Prof. Dr. em. Monique Gillis

Prof. Dr. em. Monique Gillis's picture
Research activities: 

Emeritus Prof. Dr. Monique Gillis was born in Assenede, Belgium on 6 February 1942. She studied Botany at Ghent University (master degree in science in 1964) and in 1973 obtained a PhD at Ghent University in the Laboratory of Microbiology of Prof. J. De Ley on the subject of a new method for the determination of the genome size of bacteria and regular double-stranded DNA bacteriophages.

She was laureate (1976) of the Winkler Prins Prize for Biophysics en Biochemistry. She was Assistant in the laboratory of Microbiology and later senior assistant and Research director under Prof. De Ley and became a docent (1992), senior docent (1997) and Professor (2000) in Microbiology.


She started her research in Microbiology in Single cell protein for Petroleum Industry in a joint venture with the Ghent University focusing mainly on yeasts (1964-1968).

After here PhD study in which she focused on the development of the initial renaturation method for the determination of the genome size of bacteria, she started research on the evolutionary relationships between diverse groups of Proteobacteria by using rRNA:DNA hybridizations e.g. acetic acid bacteria, diverse photosynthetic bacteria and several other groups.

Later on she performed polyphasic research in the following groups of bacteria: Comamonadaceae, Moraxellaceae, pseudomonads and spirillae and various kinds of nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

From 1988 she focused mainly on the nitrogen-fixing bacteria (free living and symbiotic ones) and their relatives including the description of different new species and genera mostly in collaboration with the isolators of those organisms.

She had a particular interest in the diversity of rhizobia which she studied for many years while developing many international collaborations on this subject e.g. on rhizobia and bradyrhizobia isolated in West and Central Africa, Brazil, Sudan, Tunisia and Morocco and the Mediterranean basin.


She is the author of more than 120 peer-reviewed papers and was the promoter/co-promotor of 16 PhD theses.

From 1995 to 2002 she was Associate Editor of International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

In 2003 she was the recipient of the Bergey Medal awarded in recognition of life-long contributions to the field of systematic bacteriology.