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

  • Evolutie is als het weer: kansrijke mutaties zijn te voorspellen

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  • New method predicts evolution

    As evolution is driven by chance, predicting it seems impossible. Nevertheless, scientists from AMOLF in Amsterdam and the ESPCI in Paris have succeeded in making predictions about the evolution of …

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  • 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

    When E. coli bacteria are physically distressed, they switch to stress mode and postpone cell division. But they still keep on growing, thus forming long filaments. AMOLF researchers discovered that …

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

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