Carl Vangestel, PhD; Massimiliano Virgilio, PhD ; Gontran Sonet, MSc and Jessica Ody, MSc.
- Former members of JEMU: Zoltan T. Nagy, PhD; Kurt Jordaens, PhD; Jeroen Van Houdt, PhD; Nathalie Smitz, PhD; Nele Mullens, MSc; Zoë De Corte, MSc; Yannick De Smet, MSc; Floris Breman, MSc and Johan De Gruyter, MSc.