Research activities

Our research group focusses on three themes:

  1. Folding pathways are traditionally studied for proteins in isolation, even though chaperones are critical to achieving native folds. Consequently, the mechanisms by which chaperones act remains poorly understood. We address this question with a single-molecule approach, using optical tweezers, protein constructs, and computer modelling (Science 2007).
  1. The stochastic nature of gene expression is increasingly understood, but how it impacts growth and fitness remains unclear. We investigate this issue using genetic engineering, microfabricated flow-cells, single-cell time-lapse fluorescence microscopy (EMBO rep. 2009).
  1. Evolutionary processes are typically studied in constant environments, and a descriptive manner. As a result, the evolutionary dynamics in variable environments has been barely addressed, even though this is considered central to the evolution of complex biological functions. Using synthetic biology and mathematical modelling, we aim to bring a more predictive approach to these fascinating issues (Nature 2007)

Past research topics include single-molecule studies on DNA packaging by bacterial viruses, and carbon nanotube-based electronics.

More biophysics on tansgroup website

Figure: Empirical fitness landscapes reveal accessible evolutionary paths. Nature 445:383-386 (2007)

Group Members

  • Stressed-out bacteria do measure up : As they grow, E. coli cells constantly mark sites where they can divide once the period of stress is over

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  • Gestreste bacterie neemt zichzelf de maat : Groeiende E. coli markeert voortdurend waar-ie kan delen als de stress voorbij is

    Als E. coli bacteriën zich onprettig voelen, gaan ze in stress-mode en stellen ze de celdeling uit. In de tussentijd groeien ze door tot lange slierten. AMOLF-onderzoekers ontdekten dat de …

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  • Nederlandse onderzoekers gaan samen bouwen aan kunstmatige cel

    Het Nederlandse onderzoeksconsortium BaSyC gaat de uitdaging aan om een kunstmatige biologische cel te bouwen. Daartoe heeft het een bedrag van bijna 19 miljoen toegekend gekregen uit het Zwaartekracht-programma van …

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  • Dutch researchers join forces to build synthetic cell

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