Associate Professor
Biomedical Sciences
Telephone: (01792) 602669
Room: Academic Office - 504
Fifth Floor
Institute of Life Science 1
Singleton Campus

Geertje is an Associate Professor in the Institute of Life Science in the Medical School. Geertje’s research focuses on the microbiology of natural antibiosis and resistance to antibiotics and metals, microbial adaptation to drought and bioengineering of water repellency of manmade and natural materials. Her research team works in highly interdisciplinary collaborative projects with soil scientists, materials engineers, hydrologists, nanotechnologists and modellers funded by NERC, EPSRC and the Royal Society. Geertje is a lecturer for our Biochemistry Degree programme and the lead-organiser of Soapbox Science Swansea, an annual public beach science event showcasing the exciting research of women in STEM subjects, and founder member of SwanSTEMWoMen. Geertje tweets about her and other science interests from @GeertjevanK.

Areas of Expertise

  • microbiology
  • biochemistry
  • physiology
  • soil microbiology
  • antibiotics
  • streptomyces
  • primary and specialized (secondary) metabolism
  • natural products
  • water repellency
  • biomaterials and bio-coatings
  • proteomics
  • soil and metaproteomics
  • metabolomics
  • interdisciplinary sciences
  • functional amyloid proteins
  • C1 metabolism


  1. Townsend, R., Van Keulen, G., Desbrow, C., Godfrey, R. An investigation of the utility of QuEChERS for extracting acid, base, neutral and amphiphilic species from example environmental and clinical matrices Analytical Science Advances
  2. Gazze, S., Hallin, I., Quinn, G., Dudley, E., Matthews, G., Rees, P., Van Keulen, G., Doerr, S., Francis, L. Organic matter identifies the nano-mechanical properties of native soil aggregates Nanoscale 10 2 520 525
  3. Gazze, S., Francis, L., Van Keulen, G. The integration of nanoscale imaging and quantitation of nanomechanical properties in microbiology Microbiology Today 43 3 106 109
  4. Van Keulen, G. From nostrils to crocodile blood – ten surprising places to look for antibiotics The Conversation
  5. Van Keulen, G., Hallin, I. Microbial modulation of soil ecosystem processes Microbiology Today 42 2 62 65

See more...


  • PM-127 Energy and Metabolism: The Reactions of Life

    This module provides an introduction to bioenergetics and the chemical structure of carbohydrates as well as a discussion of the central metabolic pathways by which energy from food is used to fuel the synthesis of the energy currency molecule ATP (with particular attention to glycolysis, the citric acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation). The concept of tissue and organ specificity is introduced, and finally the role of the hormones insulin, glucagon, epinephrine, growth hormone, thyroid hormone and leptin in controlling these pathways and producing effects on the body is considered.

  • PM-130 Biochemistry Skills Development

    This module is designed to develop the skills required for students of biochemistry and medical biochemistry. Students meet with their tutors and will be given a series of assignments designed to develop skills in key areas such as essay writing, presentations and general numeracy. Joint session cover generic skills such as internet searching for scientific sources, referencing and plagiarism

  • PM-240 Carbohydrate Metabolism and Glycobiology

    Saccharides are the major source of energy and carbon that is used by the cell for growth and maintenance. The central roles of glycolysis in providing cellular energy and components from saccharides substrates, and the regulation of these processes are explained. The relationship between glycolysis and glycogen metabolism in mammals is explored as one of the ways in which substrate supply to the pathway is regulated. The complexity of the mechanisms, including hormonal, for controlling glycolysis and gluconeogenesis in mammalian to maintain blood concentrations is compared to glycogen and glucose metabolism in muscle tissue. The role or glycosyltransferases in the synthesis of oligo- and polysaccharides, including glycoprotein assembly, is also explained.

  • PM-245 Metabolic Regulation: Enzymes & Signal Transduction

    This module reviews the basic elements of enzyme kinetics, including their mechanism and inhibition. The control of enzyme function by allosteric mechanisms is considered together with an appreciation of the significance of sigmoid kinetics. An overview of coenzymes and (metal) co-factors in enzyme function is given together with a description of the role played by vitamins in co-enzyme production. The module concludes with an overview of enzymes from extremophiles and their applications.

  • PM-246 Biochemistry Skills Development II

    This module is designed to develop the skills required for students of biochemistry. Students meet with tutors and will be given a series of assignments designed to develop skills in key areas including essay writing, presentation and analysis of research papers.

  • PM-246C Datblygu Sgiliau Biocemeg II

    Nod y modiwl hwn yw datblygu'r sgiliau mae eu hangen ar fyfyrwyr biocemeg. Bydd myfyrwyr yn cwrdd â thiwtoriaid ac yn derbyn cyfres o aseiniadau at ddiben datblygu eu sgiliau mewn meysydd allweddol, gan gynnwys ysgrifennu traethodau, cyflwyno a dadansoddi papurau ymchwil.

  • PM-278 Advanced Metabolism

    The modules seeks to expand upon the first year metabolism module (PM-127) to encompass the metabolism of other biomolecules and further additions to central glycolysis and the TCA cycle. The module discusses the uptake and metabolism of carbohydrates other than glucose, the use of carbohydrates in the pentose phosphate pathway and disease implications. Fatty acid and cholesterol metabolism and transport systems are discussed, alongside clinical implications and modern therapeutic drugs that target these pathways. The pathways of amino acid synthesis and degradation in humans are described along with an introduction to the urea cycle.

  • PM-278C Metabolaeth Uwch

    Nod y modiwl hwn yw ehangu ar fodiwl metabolaeth y flwyddyn gyntaf (PM-127) i gynnwys metabolaeth biofoleciwlau eraill ac ychwanegu mwy am glycolsis canolog a'r cylchred TCA. Mae'r modiwl yn trafod ymlifiad a metabolaeth carbohydradau ac eithrio glucos, y defnydd o garbohydradau yn y llwybr ffosffad pentos a goblygiadau clefyd. Caiff metabolaeth asid brasterog a cholesterol a systemau cludo eu trafod, ynghyd â goblygiadau clinigol a chyffuriau therapiwtig modern sy'n targedu'r llwybrau hyn. Caiff llwybrau synthesis asidau amino a diraddiad mewn pobl eu disgrifio ynghyd â chyflwyniad i'r gylchred wrea.

  • PM-304 Biomolecular Research Project


  • PM-314 Biotechnology & Protein Engineering

    The module aims to explain the biological basis of biotechnology and protein engineering: their limitations, industrial and medical importance. Students will develop their skills in gathering and interpreting relevant information.

  • PM-334 Biochemistry Literature Review and Communication

    Students will acquire a detailed knowledge of one topical research area of key importance to their particular degree scheme.

  • PM-402 Advanced Research Project B

    The advanced research project is a key component of the final year of study, providing students with experience of conducting cutting-edge research in the Institute of Life Science and Centre for Nanohealth over an extended period. The project will fall into one of the current medically-related research themes: Biomarkers and Genes; Microbes and Immunity; Devices. Students will employ a range of advanced analytical procedures to investigate a specific topic. In addition, they will gain experience in preparing a research proposal and presenting their data in various formats. Research topics will be assigned that are appropriate to a specific degree title. For example, a Genetics student could be assigned a project investigating gene function in an insect vector of a tropical disease, using the technique of RNA interference. The advanced research project is divided between 2 modules, PM-400 and PM-402. PM-402 comprises the final written dissertation.


  • Sanitizing efficacy of a novel enzymes-based hot tub water treatment product (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Chedly Tizaoui
    Other supervisor: Dr Geertje Van Keulen
  • Development of advanced corrosion-resistant coatings with synthetic biology-inspired protein technologies (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof David Penney
    Other supervisor: Dr Geertje Van Keulen
  • Dtermining the efficacy of products for bacterial biofilm prevention and removal for the wet leisure industry (awarded 2019)

    Other supervisor: Dr George Johnson
    Other supervisor: Dr Geertje Van Keulen
  • Mass spectrometric investigation of pharmaceuticals in environmental matrices: homogenate analysis. (awarded 2019)

    Other supervisor: Prof Anthony Brenton
    Other supervisor: Dr Geertje Van Keulen
    Other supervisor: Dr Ruth Godfrey
  • 'Study of the correlation between archived metal polluted soils and microbial resistance to antibiotics and metals' (awarded 2018)

    Other supervisor: Dr Ricardo Del Sol Abascal
    Other supervisor: Dr Geertje Van Keulen
  • 'Incorporation of microbial organisms into organic steel coatings ' (awarded 2018)

    Other supervisor: Prof James Sullivan
    Other supervisor: Dr Geertje Van Keulen