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

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  • Dutch researchers join forces to build synthetic cell

    The Dutch research consortium BaSyC is taking on the challenge of building a synthetic biological cell. For part of its funding, it has received a grant worth almost € 19 …

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  • Universal clamping protein stabilizes folded proteins

    New insight into how the chaperone protein Hsp70 works On October 26th Nature will publish a study that overturns the decades-old textbook model of action for a protein that is …

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  • Universeel klemeiwit stabiliseert andere eiwitten

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