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

  • Evolutionary conflicts predicted

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  • Evolutionaire conflicten voorspeld

    Evolutie lijkt een onvoorspelbaar proces. Maar het voorspellen van de grenzen van evolutie blijkt wel mogelijk. Dit tonen onderzoekers van AMOLF en het Franse ESPCI aan door middel van hun …

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  • Het evolutionaire nut van mobiliteit

    Onderzoekers van AMOLF en Harvard University (USA) hebben een nieuw mechanisme ontdekt dat een verklaring biedt voor de coëxistentie van soorten. In Nature beschrijven ze vandaag hoe de competitie tussen …

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  • Researchers discover new mechanism for the coexistence of species

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